rampage with strapped-back wings

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Are there recording techniques that have actually been lost? I ask this because I'm listening to Judee Sill's Dreams Come True, and the piano sound is one that first appeared on record with Carole King's Tapestry and was last heard sometime around 1975. Sill recorded this stuff in 1974, and I've heard plenty of singer-pianist records that are just itching for that particular piano tone, some of them recorded with millions of dollars, and none of them can get it. Haven't been able to pay attention to the actual songwriting nearly enough yet, just luxuriating in the tone.

That Alarm Will Sound album of Aphex Twin covers on acoustic instruments--not loving it. The smaller problem is that the point of it is not much more than that it could be done at all. Yes, you can approximate the timbres and rhythms of one set of soundmakers with another; dog bites man, and the Williams Fairey Brass Band's Acid Brass was the same central idea and a lot more fun, because the material sounded so unexpectely appropriate. The larger problem is that I keep running into altered versions of songs or recordings I know and love already, where the selling point is that they have been altered, period--not that somebody's found anything new in there. That's why, for instance, I don't have much time for the Nouvelle Vague project either: right, it's funny to play new wave songs as bossa nova, but how many of them actually look as good or better dressed up in bossa nova couture?

Of course, if I ever wrote a memoir it'd have to be called "Derivative Works." (Which makes me think of Trevor Inchmale, the hapless rent collector from The Bojeffries Saga, who spends his life thinking of things to call his memoirs: "'The Rentman Cometh.' 'One Hundred Twenty Days in Sodom, Collecting the Rent.'")

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas published on July 6, 2005 12:31 PM.

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