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Old 5th January 2011
  #23
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doorknocker's Avatar
IMO some recordings like say a lot of early blues stuff like Robert Johnson or some of the 'Nuggets'-type of 60ies pre-punk one-hit wonders are 'enhanced' by the limited frequency response/lack of polish. As great as Robert Johnson's music is - I think it's actually our brains that 'enhance' it even more because we add the missing pieces that go with the myth of the man: scenery/adventure/mystic

In a sonical sense I think it often works best for relatively sparse stuff because our ears can still make out the musical gestures that may get lost with a muddy and limited recording of a bigger ensemble/arrangement. I think that is exactly what Ken was talking about above regarding 'Crime of the Century'. If you picture the same song done as a Lo-Fi piano/voice demo it still would be excellent because these are friggin' great songs but it would miss all the bliss and beauty of the 'big screen' and that's why I think that COTC is one big argument that attention to detail/hard work and spending a lot of time in tracking is worthwhile.

And then there are recordings that are great despite their sonic quality. I never liked the way that 'Layla + other assorted love songs' sounded yet I think it's one of the greatest rock records ever made.

Of course the greatest artists are able to blend these approaches and 'Hi-' or 'Lo-Fi' depending on the mood/intention/message of the song or combine it at the same time like a painiting has has a fore- and background and blurrier elements that enhance the brighter ones which don't even need to be super-bright to shine in this context.