June 12, 2006

A Little Too Perfect?

by Chris Randall
 



My wife and I took a break from computers yesterday in search of a source of vitamin D besides the glow of LCD monitors and drove to the Oregon coast for the day. When we go on road trips of any length, we tune our XM radio to Fred (XM44), which is the one station we can both (mostly) agree on. If you're not an XM user, Fred is a station that plays "the history of alternative music." While you are pretty much guaranteed a heavy dose of shitty 80s synth pop, they also play a lot of shit we really like, including a generous slice of deep cuts which you'll not normally hear anywhere. (When was the last time you heard the Eno version of "Third Uncle," followed by Thomas Dolby's cover of the Dan Hicks classic "I Scare Myself" on the radio? I'm gonna guess "never" is the answer to that.)


Anyways, during the course of one power play of late 70s post-punk, we got to talking about why we like some of this music now (e.g. Joy Division) when we didn't particularly care for it when we were younger and it was new. After some discussion, we agreed that we like the fact that it is so raw. The timing drifts, and the recording methods are a long, long ways from state of the art, even for the time, never mind today.


So, my question is thus: is today's music too perfect to be pleasant? Is the relentless use of audio quantization and AutoTune not only removing the need for playing skill, but actually making music unlistenable? I never liked the Who; I generally avoid classic rock like the plague that it is, having toured far too much to like any rock from the 70s any more. But now, when I hear something like "Who Are You" it's such a fucking relief, especially when placed against the ProTooled Perfection of what passes for rock in today's market.

 
 
 

26 comments:

Page 3 of 3
 
 

 
Jun.13.2006 @ 10:36 AM
PBXorcist
Back in the late 90's I used to do improv Techno with a group of friends back in Dallas. We were lucky enough to get to do some live shows as well, and its still some of my fondest memories of music making.

There were three of us and we would just pile on the gear, each bringing what ever they had, and each of us handling the sequencing for our own goods. From there we would just all synch to the master and go. Much like imporv jazz it was a little noisy from time to time, but there were the times where some how we would all fall in synch together and get the perfect blend of sound the "bad jam" as we refered to it that made it all worthwhile.

I'd love to do that sort of thing again, but trance, alas, has killed electronic music, and the retards out there only want perfect tracks with 512 measure buildups and breakdowns.

Time to break out the old session DAT tapes

-PBX

 
 

 
Jun.14.2006 @ 5:00 PM
D' MacKinnon
--most people have decent enough taste in music.--

I think you give "most people" too much credit. Look at how many people bought an album from Ashlee Simpson, someone who's entire career was founded not on talent but because she was the sister of someone who became famous from a reality TV show. She can't sing for shit without getting AutoTuned and she has a staff of producers and songwriters crafting her songs. The state of the music industry these days just cultivates this atmosphere because it's controlled by corporations who are interested in selling music like other companies sell toilet paper instead of investing in actual artistic expression. It's safe and they know people will buy it.

Music is like food. Some people appreciate a good filet mignion. But many more people are just content eating Big Macs even through they are crap.

 
 

 
Jun.15.2006 @ 4:28 AM
antix2
Yes.
The creepy part is that some pretty talented people (probably) worked on that Simpson record, people given a chance might very well do some creative shit. But it's all 'sheen' and the masses gobbles it up.

Extending on the 'meat' analogy I say $ = effort. Some (most) can't spring for filet with frequency but with a little bit of work we can all find good music.

Funny how the shit procucers are eating the steak...

 
 

 
Jun.15.2006 @ 4:29 AM
antix2
(damnit, shit _producers_ that is.)
 
 

 
Jun.19.2006 @ 7:54 PM
Black-Man
Back in the day only the over-produced, record company funded bands sounded like shit. Now, anyone can sound over-produced and hence... like shit.

Just put the fucking laptop down.

 
 

 
Sep.15.2006 @ 8:22 AM
Xmuzik
alot of music is overproduced , just like movies but i think that people's desire to rather be famous than come up with cool good ideas is the real problem.

to some up my rant....

fame is the real artform people are trying to perfect in early 21st century america

 
 

 
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