Foo, Digital, Cassettes, Everything.

Well dear blog, it seems as though we have drifted apart in recent times.  Rest assured, you still hold a place in my heart, as much as text on a computer screen can.

Lets see, why have I returned on this nondescript spring day.  The truth is I’m not completely sure.  Lets just talk about some stuff.

I really  miss cassettes.  I just plain do.  While discussing recording with Web Master Numero Uno – Eric Sagatarius Tarn the other day, it occurred to me that musicians around my age came of age at a unique time technologically.  When our highschool band recorded our first sessions, they were on lower budget DA88 tapes.  A sort of pro-sumer format.  When we had a tiny bit of money to spend, we recorded to 2″ 16 track tape.  Because that was what the professionals were using.  There was no pro tools.  Man, I sound old.  We had to actually play everything ourselves, with no quantizing or pitch correction.  Very strange.

foo_fighters_control_room

Dave Grohl recently has spoken at length about how the recent foo fighters album was recorded all analog in his garage.  Now, while the analog comment is fully respectable and praise worthy (both for its challenge and old school aesthetic) the garage comment is certainly not.  Yes, you made it in your garage with a tape machine.  That garage is bigger than most Americans’ houses, and those tape machines cost tens of thousands of dollars each.  You also have about 100K worth of console (an API 1608 with add ons) and TONS of outboard pre amps.  So stop saying its a fucking garage record, ok man?  Just say you made it to tape, ok?  Also, is it not a little strange that a band can be commended for making an album using a process that was the standard for every record not that long ago?   Nevertheless, we commend.

sony-walkman

I’m sure I’ve talked about vinyl and whatnot before, but I’ve been thinking about cassettes a lot recently.  People throw around the word “mix tape” all the time, but I made quite a few back in the day.  Dubbed from vinyl even.  My crappy Sony Walkman was an essential element to any car trip.

Digital at its most amazingly inefficient
Digital at its most amazingly inefficient

And really, did they sound that bad?  Yeah, there was all that crackle from the deteriorating casettes and whatnot, but the feeling still came across.  Hell, when using my first home studio setup of a single 8 track ADAT recorder, we fucking MIXED to cassette man!  I dont know, there’s something endearing about those crappy little wheels spinning.

I keep my cassette archive in a milk crate these days, holding early days of musical development, I totally need some sort of deck to digitize those things.

Tonight we are seeing The Bad Plus with Joshua Redman at the Blue Note, sure to be an interesting event.  Lots of shows coming up, perhaps some posts will result.