Thursday, October 17, 2013

Vinyl Experience (5) Anti-digital music

Text:Fumimasa Hori

Kindness "Even an intern who just has learned how to work can make digital files. Although most people would not consider, a lot of people are involved in making vinyl actually. I think there is a vreverberation of a certain feeling because it passed through people's hand."

 "Since most music we enjoy is computer made, why are vinyl records marketable all of a sudden? I believe the resurgence of vinyl is part of a greater backlash against the hyper-reality of this digital age. It’s the difference between clicking a “download torrent” button or going to a store where you can look at real products surrounded by real, likeminded people."
 (Art Writer, Michael Cuthbertson) 

Although it can be seen if you have look at the graph on the previous article, vinyl sales in the United States have been growing from '07. It was just overlapped in time when subprime mortgage crisis emerged. Also, economic downturn precipitated by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy was generated in the following year. This means that while the financial economy without substance have suffered a devastating blow, vinyl accompanied the substance were accepted, I have thought it's really interesting phenomenon. 

Since the second half of the 1990s Internet has penetrated, things which has no substance - digital download in the music industry and finance in the economic world - has been making its power felt. In such a time, people were able to making a large amout of money and listening to a lot of music with one finger and one click. I think Michael grasps people who resist against this instant&easy tendency are increasing. 

While Kelly Beary, an owner of a record store The Atomic Pop Shop in LA praises "Vinyl just sounds amazing", she refers to digital music "It’s disposable.It’s not an art.". Although there are only a few person who make an objection to a straight so far in Japan, in the West where the soul of the counterculture is alive, there are not a few person who indicate their intention of the anti-digital music. 

Jack White was named as an ambassador of Record Store Day this year. After the dismissal of White Stripes, although he continues musical activity as solo, he is also an owner of a label of Third Man Records which keeps to be particular about vinyl thoroughly. Saying "There's no romance in a mouse click", "There's no romance in singing about an iPod"

Also, Aaron Turner, a member of Old man gloom reveals the feeling of repulsion to the internet and digital music. He explains the reason he released a new work without notifying in this way. Hereinafter, it quotes from a free sheet "Follow Up". Aaron says as follows:

"It is because I got disgusted with seeing how internet have taken the soul from music. I don’t want anyone listen to it until we and listeners also can make suitable preparations. Although it seemed that it was important to surprise people on making new magic in a vinyl kingdom, such magic has been lost long time ago by existence of the Internet which is a great evil. OMG is a weapon against World Wide Web, homogenized music and the digital duplicate which lacks individuality and does not have the human feeling in and its increase. Vinyl is a part of an art and it should not be downloaded! We never surrender!"

There are not a few people who have the feeling of rejection in the act of convenient and easy download among vinyl lovers. Matt Anthony is an also one of them, who run a record shop which is called the name of his own in Lewisville. "I hate download. I also sell vinyl to people without a turntable. Because albums can be collections. I assume that the Beatles had yet released neither "white album" nor "Sgt.peppers". They only give off that albums to website. I do not own their albums. I fear the world which music is only on internet. That’s doomsday."

"Classic Album Sundays" is a vinyl listening party which mainly held in the United Kingdom. No talking, no texting. In an environment with severe constraints such as old jazz café in Japan, listeners deeply listen to total album tracks of vinyl records. The Telegraph clearly wrote that this party come up with the deeper world of music which Youtube or ipod can not embody was formed by a group against "download culture".

Although it may be exaggerated, I consider the expression "resistence" have an important meaning, if we grasp the vinyl movement which has been happened in the world now including the United States.

"David Hayes of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto says the growing popularity of vinyl might be a form of resistance against the music industry's corporate taste-makers."
 (United press international)

A phrase called resistance came out again. It may be mentioned  "corporate taste-makers" which David points out is the prosperity of digital music, such as MP3 and iTunes. Economic magazine Forbes says analyzes the factor of vniyl popularity in this way.

"David Shebiro, an owner of an record shop 'Rebel Rebel' believes the main reason behind vinyl’s comeback is a desire to conjure up the magic of buying music–a feeling that’s been lost in the era of immediate gratification offered by Apple and Amazon."

The 2000s were an age when the power relationships of the music industry shifted rapidly from the record companies to IT companies including Apple and Amazon. Although those companies excelled in offering "cheap and comvenient" music, I think that opinion will be divided regarding the perspective of "quality". Probably many of those who agree with the revival of vinyl threw questions toward the "quality" of digital music, and they noticed that there is another abundance in vinyl a little earlier.

As I wrote previously, few people who make an objection head-on to digital music in Japan, but Fumito Taguchi, an owner of a record shop Enban in Koenji is the one of them.He spells in this way with the book "vinyl storyteller’s theater memorandum" for an own event "vinyl storyteller’s theatre". Taguchi says as follows:

"You can touch vinyl. You can see, listen, smell. If you experience like such, you can see even about the same story as movies. However, from the information on current CD, furthermore music data, I received only a powerless individual's bluffs and it feels me disgusted."

Saying "DJing by PC is same as you bought a refrigerator and you said I'm a bartender.", "Although it has been gradually shifted to cheaper digital sound source in this age, this is similar whether you choose a convenient McDonald’s you only rewarm or chef's time-and-effort dish of full nutrition with fresh ingredients.", Theo Parrish is one of the severest DJ against digital music. He also casts a doubt on the quality of digital music.
Audio Maker LINN also compared the digital music to large size fast food which is consumed immediately and they warned.In contrast with the considering digital music as fast foods, Matthew Pryor, a vocalist of Get Up Kids compares vinyl popularity to slow food.

"I think [vinyl is] the slow food movement of the music industry. They are bigger, more difficult to maintain, take longer and cost more to produce but they just taste (or in this case sound) so much better."

I think a point Matthew points out is one of vinyl’s attraction which digital music such as MP3 or streaming cannot have. You can carry and listen to all digital music, but vinyl is suitable for tasting music thoroughly just because carrying is impossible.

NY times writes the review about the documentary film “sound it out” which takes up independent record shop in UK. NY times says as follows:

"We gained a lot when we went online for our music, but we lost a lot as well." 

Indeed, current vinyl popularity may be a movement we reconsider what was lost by the development of digital music. (cont'd)

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