Ways of Hearing

Roman Mars:
This is 99% Invisible. I’m Roman Mars. Here is someone you should know.

Julie Shapiro:
Julie Shapiro. I’m Executive Producer of Radiotopia, and we’re going to talk about Showcase.

Roman Mars:
Showcase is a new project from Radiotopia and the first series in Showcase, and really the whole concept of Showcase happens to make a good 99% Invisible story. So I asked Julie to come talk to me about it.

Roman Mars:
This is very much your project that you’re spearheading. So can you tell us a little bit about Showcase and how it serves the mission of Radiotopia?

Julie Shapiro:
Sure. Well, Showcase directly came out of our experience with Podquest, which we ran about a year ago, where we invited anyone and everyone to submit podcast ideas about whatever they were interested in or wanted to make a podcast about. We got over 1500 entries and we chose one. It’s called Ear Hustle, it’s now a show in Radiotopia. But the thing that-

Roman Mars:
An incredibly popular show in Radiotopia.

Julie Shapiro:
Yeah, it’s a show we’re very, very proud of, and amazed at the response it’s been getting, et cetera. But the point was, we had so many great ideas, but they weren’t all necessarily sustainable, longterm show ideas, and thought, “Well what if Radiotopia could get behind a podcast that featured all of these different ideas, one after another without them being separate podcasts that had to go out and gain their own audience and live on their own? How could we use the Radiotopia name and reputation to help support even more producers with different kinds of ideas that wouldn’t be ongoing shows?”

Julie Shapiro:
And so what Showcase is, is one podcast that has limited-run series, one after another, with short breaks in between. These will be shows of all stripes. We’re really going to play with form, play with topics, push boundaries, give new producers a chance, and really see how we can provide really high-quality listening for our audiences.

Roman Mars:
How do you conceive of something that sort of sticks together, holds together enough to be a Radiotopia show or kind of represent our values in a certain way, but also be disparate enough to make this an experiment worth having?

Julie Shapiro:
I’m just looking for ideas that I know I’m interested in automatically. I haven’t heard anything like that before, but the producers kind of fit the Radiotopia profile. They’re independent, they’re highly ambitious, they have big ideas about the subject that they’re bringing to my attention, but they have a sense of humor, and they can play a little bit, and they’re sound inclined. I think every pitch I’m considering right now has a lot of sound involved because that’s really a hallmark of a lot of Radiotopia shows is this careful crafting. Again, how to experiment with the form, how to hear from new voices.

Julie Shapiro:
So part of it is like, “What are topics we haven’t heard yet? Go in those directions.” And also just encourage people to really come up with something brand new, original, something we can take a bit of a risk on because the reward is going to be in trying something new and giving listeners a new listening experience.

Roman Mars:
Yeah. So this is going to be the type of podcast for the adventurous listener, and will reward that type of person. I’m going to just do this, and put my 99pi hat on from a design perspective. Why all one podcast? Like through this format, what type of experience are you trying to shape and sort of cultivate with the audience?

Julie Shapiro:
That’s a really good question because we also talked about all of these series just being separate podcasts. There’s some liability here. Will people stick with it from one to the next? But I really hope, you know, the through-line for all of these series is going to be an original Radiotopian sense of surprise and quality. And no matter what the topic is, hopefully people will tune in, and people thinking of it as a showcase experience, not just thinking about the series that comes up next, but really having this comprehensive sense of what this offering is from Radiotopia.

Roman Mars:
Right. I mean, that’s the thing I like about it because there’s something about this where hopefully you get a little further into it to judge, because you trust the idea of the channel. Like, it means something to be a listener to Showcase. And so I’m just really intrigued by that new type of listening that might come out of that, that isn’t based around building a hit around a single podcast.

Julie Shapiro:
You know, we talk about Radiotopia as a kind of music label a lot, so this is kind of like a compilation record – LP CD.

Roman Mars:
Yeah, like our seven-inch series. And so you obviously have a few lined up. I don’t want to spoil anything, but can you sort of talk generally about the types of shows that are going to be on?

Julie Shapiro:
We’re going to kick off with a very sort of essayistic, sound-rich series about listening in the digital age. How listening has shifted for us through analog technology transforming into digital technology. This was proposed by a musician, Damon Krukowski, who was in a band that I used to love, ‘Galaxie 500’ and then ‘Damon & Naomi’.

Roman Mars:
Oh really?

