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 -The intrinsic value of music-

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Vignoble @ Co.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 3:54 pm    -The intrinsic value of music- Reply with quoteBack to top

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Bert
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 4:36 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Well said, Max.
As a guy from the same age I share a lot of the things you describe and feel. Recently I also bought a very good recordplayer after a very long and rather exhausting search, also as I liked to revite my vinyls which I never sold.

Emotion in music means a lot to me, and for quite some records I did a lot of troubles getting them, which makes me very attached to them.
For nowadays generation, music is something that comes from an I-Pod or een Mp3 player, which is as normal as having that music on all the time, which also seems to apply for the cell phone...

I know the world is changing & I accept that, but all these things also make it rather flat and emotionless to my modest opinion; I also think its also a typical sign of a loy of young people annoying themselves to death.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 4:49 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Well, I wouldn't know about the vinyls' superiority, having spent my youth hating clicks and pops and dust and the degeneration of sound at every further spin and waiting and hoping for something to come out that didn't have all those flaws that were always insufferable for me. Making music myself, I know that when I hear it on CDr I can hear no difference whatsoever between what I played and what comes out of the disc. So it seems just more likely to me that vinyls just ADD something to the sound, kind of like an aural exciter or something, rather than being a more faithful reproduction of the original sound.
That said, I thoroughly agree with you regarding the HORROR of seeing how young people today give no value nor meaning to anything at all (both material and, even worse, non material), as they can have anything so easily and with no effort...
I guess I probably have a grumpy old man inside of me, too (I'll turn 43 this year), but I still think that if you get something too easily, that will never have any value at all for you, or at least very little.
Regarding music, they have so much of it (and mostly illegal, as moral values are definitely going out of the window, too) that they just do not stop to really listen to it, they give themselves no time to love it. They listen to the first 15 seconds of a track and decide whether they like it or not, they don't even listen to the whole track! If they don't like it, they erase it, if they like it they will listen to it 3 or 4 times and move on to yet another one of the 2786546723839764 tracks they have downloaded.
When we finally managed to buy an album, we listened to it tens of times, we slowly discovered that even the tracks we didn't like at first had something to say. We got to understand it, to love it.
That doesn't happen anymore, all is just quantity, emotions are a thing of the past. What is really scary is that the blank, emotionless look on the faces of the girls you saw, is very often equally blank in the souls of young people today. Thank god for the few exceptions.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 5:02 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

So true Exclamation

I'm a good ten years older than you and as a teenager grew up buying vinyl records. A record was a precious item - since it cost, in reletive terms, a lot of money.

CD's are OK - the lack of decent size covers annoys me at times, but the fact that I can play them in my car makes them useful.

Mp3's are OK for what they are - an easy way of giving your music away or as demo's or samplers of albums but I would'nt pay for them off itunes.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 5:19 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

41 Max, your only cutting your teeth, how about those of us that were weaned on t.d. during the early seventies!, yer only a youngster. Nice article but what's an mp3?ha ha
You are allowed to look at the younger female, and its sometimes very nice but it can play havoc with your heart! Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 5:36 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

well I am 51 and had all those vinyl records back in time.

the greatest positive thing about that is; You where not as fast drunk as today.

now you load the media player and you can have days music non stop.
in history you have to change every 20 minutes the record, so you were away from the beer!

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 5:55 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Soulless music for a soulless generation. That's what the mainstream record companies are producing. I've seen the blank stare of people listening to cookie cutter music on the bus as well. (As a side note, it's great to hear someone who takes the bus to work rather than driving)
I've spoken to people about how really good music can move me to tears, and they just don't get it. They assume that a given track is "really good" because it has a catchy beat or hook. They don't understand that music can be SO much more, that it can hold so much emotion.

I enjoyed reading your piece.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 6:02 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« Altus » wrote:
cookie cutter music


Question

I have a great dislike of that commercial Trance and R&B stuff that gets in the charts in the UK and all sound the same - you can't spot the artist, there's no individulism - it could be absolutely anyone.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 7:44 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Interesting thoughts, really. I tend to agree with you, although I'm *only* 27.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:12 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

I think that the intrinsic value of music transcends packaging and delivery formats, and that these are just things you've got used to and are comfortable with. If you'd never had them you would never have missed them.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:32 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

We've had all these endless discussions about CD vs CD-R vs MP3 etc.

Musicians have endless discussions about which formats they prefer to record their music on - ie: Tape, MiniDisc, Digital Multitrack, Computer & DAT.

Besides an MP3 player is more handy to carry about than a bulky CD player, and can hold more tracks than CD without having to change the Disc.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:34 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

I can relate to the point you are making. Coming from a recording background; I see many flaws in your argument. Let me explore some observations I've made.

1. Digital vs Analog recording medium
2. Cutting vinyl from said medium
3. Quality of end listener

Digital vs Analog

I love recording to 1/4" tape at 15ips. It gives me a sound I don't get from digital recording that I enjoy. You can saturate it if need be. The heads, even if biased accurately, are not perfect. There's an element of chaos taking place. The curvature of the freq spectrum will be altered. Many people enjoy this sound. In the early days of digital conversion, it wasn't too great. When it finally caught on and better conversion was being made; many people still didn't like it. Why? Because it wasn't pleasantly changing the curvature of the freq. spectrum. It was...:gasp:...accurate. If it comes out that you're getting a clinical sound, your sound is clinical, do something to change it. Your source isn't as glossed over with the slight change analog tape gives you. I'll make an analogy.

Analog tape = Pothead friend that is nice, kind, but when you ask him how your music sounds he says "Yo dude, your music sounds awesome. You totally rock. Man I got the munchies real bad. Do you have any Dorritos?" Wow and Flutter, Wow and Flutter.

Digital = Brutally honest nerd friend that will point out that your grandma's lipstick looked like a clown as she is in her coffin at the funeral. He tells it like it is even if you don't want to hear it. He's critical, and sometimes makes you uncomfortable. But, with the right attitude you can make good use of this guy because he's dependable.

I like both of these characters to some extent. Nothing is perfect.

Cutting Vinyl from said Medium

I'm sorry but Vinyl is far from any kind of fidelity. It is a pleasing and nostalgic medium. It pales in comparison to analog tape (the pothead) this is more like a 65 year old pothead vietnam vet who back in the day did occasional LSD. He chain smokes and his voice is raspy. He was too close to an explosion and can't hear any low end below 55hz. Yeah sure he's fun to be around and he has some rich and colorful stories. What he can't remember he makes up, and sometimes he flashes back into a 100 yard gaze ranting about how they killed his platoon.

I still love the character.

Do you understand what goes into mastering for vinyl? Quite a bit of high and low end must be compressed or rounded off. If the low end isn't compressed or eq'ed enough, the needle will actually bounce! No shit. Is this drastic change that was used for so many years what you like about the recordings? Is your ear conditioned to this freq. response instead of an emperical study of reality and accuracy?

Quality of the end listener

The young women on the bus listening to the music... At least they're making an attempt to listen to music. Most of your people don't care about audio fidelity. They never have. If they can hear their favorite top 40 on the lowest common denominator playback system they're tickled. It's whatever they're conditioned to listening to. If a standard is low, then it doesn't take much to impress.

Here's what you need to understand about digital. Most digital conversion is total junk. Especially in the consumer world, and most of the pro world as well. Conversion is where it's all at. It's not so much the medium. A big part of the draw to vinyl is, the "conversion" so to speak the medium to electrical energy delivering to the speaker is more direct.

I'll agree, mp3's do start to suck if you get down in kbps. I would argue that a 320kbps mp3 is probably closer to the original tape master than the same thing on vinyl. I have a friend who was really into the late 90's boom of mp3's when most were 128kbps. He still likes listening to music at 128kbps! He will convert his higher bitrate songs down in order to calm his dogmatic mind. Silly!

The MUSIC is paramount. It doesn't matter what medium or conversion it has; if it's bad music, it's still bad music. We're flooded with so many options these days. A lot of it is made with terrible conversion, mediocre ideas and concepts, and poorly executed musicianship. The good stuff is still out there,probably more than ever, it's just harder to sort through the junk because what multiplied in the realm of good; it multiplied 1000x in the realm of bad. Our taste has also gotten a lot more sophisticated and fickle.

Thanks for reading.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:34 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Interesting column. I'm 52 and in my life I have bought music on vinyl, 8-track, cassette, CD, and mp3 formats. On a high end system, I do believe vinyl sounds better, even with its inevitablethe pops and clicks. I once owned a Thorens turntable and very good Boston Acoustic speakers powered by a Kyocera receiver and my records sounded beautiful, warm in a way that the very best CDs still can't reproduce, IMO. Luckily, where I live, we have several "real" (not chains) music stores and while vinyl is mostly gone, people still go there to buy "real" music all the time, not download it. In fact, on a Saturday, the store is always crowded. So, many people still exist for whom music is not a commodity or "product."

Granted, the number of young people who only own digital music is large, and maybe as our generation dies out it will get even worse. But, when it comes to popular culture and trends, a lot of things are unpredictable. For example, when VHS and Beta became popular, lots of people predicted that the movie industry (meaning going to the movies) would suffer greatly, but instead, ticket sales continued (for the most part) to increase every year. Even the DVD boon hasn't slowed ticket sales for most "good" movies.

Will mp3s, iPods, etc have long term staying power? I don't know, but vinyl is stronger now than it was 10-15 years ago, so maybe not.

