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Dan Burns-Findlay
Director , Sound Engineer , 3D / CAD Modeller or Animator
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1994 Soundgarden FTW ... and why digital music sucks

Taking a day off ... spent the last couple months mixing a LOT of Canto-pop, bleeding ears, anxiety attacks over ability, screaming RSI and with EQ curves burned into my retinas ... the whole nine yards. But now I am done until the next batch rolls in. Made it. Still alive. Not dead. So - partly as reward, partly as inspiration for my own music making later tonight - I decided to trawl through CDs I'd not heard in a while and have a good old listening session while catching up on studio paperwork.Stumbled across a pile of Soundgarden albums ... thought I'd lost them. But no, here they are, all six of them. Their 1994 effort Superunknown rules the fucking day ... is all I have to say. Fourteen years old and it still kicks the pants off most rock music being produced today, in every aspect of musicality, recording, mixing and mastering.Which got me thinking ... with everyone buying singles, downloading digital files and not purchasing albums or full length artist releases as much ... what does that hold for future generations of potential music producers? You think some future kid is going to click-wheel thru a 20 year old iPod (assuming it still works) to hear their Dad's old music? LP artwork was usually enough of an incentive to take the recording out and have a listen. I discovered Count Basie 'cause one of my Dad's albums had an image of a huge fiery red atomic bomb mushroom cloud on it. I would not have opened a track listed under the 'big band / jazz' genre in iTunes ... not at the age of six.I've already lost music I bought only last year due to hard-drive failure or simple stupid archiving errors. But my CDs - scratched and battered as they are - still play, still sound great and are there for anyone to rummage thru at anytime for inspiration or enjoyment.Think about it. Half the joy of music is returning to songs you previously didn't have an opinion about and finding new love for them. Albums do that for you.

almost 16 years ago 0 likes  14 comments  0 shares
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almost 16 years ago
Photo 37059
Yah! Nothing beats having something that you hold in your hand and store away for safe keeping... I hope that finding old stuff will be easy in the future with digital downloads... I agree!!! Superunkown was Soundgarden at its best!
almost 16 years ago
Photo 33427
Well it will be super easy to find ... if you are actually looking for a specific thing. If you go searching for one track, do you waste time grabbing the whole album off a torrent site? Not many people do. The cool thing about albums (and to some extent physical recordings) is that you find stuff you WEREN'T looking for. And randomness is the greatest source of inspiration.
almost 16 years ago
Djbam f8 djbam
i don't remember the last time i listened to an album from track one to the end. and that used to be (10 years ago? 15 years ago?) my standard for whether or not an album was great. can i listen to the entire thing without wanting to skip a track?
almost 16 years ago
Photo 33427
Bam - you raised another point ... many albums today are simply a collection of songs. Perhaps 1 or 2 or possibly 3 decent tracks (i.e: the singles!) floating up in a sluice of dross. Concept albums. Concept artwork. A meaningful collection of music spanning a period of time for the artists who created them. Those are the classics. (Live albums aside, they exists for an entirely different purpose). Hardly ANY blogs review albums track by track, instead focusing on just a few songs the reviewer happens to like. I miss the track by track write-up of albums as per the old NME (c. early late 80's 90's) or lengthy write-ups of artist & album as offered by Jockey Slut. Intelligent writing like that inspired you sit thru the few, perhaps not immediately catchy, tracks and give them time to brew. Anyway - back to Logic ... halfway thru a Soundgarden inspired distorted drum & guitar fuckfest.
almost 16 years ago
Photo 33427
Nothing wrong with digital tools to make music (or photography) but the long term problem arises when a series of magnetic 1's and 0's on hard-drive somewhere are ALL that's left ... will second hand iPod shops replace dusty record old shops?! :)
almost 16 years ago
Photo 33427
all your points are good - and I'm not arguing against digital ... I work, sell and DJ using that format. But the culture of buying digital usually results in people picking only 1 or 2 tracks from an album, leaving so much music without an audience. And often songs are previewed at online stores completely out of context (removed from the order of the album). BTW, our family moved around the world several times – where there is a will there is a way :) Also, saying digital files "do not pollute" is wrong ... they pollute less if you purely talk about the music ... but the amount of heavy metals in iPods, HDD, computer casings plus the massive amount of material used for internet infrastructure is probably comparable to the amount of resources wasted making & distributing CDs.
almost 16 years ago
Photo 65334
ouch, you are totally right on the pollution! i did not figure out that aspect! and you also touched the spot: problem is the "marketing" of music which has changed so drastically. i believe MP3 vs CDs is more a problem for bands and producers and record labels than for listeners... as you said, i could not imagine a shop where you go and plug your computer to download music instead of buying CDs... selling music really became a problem... i thought your idea of selling a lot of gadgets with your music was a brilliant one, by the way... Cla
almost 16 years ago


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