Sunday, January 06, 2008


Ok, I promise I have a post of real substance coming down the pipe, but as it is I'm tired and the bed is warm, so what you get is this:

Maybe it's just nascent music snobbery, but Rolling Stone is the last place I expected to find a comprehensive, well explained primer to the problems plaguing contemporary pop music production. It's called "The Death of High Fidelity" and it explains in exacting detail why your new music is so much less exciting than the old (sorry, blanket statement, I know). The quick answer: digital compression is the devil incarnate. Somewhere around 10 years ago they found a way to completely eliminate dynamic variation, creating a literal "wall of sound" that catches attention immediately but can't sustain it. Add in a host of local compression devices in everything from itunes to your car stereo and you get some serious one-dimensional shit. And that's all before you even get to the generally low quality of most downloaded MP3s. It's pretty ironic that while the fidelity of the average home stereo system is rising (excepting those shitty ipod earbuds), recording quality is tanking like there's no tomorrow.

My favorite moment in the article are these captioned waveforms:

"Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Arctic Monkeys
"I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor"

Good job, Rolling Stone. Let's get some space in those there songs.

***Addendum: looking around I found via me-fi another great article with a more in-depth history. Also, this YouTube video.

No comments: