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Author Topic: Taking a step back  (Read 2348 times)

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Offline epitechTopic starter

Taking a step back
« on: October 14, 2009, 02:55:39 PM »
In my hands I'm holding a 45-rpm, 7-inch record.

To most people this wouldn't mean much, but to me this is very special.

It was initially going to be an operation of going through and finding good one shots and drum loops to record and dismantle, then reassemble as something anew.  I was discontented going through the digitised libraries of drum samples libraries that inhabited my computer.  It’s true, don’t blame the tools, but the user… but everything sounded so sterile, so dissident from anything resembling a soul.  All the samples were for a lack of a better word ‘phat’.  Over processed, having grandiose reverbs and unnatural amounts of compression or saturation to make them seem bigger than they really are. 

In search of samples for an old school break beat I asked dad to have a look through his collection of old 45’s.  I went through picking tracks that were commonly known or possibly funk when dad came through.  He sifted through his treasures of old, commenting on them, reminiscing and telling me stories of them or the tunes within them.  There seemed to be a spoken story of the track in which he told and one you could see in his eyes as it took him back to his younger days.

Everyone was asleep at this point so I moved through to the lounge with my beloved Sennheiser’s and a stack of half a dozen or so records.  Carefully removing each lacquered black vinyl disc out of the sleeve and on to the player, listening through, checking songs content against my original mission.  The earliest dated to 1967, dad would have been 10 at the time, and it was some Surfer Dan, similar to The Beach Boys with a common theme, the beach. 

Taking a trip further down to 1974 was The Doobie Brothers, Song to See You Through.  This song hit hard, the lyrics weren’t important although I could gather the gist of it, just the sound.  The pops, clicks and flutter morphed into the background in the previous few tracks but still remained ever present, the upbeat melody of the Doobie’s bopping along.  In these records weren’t just songs but memories, a past, these were well-loved tunes and if dad’s face was anything to go by, are still very loved, to the level of being precious.  Forty plus odd years down the track, they didn’t get lost, broken or biffed into a trash. 

Everything now seems so temporary, so fleeting.  Songs are released as fast as they are forgotten, and if they are remembered it’s not usually for a good reason.  Things are downloaded, thrown on MP3 players and burnt to cheap disposable discs, so easily accessible that they aren’t worth the effort of looking after.  It seems long gone is the age of rummaging through the crates for that one tune.

However in this basket, every 7-inch plate was pressed and cut in New Zealand’s own.  There’s a sense of inherent pride to it, it wasn’t just a contract sold to the cheapest contractor in Asia.  Someone in the country took the time to cut each disc and so we had music, being a smaller nation that’s something that’s seen less and less nowadays as all work seems to be done off shore. 

This is not xenophobia but each year it seems less and less our country and I feel more and more distant to the world and those who inhabit it despite modern travel and communication, both physically and metaphorically bringing us closer than ever.  But music, something both Dad and I have a passionate love and respect for seems more of a diversion, now people just seem to have it on as opposed to sitting down and taking the time to really listen to it.  It’s being taken for granted, the majority are satisfied with what they’re given as opposed to scratching deeper than the surface and delving into the amazing, very vast world of art out there.

And so I put the disc carefully back into the paper sleeve then basket, preserving it for another play.  Will this happen with music of our generation or will it all just end up buried in the music business and competing loudness wars?  When’s the last time you’ve truly taken time out to appreciate music?  Just sitting there and listening?  I remember not too long ago listening to CDs through headphones in my darkened room around midnight and going to be at 3 or 4 in the morning just because time’s slipped past as it was the least important thing. 

Everyone’s rushing about, for what I’m not quite certain and so I leave this last message with you, a plead if you will.  Please take the time to slow down and appreciate the world around you, don’t do things out of habit just because they always have been done.  Music has been such a big part of my life, I’m no musician but it’s always been a constant passion and a powerful anti-depressant at my lowest of lows.  If you haven’t taken the time as of late, or ever, music is the one thing I’d like to share with you all, as tonight, my old man has shared it with me.

Much love,

Offline rick957

Re: Taking a step back
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2009, 04:00:46 PM »
Well-written and moving observations.  It strikes me not only what a gift your father gave you in sharing his love of music, but also how sensitive you were to appreciate the value of what he had, that may now be lost.

I've become convinced that recent and future generations will have no way of knowing how much they've been personally diminished by the absence of high-quality popular art in their lives.  (Sez the cranky old fart ...)

Then again, I look around Elliquiy and I'm amazed at how younger people have somehow found enough quality art to help them develop into thoughtful, articulate people like yourself.  I don't know how the current crop of teenagers manage to find anything worthwhile in the pop culture wasteland; without knowing it, they've been deprived of all the ways previous generations had of being exposed to quality art ... like collecting 45s, for instance.

Anyway, props on a fascinating post.  :)

Offline epitechTopic starter

Re: Taking a step back
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2009, 04:51:10 AM »
Thank you kindly good Sir :-)

It means alot knowing I'm not the only one who has this train of thought.