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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Perfect?

I mentioned in another recent Blog Post a podcast that i'd listened to from The Word Magazine. In that blog i said that i had more to say about what arose within that podcast.

One of the topics discussed was the use of recording studios & how techniques had changed.
This got me thinking about how modern studio techniques had, in some ways, taken some of the soul out of the music recorded there.

It was said in the podcast that, no studio recording since the early 1980's need ever be out of time. Because of the invention of the "click track". All recordings before that time had relied on either the drummer, or a metronome. Or, just the natural abilities of the musicians.
And since the 1990's, no vocal need ever be out of tune. Because of the invention of the dreaded "autotune".
Whilst these are both advances in recording studio techniques & help produce "perfect" recordings. I do feel that this can be a backward step, in some ways.

It makes me wonder that if we'd had these tools years ago. Would we ever have had such distinctive vocalists as Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash etc etc (just add your own choice here...)
Whilst they might not be great vocalists. They are very distinctive, unique & original ones & their music just would not sound the same without them.
These days, everything has to be done just right. Especially in these times of American Idol & X-Factor.

I don't have a problem with well produced music. But, not at the expense of soul, ambience & originality.

Another aspect i've thought of is of those great tracks, from my past, that are not perfect. Recordings that i remember & that stand out, because they are not quite perfect.

Here are a few examples & please don't blame me for ruining the way that you will listen to these particular songs in the future!

1) Simon & Garfunkel - The Sound Of Silence
Sometimes, the whole backing track seems slightly out of time with the vocals.
2) The Who - Baba O'Riley
Just listen to Keith Moon's drums when he comes in. He has to slow himself down!
3) Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone
Towards the end of the song, the rhythm guitar seems out of time & very messy.
4) Meatloaf - Dead Ringer For Love
Just listen to the mess the drummer makes of his drum fill part way through (ok, so i used to be a drummer & might notice this more than others)

I know that there are other examples & if you have any of your own, please share them. The only trouble is that you will never hear those songs in quite the same way ever again.
You have been warned.

I guess the whole point of this post is that even mistakes, or slight imperfections, needn't be bad.
Perfection isn't everything.
Sometimes, those slight errors & mistakes can make the music, or any piece of art for that matter, just that little bit more special than it already was. Even in a blog post maybe?

Would the world really be a better place with a perfect version of "Like A Rolling Stone", or "The Sound Of Silence"? I don't think so.

2 comments:

  1. Perfection bores me to tears.

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  2. Can't argue with that Ken.
    What is perfection anyway? What is perfection for you, might not be for me. That's one thing that makes life so interesting.
    That almost sounds like the topic for a blog, or vlog ;)

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