Rabbits Full of Magic

08 January 2009

 

The Form of the Phonograph Record



First off, Mark just called me today to say the Spooks record has finally arrived in the mail and will be available on Die Slaughterhaus and through local stores like Vacation and Criminal Records.

Emma sent me this link to Ubuweb's amazing article on the history of the anti-record. Check it out, it's amazing. There is alot of stuff here that I had been thinking about last year, and I am glad to have found a whole slew of new jumping-off points for what i feel like is one of the more important projects of my life. The DIY production of homemade records is something that has always fascinated me, ever since I learned how to burn a CDr on my dad's computer in the 90s. As music has become more and more easy to distribute, in fact seamlessly and effortlessly, it will become more and more important to focus on the overall aesthetics of the product. Anyone can go to a Misplace page and upload their music, and while this is wonderful and a technological breakthrough for turning music into an immortal instant, it is like a transcendent creation attempting to interact with the physical world of senses of sight and sound. Mp3s and the digital music are wonderful and perfect and inhuman; ghosts from the future. Using the argument that LPs "just sound better" is a falsity and missing the point. Records have a body, records have a finite life, which adds meaning to ever single listen. Because records age like people, records grow old and they lose their perfection. Yet in every listen a moment of creation is revealed and framed in its mortality. Every listen is closer to the death of a record and the death of a record is what gives it life.

That above linked article mentions

"1934 Theodore Adorno publishes his influential essay "'The Form of the Record" in the magazine 23. This same year, in the film L'Atalante by Jean Vigo, an actor is seen playing a record with his fingernail. Karl Valentin and Lesli Karlstadt produce the film Im Schallplattenden."

I tracked it down, so read Adorno's essay from a time when the idea of recorded music was taken as a serious threat to the art of the performer, and while shockwaves of the industrial revolution had yet to die down. Even in 2009 these words are spot-on:

"As perhaps the first of the technological artistic inventions, it already stems from an era that cynically acknowledges the dominance of things over people through the emancipation of technology from human requirements and human needs and through the presentation of achievements whose significance is not primarily humane; instead, the need is initially produced by advertisement, once the thing exists and is spinning in its own orbit."

Comments:
Hey Adam, I found your blog a couple weeks ago and have really enjoyed it.

Jeez, Adorno. I haven't thought about him in years. Great stuff.

If you're interested - I just uploaded some home recorded songs that a friend and I have been working on the past few months over at thegroenlings.wordpress.com - all 8 songs run about 20mins and we're calling the whole 'farm muscles'

cheers
 
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