The Ace of Spades - music beyond the Himalayas
Monday, 31 December 2012 14:09

Playing Cards originated in the Orient sometime in the twelfth century and ‘playing cards’ has since evolved into one of mankind’s most popular, pleasurable pastimes. In testimony of this, The United States Playing Card Company (founded in 1867) of Cincinnati, Ohio, is the world's largest supplier, vending over 100 million decks annually. So what does this have to do with me?

Probably the only thing I ever learned from my quasi-amateurish days playing Rubber Bridge is that the four suits are ranked with Clubs being the lowest, followed by Diamonds, Hearts and Spades, respectively. Ace cards have the highest status; therefore the Ace of Spades, also known as the Spadille reigns supreme. Whenever I was dealt that card, it always triggered a sensation of excitement and optimism no matter how mediocre the remaining cards of the ‘deal’ were. So recently it set me thinking…

From time immemorial the spade has been one of the most effective tools used for digging and exploiting the earth’s hidden treasures and nuances. Symbolically, The Ace of Spades points upwards with deserved reverence and respect, like a pair of clasped hands, somewhat reminiscent of the Hindu greeting Namaste. The superstitious may believe that the card is a symbol of death but I have always acknowledged it as being my lifelong talisman. So what does all of this have to do with Sanch and music?

In an effort to broaden the company’s outreach and social image, Sanch joined Facebook on March 10, 2012. I am quickly learning to be creative in building ‘likes’ on the FB network and prize-winning competitions have recently been initiated. Additionally, after a soul-searching experience at TWBAS 2012, I felt that sustainable interest could also be generated by regularly posting and building an eclectic repertoire right out of the top drawer. Our FB friends could then choose, audition, comment and spread the news; this led to creation of the ‘Ace of Spades’ concept, logo and tagline. So what happened next?

On May31, 2012 the Sanch FB Wall messaged - “The ‘Ace of Spades’ is ranked as the highest card in the pack. From today I will be regularly posting music with similar rating for you to review. My selections will be based on technical quality, choice of repertoire, sequencing, performance and longevity.” I intend to be as objective as one can possibly be for such an exercise with absolutely no restrictions whatsoever being imposed on musical genres, dates of release, etc. So what is to be expected?

The list will grow with regular additions, readers will submit recommendations and a formidable repertoire will materialise. Audiophiles often forget that the sole purpose of investing in a system is for pleasurable relaxation. Instead they tend to waste precious time testing cables, amplifiers, etc, showing off their hardware to friends with short excerpts of ear-shattering material. The Ace of Spades will restore sanity by ensuring that we listen more to discover ‘buried’ musical secrets while acknowledging that the technical gap between playback quality of top-notch recordings and live performances is closing rapidly.

Simeon L. Sandiford
Managing Director