Julie Shapiro:
Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Roman Mars:
Wow.

Julie Shapiro:
So I had to get over that to begin with when we started talking to him. But you know-

Roman Mars:
Well, I have an ex-girlfriend who is going to be very impressed by that one.

Julie Shapiro:
Oh, I can’t wait for her to hear this. Make sure she gives us a rating on iTunes, please. So Damon, this is a perfect example, he’s actually wrote a book about this in the past year, and we were talking about how that had to be a podcast. It was about listening shifting from analog to digital culture. How would you represent that through sound? And in a way that people could understand, it wouldn’t be too technical, and wouldn’t be too sort of intellectualized. But how does he convey how lives are changing through these technological shifts? And so he came up with six different episodes. They’re sort of based on the book, but it’s really departed from the book and become its own engine. It’s called ‘Ways of Hearing”.

Julie Shapiro:
That’s what we’re going to kick off the Showcase with, and I think there couldn’t be a better starter series because it’s really about how we listen, how we listen in this age and I really want to get people engaged with their ears, and thinking about what is it about podcasting that they respond to?

Roman Mars:
This is ‘Ways of Hearing: Listening in the Digital Age’ from Radiotopia Showcase.

Damon Krukowski:
The first record I made was all analog. It wasn’t a choice. That’s just how it was done in the 80s. My friends and I lived in an all-analog world. There were no computers in our lives. That didn’t feel weird. It would have been weird if there had been. At the time, computers were something you saw on TV during a moon shot.

TV Clip:
“15 seconds. Guidance is internal. 12, 11, 10, 9 …”

Damon Krukowski:
You saw people sitting at computers at NASA Mission Control.

TV Clip:
“… ignition sequence five, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 …”

Damon Krukowski:
Making a record wasn’t anything like a moon shot. It didn’t use numbers. It didn’t use data.

TV Clip:
“… 0. All engines running.” (sound of rocket ship launching)

Damon Krukowski:
Not that there was no technology involved. The tape decks, mixing board, microphones, they all seemed very magical. But they were made of magnets, gears, motors, electricity, like all the mechanical objects in our lives then. And so my bandmates and I set up our instruments in the studio, we counted off, and we played our songs. (music playing)

Damon Krukowski:
In many ways, it’s simply nostalgia to think that it was so different. People are people, sounds are sounds, and our technology is always changing. Still, there’s something particular about that analog experience which seems hard to conjure back up in the digital present. And for that very reason, it feels important to try. (Galaxie 500’s ‘Tugboat’ plays)

Damon Krukowski:
In that analog studio, there was a feeling when the tape started rolling that this was the moment we would capture, the feeling of time moving both more slowly and more quickly than usual. Like when you’re in an accident, each split second is suddenly so palpable, as if you’re living in slow motion. Yet what do we say when it’s over? It all happened in an instant. (audio of tape rewinding)

Damon Krukowski:
Analog recording is like an accident in other ways. On tape, there was no undo. You could try again if you had the time and money, but you couldn’t move backwards. What’s done is done, for better and worse.

Damon Krukowski:
Today, life as a musician is very different. In the digital studio, and I’m using one now, everything you do is provisional. That is, it can be redone, reshaped, rebuilt. There’s no commitment because each element of a recording can be endlessly changed. It can even be conjured from digital scratch, as it were, and entered into a computer directly as data without anyone performing at all. This means there’s no moment from lived experience that is captured forever, and unalterably so, in the digital studio.

Damon Krukowski:
Which is why it’s more than nostalgia that makes me remember the analog studio as different than what we know today, because the digital era has not just altered our tools for working with sound, or image, or moving images, it is changing our relationship to time itself.

Damon Krukowski:
This is ‘Ways of Hearing’, a six-part podcast from Radiotopia Showcase, exploring the nature of listening in our digital world. I’m Damon Krukowski, a musician and a writer. In each episode, we’ll look at a different way that the switch from analog to digital audio is changing our perceptions of time, of space, of love, money and power. This is about sound, the medium we’re sharing together now. But I’m worried about the quality of that sharing, because we don’t seem to be listening to each other very well right now in the world. Our voices carry further than they ever did before thanks to digital media. But how were they being heard?

