The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'glitch'
In his latest Wired column, Momus writes about how, in the age of digital music, record crackle has changed from undesirable noise artefact to desirable sonic texture:
There must have been some tiny glitch on one of my tracks, because the engineer -- looking as pleased as a dentist who's discovered a cavity -- rolled his swivel chair over to his newest toy: a Cedar digital declicking unit. This device, he explained, would search my recordings for clicks, crackles and other errors and strip them out faster than you could say "Leadbelly."
Fifteen years later mastering studios -- and digital restoration devices made by companies like Cedar Audio -- still flourish. But something else has happened in the interim, something either contradictory or complementary, depending on how you look at it. There are now all sorts of devices that, rather than removing "imperfections" like crackle and click, actually add them.
When analog recordings on vinyl were our main way of representing music, there was no reason to think of a black 12-inch record as a fetish object, to be celebrated for its rare, soulful, unique properties. Back then, we didn't cherish surface noise, or find failure charming. A record was supposed to be an audible "window on the world" -- the less it crackled, the better we could hear what was going on through the window.
But when CDs replaced vinyl, some of us began collecting the black stuff religiously, and treasuring its unique properties. Those turned out, mostly, to be errors and limitations.
But maybe that halo -- that warm, holy glow -- is just the consolation prize we award to any medium that's been displaced from the coveted role of representing the world. Think of painting focusing on the brushstroke when photography comes along, TV turning self-referential when we get our information about the world through computers instead, or analog crackle becoming something you add with a digital patch.I have wondered whether, at some future stage, low-bit-rate audio-compression artefacts will become fashionable in the same way that faux record crackle is these days; perhaps with bands making allusions to a mythical golden age of MySpace bedroom indie authenticity or somesuch?
This is pretty cool; NASA video of an aeroplane full of crash-test dummies crashing and burning, edited and set to what sounds like a laptop-glitch remix of Interpol's Untitled. (Of course, Sigur Rós, Merzbow or some Austrian glitchmeister would have been more l33t, but still...) (via bOING bOING)
Oh yes, I got Blue Skied An' Clear (the Slowdive tribute CD) in the mail today. I've only listened to part of the first disc so far, and it has its highs and lows. It's rather German and laptoppish and minimal in places, which sometimes works and sometimes not. (As you can imagine, the Pygmalion covers work better than the wall-of-noise shoegazing ones, especially with guessed lyrics sung in high, thickly-accented voices. Manual's cover of Blue Skied An' Clear is particularly nice.)
(And nice to know that the Ulrich Schnauss' approach to Crazy For You is quite different from the one I've been working on for a year or so too...)
I was walking past Manny's in Fitzroy today, and stopped in, finding that they had a few items on sale. Hence, I ended up buying a copy of Waldorf Attack, the VST analogue rhythm synthesizer plug-in. (Something I had been meaning to get my hands on for a while; though the fact that it was on sale sealed it.)
It's pretty doovy; one can make all sorts of sounds with it, from analogue drum sounds to the sorts of bizarre noises found only in German laptop electro and Warp CDs, and miscellaneous odd burblings, hisses and insane ring-modulated cacophonies. And the fact that one of the preset kits it comes with is comprised of video-game sound effects is encouraging.
I laughed out loud when I heard the start of the "Beat Box 3" sample song, though; there it was: a perfect knock-off of the Casio VL-1 "Rock 2" pattern (that's the one from Ninetynine's Wöekenender).
German laptop/glitch record label Morr Music have released a Slowdive tribute compilation. Titled Blue Skied An' Clear, the first disc contains covers by the likes of Múm, Manual, Isan and a number of other artists of that stripe. The songs covered include the obvious choices (from Just For A Day and Souvlaki) as well as parts of Slowdive's now-deleted minimalist masterpiece Pygmalion (the title track and Crazy For You are listed). Disc 2 is apparently all original compositions in a similar direction; not too sure about that, but it may be interesting. More information is on the darla.com new releases page. (via the Avalyn mailing list)