I smiled when I read ‘if Google taught us anything, it’s that omniscience is overrated’. Ain’t that the truth! It seems the more we strive for something, then the more we realise that perhaps it is not what we were looking for.
If anyone would have told those of us struggling to keep tape machines noise free, distortion free and wow and flutter free, that 20 years later we would all be paying to put it back, we would have said you were mad. The same could be said for mixing consoles, synths and samplers. Yet it would seem that we want more noise, more distortion, less bit depth - in fact anything but perfection!
We now have this hybrid of the digital and the analogue; let’s call it ‘digilogue’ for what it’s worth. Using technology to give us tape, console, amp and effect emulations. Perhaps nostalgia gets the better of all of us in the end, be that cars, clothes, houses and yes of course music. Perhaps when it comes down to it, the future we all dreamed of; a studio that sounded amazing for a fraction of the cost, just didn’t live up to what we hoped, a little like trying to imagine the perfect woman and then realizing there is no such thing - simply the one that is perfect for you.
A couple of decades ago a man called Francis Fukuyama wrote a book called ‘The End of History and the Last Man’ which suggested that Western liberal democracy signalled the end of the social evolutionary process. He was hailed as a genius by academics and many believed he might be right. Many have subsequently suggested that recent historical events prove that argument to be flawed.
It’s a brave man who suggests that this is where music technology completes its evolution, with digilogue.
So, is this the natural evolution of recorded sound, it just a trend that will pass? If we are looking at capturing sound as it really is and then reproducing it as it really is, then we still have a long way to go. Then perhaps if where we are right now proves anything, it is that when push comes to shove that art wins over science. In other words, we’re not looking for audio perfection, simply audio expression. Discuss.