Damon Krukowski:
Episode one: Time. Musicians know time is flexible. Classical players call this tempo ‘rubato’, Italian for stolen time. You steal a bit here, give a bit back there. Jazz players call it ‘swing’. Rock and funk players call it ‘groove’. This flexibility of time is something we’re all familiar with, whether or not we play an instrument. There’s the time it takes for dawn to arrive while you lay awake after a nightmare, and there’s the time it takes when you’re out all night with your friends.

Damon Krukowski:
What musicians terms like rubato, swing, and groove acknowledge is that time is experienced, not counted like a clock. And our experience of time is variable, it’s always changing. Even if our eyes look at a clock and see 12 equal hours, our ears are ready to steal a bit here, give a bit back there. The analog media we use to reproduce sound, records and tapes, reflect this variable sense of time. A time that’s elastic.

Damon Krukowski:
The first turntables, Victrolas, were hand-cranked. You wound up a spring, which spun the platter as it wound down. The speed was hardly steady, at least never for long.

Damon Krukowski:
At the opposite end of the 20th century, hip-hop DJs used speed controls on turntables to change the tempo of a record to match it to another and keep the groove going, or in the studio to pile up samples from older records and make a new one. In 1990, ‘A Tribe Called Quest’ sampled the base from ‘Walk on the Wild Side’, along with the surface noise from the LP, added it to a drum loop from a Lonnie Smith LP and made a new hit out of it. They also have to give up on collecting any royalties.

Ali Shaheed Muhammed:
One of the biggest samples that we were able to clear was the ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ by Lou Reed, and by clearing that, he just took 100% of that song.

Frannie Kelley:
Wait, really?

Ali Shaheed Muhammed:
He did.

Frannie Kelley:
Wait, you’re saying Lou Reed gets 100%…

Damon Krukowski:
That’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest and Frannie Kelley. They host a podcast about hip-hop called ‘Microphone Check’.

Ali Shaheed Muhammed:
Yeah, that’s his song.

Damon Krukowski:
Oh yeah, I always thought, you know my band ‘Galaxie 500’, we ripped off ‘The Velvet Underground’ way more than you did. We didn’t have to pay them a dime.

Damon Krukowski:
I asked Ali how Tribe used the variable speed of turntables to make their own records.

Ali Shaheed Muhammed:
Sometimes we would change the speed on a turn table, but because the staple hip-hop turntable is the Techniques 1200, so that has a pitch control, we would sometimes pitch it high there, sometimes a 33 RPM record, you put it on 45. And one thing with Tribe, we layered certain sounds, and so you kind of had to pitch them because often they weren’t in the same key.

Damon Krukowski:
Layering these sounds, ‘A Tribe Called Quest’ discovered something else about their samples.

Ali Shaheed Muhammed:
The records we were recording, they might not have been playing to a metronome and they were free-flowing. So there are moments within, let’s say even a two-bar phrase that maybe a drummer or a bass player like were aligned in the first two bars and the tempo seemed to be consistent, and then the last three beats of a bar, it sped up or slowed down.

Damon Krukowski:
In 1988, the songs my bandmates and I recorded slowed down and sped up just like Ali Shaheed described. I know because I was the drummer. We played as steadily as we could, but this was a performance. We were nervous and excited. And we sped up at the chorus. You might find that a flaw on our recordings, or you might feel it’s a part of their charm. Musicians have been speeding up at the chorus for as long, I’m sure, as there have been choruses. Our experience of time is flexible.

Damon Krukowski:
But not long after we recorded that first ‘Galaxie 500’ album, the commercial music world, for the most part, decided that this was most definitely a flaw. Bands on major labels, even bands who came out of our DIY indie scene started recording to a click track, that is a metronome. Fashions in music come and go. At the time, everyone was also using the swirling effect, called a flanger. No one remembers why.

Damon Krukowski:
But the click track proved more than a fad. It was a change that stuck because what truly changed in popular music during the 1980s was that digital machines entered the mix for the first time, and machines have a different sense of time. The first drum machines to be widely used in commercial recordings were introduced in 1980. And MIDI, musical instrument digital interface, the language machines used to share musical information with one another, was launched in 1983. Together, these tools can lock musical time to a clock, which doesn’t speed up at the chorus.

Damon Krukowski:
When ‘Galaxie 500’ recorded, we played our songs in what audio engineers now refer to as real-time. Real-time, as the name implies, is lived time, time as we experience it in the analog world. Digital time is not lived time, it’s machine time. It’s locked to a clock, and that clock, a time code, makes everything more regular than lived time. Time in the digital studio is stored in discrete cells on a grid, like figures on a spreadsheet, and if you’ve ever worked with a spreadsheet, you know those cells can be sorted any which way and refigured to most any desired outcome.

