now the hendersons have the bomb

I was in a music industry meeting and I made a critical remark about the all pervasive drum machine sensibility in popular music. My colleague became a little on fire regaling the virtues of great programmers and the complex input involved in those productions. They marvelled at the fact that the kick and snare might use different samples on almost every hit. I couldn’t figure out how to convey my view to them. It isn’t about right and wrong just weird that many view this as an advantage. How much energy does the person who tries to make samples believable (human) put into that effort and what’s the point?
Later the same day I was in line at the Hardware store and a woman asked if I was familiar with a hose that had a lifetime guarantee, someone interrupted and explained how untrue lifetime guarantees are, bullshit 800 numbers he said, you call and the unprepared person at the other end can’t speak knowledgeably. All this trouble started with the internet he said, the worst invention ever, look what it did to customer service, look what it did to kids being bullied and look what it did to music.
“What did it do to music?” I asked.
“Obviously you don’t play.” he said.
“I do.” I said trying to make peace.
“Then haven’t you noticed?”
“You mean who are the popular musicians?”
“I mean Mp3s. Frequency response. People listen today in mono through tiny speakers with less fidelity.”
“Worst invention ever.”
“What about the nuclear bomb?”
I think he was frustrated about the same thing that I was trying to offer. Is it not like an ongoing dumbing down? I bet next will be plug-ins to make you sound like more accomplished artists. You play your guitar solo and then you run it through the Jeff Beck simulator or the Wes Montgomery app and poof you appear to have done something that you couldn’t do but the world gives you credit for the awesome solo you did, maybe a Juno. Just weird destinations we are moving toward. Like the Gary Larson cartoon on my older brother’s fridge when I moved to Toronto of a housewife looking out her window and bemoaning to her husband sitting in a chair reading the paper “Will you look at that! Now the Hendersons have the bomb!”

1 Comment

  1. what’s happening today is a true separating of the herd…there is a minority (albeit an incredibly small minority…) of younger musicians today who are absolutely as good, if not better, than the best musicians of previous generations. Technology has allowed the masses to be part of the industry, however, in doing so those same imperatives have managed to unintentionally create a small vacuum inhabited by a some truly incredible artists creating pretty hip music that is not necessarily technologically based.


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