As far as popular music goes, yes, it's mostly just pap now, but that can change too. Now one could have predicted the rock revolution when it happened. Again, culture shifts are tough to forecast. Maybe young people don't "love" music the way we did/do, but there is no way to guarantee it will stay like that.

In the US, the biggest problem with music being viewed as product and more or less disposable is the radio industry, not the record companies per se. When the government de-regulated the radio business and allowed a single network to acquire literally hundreds of stations, it more or less doomed radio to becoming a faceless tasteless mass market product never taking risks. If that ruling is ever reversed and media monopolies are busted up, things may change. Again, who knows.

However, when it comes to genres other than popular music, there will ALWAYS (IMO) be "fans" who are zealously in love with their music, e.g. jazz, blues, etc. and of course ambient, EM, and new age are among those genres. While some followers of those genres will shift (to some degree) to digital only formats, others will be like me and remain steadfast in viewing music as something worth "owning" a real "thing" for, as well as developing an emotional attachment to the music itself, not viewing it merely as a "life soundtrack."

The bigger danger is that those genres stop trying to attract new listeners so that IF the fan base really and truly dies out, the genre may disappear. That's why I still write about music, i.e. hoping to help stoke the fires, keep people excited about it, and maybe help the popularity of it grow. Because as long as that battle is won, I have hope for the future.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:15 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

I am 41 now. And I was happy when the very first CDs and CD players hit the stores in 1984. I bought an CD player then from my first earned money. Two Klaus Schulze CD were my first CDs ever: "Dune" and "Body Love".
And they sounded way better then my LPs then. And they still sound better today. OK, some noises and lo-fi effects of LPs are gone. Some other new problems like aliasing were introduced. But all in all CDs sound better to me.
Hearing an very well treated LP today on a better then average turn table still sounds like hearing it through a carpet. And all those little unwanted noises.

But today I know so many young people that can't tell the difference from a real CD and a 128 mp3. Even a 192 B/sec mp3 changes the sound. personally I prefer 192 mp4 files for use in my car. The cut on the higher frequencies is like on the FM radio. And a car isn't the perfect room for music anyway. And there is engine running most of the times anyway. But mp3s as the main storage for music? No!
And yes, I miss the big covers. And only a few CD booklet are giving you the same information as all the small print on a LP cover and LP's inner sleeve (sometimes).
But today we have the internet to get more pictures or information about the artist and the music. So I can life with the small booklet.
But an mp3 file, even if the tags are there (to often they are missing and you have to add them for further sorting and finding), the are just the very very basic informations. And often they are not right at all.

And digital music as download is of cause missing the physical aspect. And it way more likely, that this music will not be available if your computer crashes or needs to be replaced. I have LPs from the mid/late seventies here. They do play. And there is only one with a scratch on it (Pink Floyd: "The Wall" during the helicopter at the end of "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 1"). The CDs of 1984 are all doing fine. Only a very few errors a good CD player let slip through.
But even if you back up pure data-only music on your computer, will they play in 20 or 30 years from now?
As long as I have long time relations to certain music track, and when this music is long out of print, I am happy to have it here in a physical way. And to have a digital mp3 or better mp4 file here just in case.

My kids (12 & 14) are collecting music in the mp3 file formate and from iTunes. No cover. No physical collecting. And they have no problems with it.

Maybe I am just getting old Wink or old-fashioned.

Anyway, I am not willing to part from so many track I own fro 20 years or more. They are part of my life. Memories connected to them or to the mood of certain track. I still got the music here that played as a kind of "the cigaret after" when I was together with my very first girlfriend. And yes, it was EM music. And it was from Klaus Schulze. No more details Smile

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 1:07 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Well, there's actually another thing I do not like at all about MP3's: what about the album as a concept? What about a group of songs that constitutes a single work? How many albums do you have or make that are built exactly like a book, where every song is like a chapter of the whole story and can't be separated from the other without losing meaning? I have A LOT. With MP3's it's - for the vast majority of users - like having one chapter of a novel, meaningless, senseless, incapable of giving what it is supposed to give because it is but a fragment of the whole...
And I'm not only referring to concept albums, but also to those so very inspired works where the sequence of tracks itself is as much a source of emotions as the tracks themselves...
Discovery by Oldfield, Kosmonauta by Syrian, Galaxy by Rockets, Oxygene by Jarre and so many more! Kids who download stuff all the time would only get one or two tracks from albums like/similar to these, they would never know the whole story, just a couple of incomprehensible chapters...
I've always thought of an album as a trip: you enter it, move thru it, you get out of it, hopefully enriched by it. This "quantity" fixation, this non-stop flow of music can only be a backdrop for other activities, it could never be the trip that a GOOD album is and should be...

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