Damon Krukowski:
What this means is that a given experience of digital time is only one among many equally plausible experiences. Take this podcast you’re listening to. Since this is a digital medium, you could choose to hurry me up without changing the pitch of my voice, seemingly without changing any of my words or pronunciation, which means I can be equally fast, speaking at 1.5 times my normal pace, like I’m manic, or I can be equally slow, speaking at three-quarters normal pace, like I’m drunk. Neither need be how this happened in real-time. In fact …

Computer:
“None of this need ever have happened in the sense that we understood that term in 1988.”

Damon Krukowski:
That’s a track made entirely by software. The singer is a program made by Yamaha, called VOCALOID. VOCALOID tracks have been cropping up on the Japanese pop charts for a number of years, and are now making their way into other forms of music around the world. (japanese music plays)

Damon Krukowski:
As for podcasts, Adobe is developing a program called VoCo that will read text aloud for you in your own voice. What could possibly go wrong?

Damon Krukowski:
Making time conform to machines, making it regular would seem to make it more unified, like a standardized timeline that any of us can tap into at any moment. But there’s a surprising twist to digital time. It’s actually very difficult to synchronize. It’s a challenge in digital recording to line up the different layers that make up a song. If you play a guitar into a digital recorder, and then play it back and add singing, your voice won’t line up with the music exactly the way you performed it. The reason is what’s called latency.

Damon Krukowski:
Latency is the lag in digital communications introduced by the time it takes a computer to process them. Computers move very fast. That’s what computers are good at. But analog time, it seems, it moves faster. Let’s consider an example from outside music.

Joe Castiglione:
“Down the line, way back, and it’s gone! A grand slam, and the Red Sox have won…”

Damon Krukowski:
That’s the radio voice of the Boston Red Sox, Joe Castiglione.

Joe Castiglione:
I don’t have a signature home run call because all the good ones would take it. No, Alan going, “Going, going, gone.”

Alan Katz:
“It’s going, going, it’s gone.”

Joe Castiglione:
‘Bye, bye baby’ Russ Hodges. At times I’ve used, ‘Forget about it’ because you know it’s gone. Some fans didn’t like that, and said, “We don’t want to forget about it. It’s a big home run.”

Joe Castiglione:
“And it is gone! The Red Sox have won it!”

Joe Castiglione:
The role of a broadcaster is to describe but what you see and what is happening as it happens. That’s why we broadcast in the present tense.

Joe Castiglione:
“… deals and it’s in there for a call strike.”

Joe Castiglione:
You can’t be too soon, anticipate, because you can get burned that way. Sometimes the ball doesn’t carry as far as you think it’s going to, or sometimes it carries farther. You can always tell if a broadcast is behind the action, if the crowds cheering, and you’re still building up to what’s happening. You have to be quick, you have to be current, you have to be right on time.

Damon Krukowski:
Joe is such an important voice here in Boston. It used to be common practice to watch baseball games on TV, but with the sound off and the radio on, so we could watch the game but listen to Joe.

Joe Castiglione:
“…all the way into the triangle, this will be at least…”

Damon Krukowski:
And then a strange thing happened. On June 12th, 2009, Joe started calling the plays before we saw them on TV. That’s because on that day, every TV station in the U.S. switched from analog to digital transmission, and that lag in the digital television image, the gap between it and the real-time of the game as Joe was calling it, that is latency.

Damon Krukowski:
It takes time for computers to translate the world into data, and translating data to analog so we can perceive it slows things down enough to put the tag after the call by Joe Castiglione.

Joe Castiglione:
“Tucker’s throw, throw, and time, and he’s out.”

Joe Castiglione:
There was an old saying radio, “When you read it it’s history. When you hear it, it’s news.” And we’re ahead of the satellite picture on TV, so we are first. And I think the immediacy of radio is something that is so critical and so germane to it.

Damon Krukowski:
Back before digital broadcast, that immediacy was audible in the city. You always knew when there was a home run at Fenway because you heard a simultaneous collective cheer all around Boston from every open window and passing car.

Joe Castiglione:
“Can you believe it?” (cheering)

Damon Krukowski:
Today, those shouts are staggered. We get a splattering of cheers, like scatter points on a graph. (scattered cheering) That’s because latency is different, slightly different, but different on each digital device receiving its own particular stream of digital information.

