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This Essay was first released in the Dronæment/Infant Cycle 12".
At the beginning of the 90's the vinyl record was declared dead ans was born to its grave by the commercial music industry. The collectors of records bought republications of their old Pink Floyd and Rolling Stones records on CDs to save their precious old pieces. Further more it was said that CDs sound better anyway because they are ´digitally remastered`.
The DJ culture is still using the vinyl record because of the manipulating possibilities of the scratching. It is still used with techno music since the record is easier to handle for mixing and pitching whereas such procedures are only limited possible with CDs. Several times the records appeared as (anti-) art objects. Just think of NON/ Boyd Rice's »Black Album« (produced in 1977) which was completely anti-music as it contained only noise. The Album was also an anit-consumer product because there wasn't any information on it except 'playable at any speed'.It could be played at four different speeds and was extended by the following 7» 'Pagan Muzak'. This one was delivered with 2-4 extra drilled holes to make the record wobble on the turntable and to make the needle jump across grooves. Or think of Christian Marcley's «Footsteps» (1989). He layed out 3,000 records, on which footsteps were recorded, on the floor of a gallery. People entering the gallery stepped on these records scratching and newly «recording" them. Finally the records were sold as unique pieces in nicely designed boxes. What makes up the fascination of records? For one thing it is the nostalgia which reminds us of gramophones and records. While today's recordings should sound as natural and clear as possible, the sounds of former times was made unfamiliar resulting from the imperfection of former techniques. That was caused by the technical level of those times. Records have something archaic because they are the only audible recordings which can be played without electricity.For me all these aspects make the record a metaphysical object and I think that is the magic of records in general. In the course of digitalization and cloning one should preserve these sound bodies because they keep up the relation relation to the original cosmos of sound. (That goes for all acoustic instruments and events.)
It is interesting and good to find sound databases in the Net, which offer the free commercial use of samples. That is the logical development of our times.