Editorials and Opinions

A backwards perspective on music

By Denebola
Published: March 2008

By Garth Brody

After reading the local school papers, as is my habit on slow, sultry Tuesday mornings, I found, through some really crackerjack reporting (great job “Music gets lost in the mix), that music these days is done on the computer machine!
Gosh, call me nostalgic, but it ain’t music until five men in identical suits play it in a studio owned by either Columbia or Brunswick Records; then I’ll pay my sixpence and take it home for a whirl on my Victrola. From what I hear, any old Richard Roe from Duluth to Toledo can hop on his wirebox and clickety-clack – out zaps a record, pressed for sale. They don’t even need suits for pete’s sake.
What’s worse, the folks are buying this claptrap like it was Dr. Bunkum’s Liver Tonic! Those danged shoe-shiners wouldn’t know a timpani from a trampoline, but they still get yankee rich off those confounding devil-cubes. It sure steams my clams what those soft-hands get away with these days. Beatrice told me not to trouble myself over it, but as soon as I got the thought in my old bean of some two-bit swindler, slick as a greased eel, selling his space-age hokum at the record market – well I was liable to shoot steam out of my hairy ears.
In fact, I spent the better part of this morning yelling out my window on that very subject, and now I’m plumb tuckered.
So I fixed a piece of toast and marmalade, whipped up a glass of Metamucil, sat myself down at the typewriter, and here I am. Where do I begin?
I suppose I’d best organize my gripes according to the order of the points in last issue’s article (thanks again for some swell reporting). In that case, I’ll begin by saying that that kid had some real grit to stand up against the strange and confusing onslaught of technology. Now I don’t watch the television or get outside much, but I think it’s a safe bet to say that no respected journalist these days has stepped back and asked the question: is technology a good thing?
I think that’s because all those yellow-bellies are too busy focusing on the quality of the musical product to really dig into the important issue: why was it made with one of those computer boxes? I mean, if you can make music on one of them, and most everybody’s got one now – does that mean anyone can make their own music?
Like I said, it ain’t music unless it’s got a nice Mercury seal on the record, which brings me to my next crotchety old point.
Seems nowadays that even those big record companies are infecting their music with bits and bytes and the like. But if there’s some electric rhythm blipping though the record, well then there’s no need for a studio drummer; he’s out of a job! Boy, it’s nonsense like this that makes me right proud we don’t have any automated assembly lines in this factory-workers’ nation.
You know, I remember when musicians didn’t even need technology! They just grabbed that microphone and served you up a sweet, swinging tune. Times sure have changed. Golly, I figured if there was one last stitch of morality in this world, it’d be the record companies, but now I’m bamboozled. I guess the warmth in their hearts froze right the heck over when they set their peepers on one of those doggone computers. It’s a crying shame what technology has done.
I guess now the “in thing is to use whatever means available to produce the highest quality material. Well that’s no world I want to live in, and that’s the honest truth.

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