Damon Krukowski:
Professional music producers and engineers in the digital studio worry about latency all the time. The lag it introduces can be very, very small, and yet it’s always there, and always threatening to knock the different layers of a song out of sync with one another. If a young drummer today manages to cast a wide net round the beat, perhaps that’s not so different from my own speeding up and slowing down on ‘Galaxie 500’ recordings. It may be a flaw, or it may be a part of the charm.

Damon Krukowski:
Yet there’s something very distinct about an experience of analog time, time that flexes slower and quicker, tempo rubato, and this feeling of blurred time from latency. For one, I can’t think of a musical term for latency, perhaps because it’s not like anything we experience in lived time.

Damon Krukowski:
However, this experience of latency is typical of life online, for all our seemingly instant and global digital communications. Life online is in practice, filled with chronological confusions. Social media like Facebook and Twitter shuffle posts according to various algorithms, most obviously popularity. The net result being that yesterday’s news bulletin can interrupt today’s string of think pieces of about it.

Damon Krukowski:
Texting, too, is often tripped up by cross-posts, or missed posts, or abrupt silences followed by 10 bings in a row, temporal hiccups in information exchange that would never happen face-to-face. In conversation, in real analog time, we can gauge reaction to our statements before anything further is said, we can pause without lapsing into silence, and we can fall silent without ending the conversation.

Damon Krukowski:
Digital time is time designed from machines. We benefit in all kinds of ways from the convenience that makes possible. But those conveniences come at a sacrifice because when we trade broadcast for podcast, we give up the opportunity to experience time together, in the same instant, through our media. And when we trade real-time from machine time in music, we lose the ability to share our individual timing with one another.

Damon Krukowski:
Musicians use rubato, swing, and groove to move us together, not locked to a machine, but to one another. Analog time is flexible, but unified. We share it so easily, without tinkering with technology, without even thinking about it. Maybe that’s why we seem to be surrendering it so quickly. But without it, it’s harder to share a moment in time together. Like those moments I once shared with my bandmates in a recording studio, in a particular place, at a particular time on West Broadway, just south of Canal in New York City, 1988. (music plays)

Damon Krukowski:
This is ‘Ways of Hearing’. In the next episode, I’ll take a trip to today’s New York, and look at the effect of digital sound on our perception of space. Thank you for listening.

Damon Krukowski:
‘Ways of Hearing’ is a production of Showcase from Radiotopia and PRX, produced by me, Damon Krukowski, Max Larkin, and Ian Coss, with sound design by Ian Coss. Thanks to Julie Shapiro and Alex Bronstein. Recorded at the PRX Podcast Garage in Allston, Mass. Our theme song is ‘Trickle Down’ by Robert Wyatt. Find out more about Ways of Hearing at radiotopia.fm/showcase.

Credits

Production

This episode of Ways of Hearing was produced by Damon Krukowski, Max Larkin and Ian Coss (written and hosted by Damon Krukowski). Sound design by Ian Coss. Executive Producer is Julie Shapiro. Guests include: Ali Shaheed Muhammed of A Tribe Called Quest; and Joe Castiglione, the radio voice of the Boston Red Sox.

Music

“Tugboat” by Galaxie 500
“Can I Kick It” by A Tribe Called Quest
“Parking Lot” by Galaxie 500
“Trickle Down” by Robert Wyatt

Comments (11)

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  1. Alex

    Want a great version of a Zeppelin song? Listen to Boom Pam’s cover of Black Dog. Definitely feels like a satisfying experience.

  2. Sean

    Just wondering what the names of all the songs were on this episode??

    You can’t just open up the first 30 seconds of cool songs and not post them. I mean really??

  3. Chris K

    Great shout out for Dred Zep. Part of what makes their versions work is that they *do* capture all the small but important features of the performance pieces at the same time that they are putting their own spin on them.

  4. Andrew Dabrowski

    The notion that a composition is just a lead sheet is itself a huge step back in musical culture. There’s a joke that if Brahms had written his Haydn Variations today he would be credited only as the arranger, Haydn as the composer.

    It was understood for centuries that a composer’s job is to write all the instrumental parts, but in pop music each instrumentalist writes his own part., and gets no composing credit for it. That there are few good covers of Led Zeppelin says more about the incompetence of pop musicians as pure performers than of LZ as songwriters. It’s important to distinguish songs that are too hard to cover from those that are too easy to cover.

