The city is no place for listening to records. Half the time one as to use them as shields against other people's sounds. Music becomes a substitute for silence. (In the country, music is the fulfillment of silence.) One does not freely choose when to listen, or even what to listen to, since the trespassing bass of a neighbor's rock, rap or disco records can be countered only by its like. (...)
Even in a quiet apartment, one is somehow aware of a hundred competing time structures the business day, the schedules of radio and television, the neighbors' lifestyles and their music. (...) Stravinsky called music 'the sole domain in which man realizes the present'. But living in the present is (contrary to vulgar opinion) nearly impossible in a modern city, which will always hungers for the future and eats the past. One reason for headphones among city dwellers is the sense they give that one escaped the city's voracity, because one is inside the music. The desire to be inside a record is made graphic by the desert island fantasy.
THE RECORDING ANGEL, Ceremonies of a Solitary, Evan Eisenberg