moments before the wind.

May 10, 2006

smile someone at the red light

Filed under: authenticity, digital, music, recording, vinyl, writing — alimarcus @ 6:42 pm

A couple things about recording technology. These thoughts are pretty much all in response to JSG's comment from an earlier post. 

The idea that artists who recorded to vinyl consciously worked within the constraints of the awkward techonology – and complained about it – reminds me of Michaelangelo Matos. At the EMP conference he mentioned his chicken-and-egg theory that recording technology drives actual musical style. He cited bass heavy, stripped-down beats as on example, and I think Madonna as another – I can't remember exactly, but I think we were talking about Madonna's "Hung Up" as the epitome of this effect. I remember thinking this is an interesting idea, if a bit redundant. Anyways, JSG's comment supports it.

A significant distinction, too, should be made between digital music and analog music. I've spent a lot of time and words trying to convince people that digital photography is an altogether different discipline than print photography, and – like skiing and snowboarding – they suffer from baseless grouping supported by nothing other than semantics. For music, perhaps this distinction is not so clear; or, maybe it is clear but fans of the old school are unwilling to accept a new regime. I don't know. I wasn't raised on vinyl myself. I hope that doesn't tarnish my thoughts about it.

And a third thing. What is with people who praise music for being great to listen to on headphones? My frustration with this stems from a larger disdain for the hermit, solitary, iPod image, as if people are really happy holed up in their room, lost in their own universe compliments of Apple and Bose. I am such a firm believer in music's social, communal nature that this seems to be a grotesque manifestation of the compartmentalization of post-modern culture. I know that there is the geek factor (not a negative association, but just for lack of a better word); layers upon layers of intricate details appeal to all sorts of fans, Flaming Lips and Phish and the Beatles alike. Anyone who has an affinity with the process of recording can appreciate the details, the hidden gems, etc. But music should be made to blast from the mountaintops.  


1 Comment »

  1. Headphones, I agree — great tool, not for really listening (though now that I have small children, they come in handy in the wee hours).

    Unfortunately (or maybe not), the pragmatic music producer of today should be producing for MP3 and ear-buds. That IS the medium.



    Comment by Jay Sherman-Godfrey — May 10, 2006 @ 7:04 pm

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