“Some of my favorite records are technically shitty-sounding records. You’re not going to put a record on that has bad songs just because the snare drum sounds amazing. You’re going to put on an album because you love the songs and you love that band. I run into many engineers and it seems that’s the last thing they’re concerned about. They’re more concerned about which mic to use on the snare and so on. Who the fuck cares? My job is to make awesome records for awesome people. Recording an album should not be a bad or stressful experience. It should be a lot of fun. The band should be high-fiving each other. That’s the way records should be made. If the tone suffers, then so be it. They’re gonna remember that moment for the rest of their lives and it should be a positive one.”—Sanford Parker, Tape Op #85 (via allbuttonsin)
We have the ability to capture sound. Vibrations in the air can be stored on physical mediums and in digital forms.
The ability to capture and reproduce sound is a fairly new phenomenon if you consider human history.
It was once the case that hearing a piece of music involved seeing it performed or learning it yourself.
If someone today wants to hear “Bad Romance” or “Super Bass,” they have options. No one is buying sheet music and sitting down to pound those out at a piano. You can buy an LP, CD, or a series 1’s and 0’s that don’t physically exist and that you can carry with you anywhere on the planet in your own pocket.
Consider how lucky we are to have instant access to virtually anything in the history of recorded music.
It’s one thing to love music. It’s another to appreciate our access to it.
Don’t ever let a snobby rock critic, annoying friend, or pretentious twenty something with a tumblr (author included) diminish your enthusiasm for the artists and songs that move you.
There is no such thing as a “guilty pleasure.” Love your music unconditionally and you will always have a companion.
If the only joy some people get from music is putting it down or using it to boost their status, just let them have that. It pales in comparison to the way those organized sounds help to reorganize open minds and open hearts.
It’s not unusual for music fans to discuss their “musical diets.” This usually refers to the styles of the music or variety of artists that they choose to consume. Lately, I’ve been thinking of this phrase in terms of the different mediums. I don’t think any medium is inherently better, but I do think they are better suited to different situations.
Digital tracks are snacks. Easy to transport and enjoy wherever you like, hard to partake of just one, better when there’s some variation, and sometimes easy to forget until you investigate neglected areas.
CDs are like fast food. Quick, satisfying, rarely finished in the same place you start or consumed in a consistent manner. You’ll keep picking out your favorite parts and then get to the rest only if you’ve exhausted your favorite options.
Records are like the meal that you prepared yourself. There’s a ritual that makes it feel different when you consume it. You’re more likely to enjoy it all because you’ve put some time into it. When you’re finished, the cleanup involves a little effort, but when everything is back in it’s right place, you feel as though you’ve accomplished something.
Every record is unique. The way you handle it, how often it’s been played, and the state of your stylus influences the way it will sound. If you buy two copies of a record and give them to two people, they will have music that sounds about the same, but the records will sound different.
The scratches and pops are indications that you have loved the music and have had an experience with it.
Theo Parrish said that people with records have to decide if they’re collectors or selectors. Are you keeping those records pristine and protected or are you allowing yourself and others to enjoy the music?
If you’re concerned about the condition of your records to the point that you don’t listen to them, you’re missing the point. You’re hearing a part of your own story in those imperfections. Dub the music into your computer or buy the CD if you must, but don’t keep your records on the shelf.
Plus his useful three-part FE guide to how and why (1, 2 and 3): exemplary exploration of tactics, strategy, aims achieved and (occasionally) not, in all an opportunity seized and very well used first to last.
If you’re a music-writing geek, a plain old music geek, or a geek who likes to geek out about others’ geekdoms, you have to check these links. Tom Ewing published his final Poptimist column today at Pitchfork (it’s predictably great), and he revisits and annotates each of his 45 columns at the above links. Seriously, if there have been 20 great music minds to come along in the past 15 years, Tom moves among the top 3. I’ve stolen so many ideas from him, and strive to write about super-deep subjects with his brand of insight, lightness, and economy. Is it a British thing? Congrats on a great run, Tom.