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Old 4th January 2011
Lives for gear
timtoonz's Avatar

For me, it's kind of analogous to the art world, or to the world of film.

Sometimes you have in mind a simple charcoal sketch, other times you envision a fully 'hyper-real' 3D environment with all the bells and whistles. It starts out as an artistic choice to fit the material, but then comes the question of whether or not you can actually execute the chosen 'look' properly. Some results require more technique, and more technology than others.

And that's why I think in music, just as in film, the computer has been the biggest game changer. In the past, one new fuzz box could be a revolution, and the novelty took a long time to wear off because the technology was evolving gradually... look how long it took reverb to evolve from plates and chambers to digital boxes.

But once computers came into the picture, then every band had every instrument imaginable at their finger tips. The Sgt. Pepper orchestral approach is now as easy as opening up your favorite sampler or loop library and holding down a key. Just as in movies, where giant CGI battles with fantastical 3D monsters has become commonplace, and even boring.

I think that's the crossroads we're at now -- computers have made everything possible, and thus everything seems predictable and somehow less exciting. Pop music seems to have evolved into whiz-bang ear candy, where today's 'groundbreaking fuzz box' is tomorrow's 'shakuhachi sample'. Many of the more artistic bands have reverted back to stripped down, and simplistic productions as a reaction against all the digital mayhem. But only a few artists and record producers have the 'old school' chops to render a true '3D' audio masterpiece like Ziggy or Crime of the Century anymore. And the novelty no longer comes from the specific sounds, but from the originality, relevance, and cohesiveness of the overall 'picture'. It's the difference between Keisha and Radiohead, or Transformers 2 and Toy Story 3.

Okay, my analogy's starting to fall apart and I'm losing my own train of thought! I guess I'm trying to say that technology has made 'fidelity' easy, but true 'quality' will always be damned hard! I think I'll end my rant there!