Friday, October 21, 2011


  1. Hi Simon,

    Loved your book, came to see you talk in London and we hung out a bit afterwards. I asked a question about the break down in the economics of the music industry leading to a brain drain away from music as a career option, and comparing the atrophising of music to the vibrancy of the present day video games industry. I remember you liked the question.

    I think what you say here about the lack of musical technology breakthroughs is interesting. Ableton live is a piece of technology that has been massively overlooked by contemporary bands. It really is a brilliant bit of kit. Indeed, apart from autotuning of vocals and the bass twiddling of dubstep, I think artists, particularly the hip fringes are deliberately avoiding the most radical formal possibilities available even now. I'd put this down to a lot of music functioning now as a comfort blanket in the onslaught of information and largely bad news. I seem to remember talking about how unattractive the future is now and how this throws people into forgiving arms of nostalgia.

    But then again, the ever real threat of nuclear armageddon underpinned nearly all of the golden age of pop and rock - 1955 - 1995 in my opinion. (minus 1986).

    Best wishes


  2. cheers

    yeah mark fisher had a good point that most of the developments in digital technology in recent years have been upgrades -- bright supercrisp images, high definition, etc... games getting more dimensional and vivid... CGI getting better and better (but still not real)

    and so with the digital audio workstations and ableton, do they allow people to think new musical thoughts or is it making slicker/easier/more densely layered/crisper what was already possible just more cumbersome and unwieldly

    i guess my gut feeling is that digitalisation = ever-exponential rises in facilitation but then all tech has its unintended capacities, ways of being used against inventor's intentions eg. Roland 303, or timestretch, or most recently distorto-uses of autotune... so perhaps there is all this unused potential in Ableton

    what did you think of that group Sleigh bells? i found their music almost unendurable at first, got into it but from the initial discomfort i started to wonder whether digital distortion is radically different from analogue distortion, analog noise is an overload of signals whereas digital distortion is like pixelisation, it's an underload not overload -- a dearth of signals.. a kind of pocking of the sound surface with lack, a riddling of holes in the sound and it hurts your ears to fill in the gaps. in other words it's a concentrated, instant version of the aural fatigue you can get from listen to digital sound particularly relatively lo-res mpf3s for a long period of time. am i on the righ track?