I recently remarked that I was disappointed by the latest Earth record. Other than the fact that it was just a boring record, I'm bothered by how it just isn't Earth 2. Now, now, repeating the same thing is not the best for artists who want to grow and change and evolve and all, but Earth 2!! It is a classic, great album and easily one of my favorite albums ever (genres aside, it needs no specific categorization). However, Earth 2 is not everyday listening. The grandiosity, the magnitude of the compositions is basis for not playing it all the time. It is for a special occasion (whatever that may be), but more importantly, under specific conditions. You don't just put on Earth 2 and check your e-mail or read a book. It may be "ambient" or "atmospheric" or some other rather pretentious adjective, but it is not background. Henceforth, I suggest that one ought to abide by the following conditions while listening to Earth 2:
1. Go to the bathroom first. Interruptions are BAD.
2. Also make sure you've eaten, because you'd hate to have a rumbling in your stomach while the speakers are rumbling incredibly loudly.
3. Find somewhere comfortable to sit and/or lay down. A bed is a good place, but a couch also works. Pillows are a worthwhile investment. I highly recommend having blankets if it is cold outside or you're in an air-conditioned room.
4. Don't be in an air-conditioned room. The sounds will distract you from the music. Actually, this rule ought to be don't be in a room with too many loud or noticeable aural distractions.
5. No headphones. You want the sound to seem like it is filling up the room with its heaviosity. Also, if you are laying down, headphones will eventually become uncomfortable.
6. Darkness is your friend. The room should be as dark as possible. It's good to do this at night or have drapes on your windows. A basement would be a good room.
7. You should probably be alone. If your friends (and you) can shut up for about 80 minutes, then it could be OK, but it's not likely.
8. Try not to move around too much while listening. Not so much because it makes noise, but you want to focus on what you are hearing and not what you are feeling on you skin.
9. No food and drink, except, maybe some water. I told you to eat first! This goes back to the focusing on aural sensations and not other senses.
10. Drugs are optional. They are not necessary, but may help. Something to help you focus or something to mellow you out (some stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens...)
11. Have yourself a good stereo. I did mention that you must not use headphones, but it is also important to have a stereo that can ably handle extreme low-end sounds (subwoofer!)
12. Turn it up. This should be self-explanatory. Louder = better, in this case.
13. Don't fall asleep. Meditation is fine, but no sleeping, you must listen.
14. Clothes are optional. I haven't tried listening without clothes on, but it is worth trying. It could possibly be distracting, though.
15. It's worth reiterating that you should NOT interupt your listening experience and prepare yourself before.
I think that's all (there may be more later). According to my iTunes, Earth 2 lasts 73:01. It really isn't that long. If you can sit through most films, you can take the time to follow these instructions and listen to Earth 2, without anything else getting in your way. And if you do, you will sleep better and you will be saved.