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Re: [ARSCLIST] Libraries disposing of records
Oh God! All that homemade YouTube video,and MySpace garbage saved forever. The HORROR !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tom Fine <tflists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote: Hi Steven:
I don't understand what you're advocating. I'm with Philip Holmes -- if "save everything" types want
to actually do that, then they can pay for it and figure out where to store it. Don't involve me or
use my taxes for it (given the recent elections up your way, I'd say Canadians are getting tired of
a high tax burden too). I'd rather have my efforts (and some of my taxes) go to intelligent
preservation that attempts to weed out and save the "best" of each era -- knowing full well it's a
biased and stilted representation of the time rather than the experience of actually being there
(only those who live in a time/place get the privilege of "being there" and "doing that", everything
else is a limited facsimile). That's what's worked since the Romans and before, so it's good with
me. Main overriding good feature is that it's doable, as opposed to grabbing up and trying to
preserve every last piece of junky "art" just to say "we kept it all." That to me is ridiculous.
Alas, the save-everythingers' "dream" is likely to be more true than ever of this current age.
Digital stuff seems to lurk around in some corner of the connected world forever (as some of today's
teens will find out when they finally grow up and decide to run for public office or seek a good job
and their MySpace bare-chested video shoots them down). Barring a nuclear meltdown or return to the
Dark Ages, all the garbage kicking around on the Internet today -- including all the mis-information
touted in places like Whacky-Packia and numerous e-mail legends that circulate around and around and
around -- will be preserved forever and after we all die off, it may be treated as "fact." This is
what "unmediated history" gets you, and I don't think it's any better than the bias and loyalties of
"wise men" written history as it was done up to now. As I said, there is really no way for someone
who didn't "been there done that" to ever really understand it or experience it (latest example is
the rewrite of the Ford years that the mass media did). The best he can do is find some eye-witness
testimony and absorb it.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Steven C. Barr(x)"
Sent: Friday, January 05, 2007 10:57 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Libraries disposing of records
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Tom Fine"
>> Hi Steven:
>> Actually, what's happened historically has been that when a better sound
> medium comes along, the
>> older musical styles get redone or revived in the new medium, to a certain
> extent. Louis Armstrong
>> and Duke Ellington -- acoustic 78's, electric 78's, mono LP, stereo LP and the
> master tapes from the
>> LPs reissued on CD with no LP limitations on fidelity. Armstrong and Ellington
> recorded their
>> essential repertoire several times over, each in a higher fidelity medium. So
> what about Bix (used
>> as an example because he died long before better fidelity came along)? Therein
> is your argument. But
>> Bix has been preserved and in fact enhanced in later reissues as technology
> got better. And when
>> someone today goes and buys a Bix CD, unless he has the worst listening system
> around, he's
>> guaranteed a better listening experience that getting that
> flawed-from-the-factory scratchy and
>> noisy shellac, putting it on his acoustic Victrola and hearing a tiny piece of
> the audible spectrum
>> blasting out of his horn. But maybe the awful sound out of the tinny horn is
> part of the
>> "experience"? BTW, I'm using jazz examples just because that's what I know. I
> could cite Muddy
>> Waters (Lomax field recordings, same material recorded later in mono hifi and
> then later again in
>> stereo) or a bunch of Classical conductors and orchestras who were active in
> the 78 era and then had
>> a Golden Age of Recording starting with the transition to LP and then getting
> all the way up into
>> the 70's in some cases, all the way to digital for a few. Point is, again,
> that commercially viable
>> stuff gets preserved, rehashed, redone and then reissued and enhanced. If
> there's a buck to be made,
>> it gets done.
> Ahh-h-h...therein lies the "catch" (#1, not #22!)...
> The material that is "commercially viable"...! First, that amounts to
> 1%...or even 1% of 1%...of the total amount...which is then assumed by
> our mythical "Joe Gabroni" to be the ONLY worthwhile representation of
> that era! I can buy countless reissues of Robert Johnson, since he had
> the good fortune to be idolized by the "British Blues Invasion" and thus
> be assigned iconic status...but should I be interested in some more
> obscure artist (i.e. Big Bill (Broonzy) and his Chicago Five)...not
> that easily found...
> Second, this assumes that the de-noised, re-equalized, and otherwise
> bent, beaten and battered into acceptable 21st-century form is actually
> what the original recording could/would/should have sounded like! What
> this is, in fact, is some contemporary re-engineerer-of-sound-recordings'
> opinion of what was there...*IN HIS/HER/ITS OPINION!!* In fact, the next
> "new version" might well be "Beethoven...as he could have composed if he
> were aware of the digital synthesizer..."
> Third, subsequent recordings of pieces by, say, Ellington...made thirty
> or more years after their composition...are more a reflection of how his
> performace style and musical tastes had changed over the ensuing years.
> It is interesting to compare Ellington as of 1927 with Ellington as of
> 1967...but each recording has its own reasons for being worth hearing
> (better both in one listening session...!). I can't say specifically,
> but I suspect the same would be true for classical performances?
> Finally...to me, saying that "vintage recordings aren't worth the
> trouble of listening to..." is along the lines of looking at the
> "Mona Lisa" and saying..."Now, think how much better that would
> be if it were taken with a digital camera and then carefully
> edited on a good computer..."
> Steven C. Barr
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