    Lithium is a good song, but nowhere near Gershwin’s compositional level. Gershwin had complete mastery of the popular idiom, he used French/German 6ths, 9ths and 11ths, suspensions, diminished chords, i.e. constant functional use of dissonance. Cobain used almost entirely major/minor triads.

    Moreover LZ could be quite inspired melodically and harmonically, e.g. Ten Years Gone, The Rain Song, and of course thsat 800 lb gorilla Stairway to Heaven. I think everyone would recognize the opening chords of that much more easily than those of Lithium.

    But I enjoyed the discussion and many good points were made.

  5. Mohammed Alabdulkarim

    I loved the episode, but I just have one comment:

    (Note that I’m not speaking as an expert, this is just a thought that I wanted to share)

    It seems (to me at least) that the episode hints that Latency is confined to digital. When in fact, latency is always there (both in analog and digital) because nothing has infinite speed.

    For example, we can experience latency in the analog world with the delay between the sound of thunder and the light that carries the image of lightening.

    Latency is always there, we just don’t have enough “resolution” in our hearing to be able to notice it.

    I think what digital exclusively introduces is (variable latency). Latency that changes without any changes in the physical constraints. Latency that depends on the load experienced by the processor producing the signal.

  6. Michael

    I have to say that I was bothered by the way digital, as a concept, was discussed here. The piece made it seem as though inherent to digital technologies was an intolerable level of latency. Yet the piece never goes into what causes latency in the digital world.

    While some delay is inherent in converting from the analog signal of a microphone to digital, the most significant delays are due to phenomena that are not required by digital technologies. These are phenomena that are due to trade-offs that are made possible by the digital world. For example, those in television choose to trade off a noticeable delay in video for the ability to fit more channels over broadcast, cable, or satellite. Phone companies choose to trade off a noticeable delay for the ability to use a less reliable (i.e., less costly) channel, e.g., the packet-based VoIP, or to protect against weak signals, e.g., for mobile phones. You might choose to put up with some latency so you can use your $1,000 laptop to record rather than a rack with $100,000 of equipment. Such trade-offs aren’t the fault of digital, but of the people who made them.

    A related problem with the piece is that it didn’t discuss what advantages digital had at all, leaving that a mystery. Most listeners probably know some, but few know all. Most can fall into three broad categories: Cost, convenience, and capability. Recording on your laptop falls in all three categories, but it should be emphasized that there were clear advantages to going this route, that it wasn’t just some technical fad.

    Also, the piece make it seem as though audible latency were unique to digital. (Another commenter noted that latency has always existed, but latency undetectable by human ears is generally not a problem.) There is the latency inherent in both human hearing and the creation of sound originating by the movement of human muscles. Intolerable latency would be latency we could detect, so let’s assume that that takes that type of latency out of the equation. There’s still the inherent delay – sometimes a feature, sometimes not – of audio recording, whether you’re talking about the reaction time of an analog filter or the amount of time corresponding to the distance between a recording head and a playback head on a tape recorder. Latency isn’t new; what’s new is how we’re able to use (and perhaps abuse) it.

    The piece also leaves out that digital allows more precise technologies for compensating for such latencies. There’s no inherent reason that television signals and radio stations can’t be synchronized, and no inherent reason that two tracks that are out of sync can’t be matched up. Digital should make both easy, though often – as in the case of television – it’s not deemed important enough to actually bother with.

    Finally, there’s nothing special about digital when it comes to live recording. If you want to record just as in days of old, set up a few mics and hook them up to your recording equipment. Whether digital or analog, everything should be properly synced up.

    Overall, these flaws made the introductory plea that this was not just nostalgia seem a little bit like “the lady doth protest too much, methinks.” While there might be a subtle difference between “digital causes latency, which I hate” and “digital enables tradeoffs that often result in latency, which I hate,” it’s an important distinction to make.

  7. Dermot Ryan

    The introductory comments about computers being associated only with boffins and moonshots in the 80s is very odd. The Apple II came out in 1977, and the TRS-80 Tandy came out in 1980. Home computers were quite common in the early 80s, though they were rudimentary compared to what we have now.

    Also, analog recordings are editable too, via punch-ins and and the like. It’s laborious, but it’s not impossible. In fact, the idea of recordings being essentially captured live performances disappeared in the 60s. Look at the Beatles’ output as the 60s went on.

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