Anachostic

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Tag Archives: music

Things I Can Do Without

Whether my newest CD finds are 80’s pop (Phil Collins) or 80’s metal (Mercyful Fate), I am constantly irritated by shitty lyrics.  It could explain my preference for instrumental music.  The two previously mentioned examples have shitty lyrics for completely different reasons, but most of my gripes are with pop music.  Last night was Loverboy and I think I pulled a muscle rolling my eyes so much.

At the top of my hate list for shitty lyrics is rhyming girl with world.  I’m not a huge fan of near rhymes anyways, but this combo just really grates on me.  It’s not like there aren’t other options, even if they are somewhat weird.  “Curls” and “pearl” (both Rick Springfield) or “unfurl” (XTC) are somewhat daring choices to rhyme with “girl”, but whenever I hear “girl” in a song, I will sing along and try my damnedest to fit in the most superior rhyme: squirrel.  You should try it too.

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She was… an American squirrel.

This has to be a well-known substitution, but anyway… It’s shitty that so many songs want to talk about love, but the options for rhyming with love are terrible.  You know them all: shove, dove, above.  There you go.  Instead, just start changing the word love to drug or drugs (drug if using love as a verb, drugs if noun).  It is a universal replacement.

Another sore point for me is how songwriters completely do not get the concept of “forever”.  Forever is a long time, and even if the song says that line specifically, it’s still not accurate.  Forever is forever, long after everything in the universe has died.  And you want tonight to last that long?  You’re insane, buddy. You’re going to wait that long?  It’s impossible.

Along with forever is the reference to eyes.  Oooh, eyes are the window to the soul.  So expressive!  So vulnerable!  Yeah, well, notice how often songwriters will use 3 beats when talking about eyes: “in your eyes”, “in my eyes”, “sultry eyes”, back door eyes”, “(dun) (dun)… eyes”.  Here’s a game changer for you.  Next time in your car playing secret karaoke with the lame pop music blaring, substitute any of these three-beat phrases with “penis size” and see how often it fits.  Try it now.

It took so long to realize/I see you now through your lies/There’s got to be more to love than…

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The 80’s Synth Invasion

As my music collection grows exponentially, I find it doesn’t grow in any sort of order.  It grows opportunistically.  For example, I don’t particularly buy what I want, I buy what’s available.  And that’s fine, because my tastes are broad enough (and always growing) that there’s always something I’m willing to buy.

It was a little while ago that I picked up my first album by Survivor.  You know, Eye Of The Tiger and all that.  Actually, that was the album I got.  When you’re familiar with a band’s hits and you want to become invested in them, you can take the easy route and buy the greatest hits album, or you can be a man and just buy an album.  At thrift store CD prices, being a man doesn’t cost a whole lot, so that’s where I went.  And I liked it.  They had a good sound and I put Survivor on the list for future album purchases.

That day came a bit later when I picked up another of their albums.  It was my morning commute CD today.  And my experience with the album really led me to thinking deeper about music in the 80s.  Eye of the Tiger was released in 1982 and the album I was listening to came out in 1986.  My thoughts led me to create a shitastic “comic” to express my thoughts.

The80sInstruments

The initial point I was trying to make is that the ‘86 album had 10 songs, and 9 of those songs were all keyboard, with the guitar relegated to chunking out 8th notes for rhythm.  The closing track was guitar-driven and really felt out of place with the rest of the album.

Something clicked with me when I listened to each song as it started out with synthesizer chords.  I felt really sorry for the guitar player – well, main guitar player.  The keyboardist also played some guitar.  I suddenly understood the huge pushback against synths from rock acts, which, being a keyboard player myself, I never really appreciated.

Survivor isn’t the only recent instance I noticed this, although it was the most visceral.  I had recently picked up Europe’s album Wings of Tomorrow.  Everyone knows The Final Countdown, sure.  And if you heard the rest of The Final Countdown album, it is also very synth heavy, but it is also well-balanced with guitar work.  But on Wings of Tomorrow, which is the album just before The Final Countdown, there are hardly any synths at all.  The change is remarkable.  Also from the 80’s is the band GTR, a band that was formed by two guitarists who wanted a guitar-driven album.  That’s how bad it was back then.  I didn’t grasp how much of a statement they were making.

Then the Linn drum machine came along and it started to put the pressure on drummers.  Now they could be replaced with rock-solid precision that could be edited at will.  Gina Schock had to fight with the producer to play on The Go-Go’s Talk Show album.  And Mutt Lange, I love his sound, but his reliance on drum machines really grates on me.  I still remember when my innocence was broken when I realized the ZZ Top album I loved so much had no real drums on it.  And then it began a real-or-not hunt on every album I had, which is not how music is supposed to be. 

But there is an infinite palette of music out there for consumption.  I can lament Survivor softening up into a synth ballad band or I can just put on any hair metal from the same era and hear guitar.  There is always something on offer from some band, even if it’s not the band you want to hear it from.  Guitar songs never really went away, they just spread out.  And with my ever-expanding collection, I still find them.

Light Music, Heavy Music, Light Words, Heavy Words

With 1,200 CDs in my collection, it’s probably an understatement to say I have a broad taste in music.  Yes, I do have concentrations of genres and time periods, but I can wander pretty far away from center.  And because of that, I feel sorry for people who are stuck on the same band or the same type of music, or who only know things that are on the radio.

Some music is challenging to me, that which I call avant-garde.  The Residents fall into this group, because I typically hear their music as a bunch of noise, or as music constructed so simplistically I can’t take it seriously.  And because of that difficultly to connect with the music, I consider that music to be heavy – even if they’re playing three notes over and over on a toy piano.  I say it’s heavy because it takes effort to listen to it. 

I also have a liking for death metal.  but not all death metal.  Death is one of my favorites because I find the whole thing hilarious.  Like there’s no way you can take the idea of someone vomiting up their own internal organs seriously.  It’s the audio equivalent of watching a horror movie.  But then there’s Sepultura, which is a Brazilian death metal band.  English isn’t their primary language, but they try.  And when I hear the broken English about the topics they write about, I just get the feeling they mean it a little more, because after all, they did try and translate it.  And that bugs me.

But then on the other end of the scale, I do like Indigo Girls.  But Indigo Girls, to me, is heavy, too.  I suppose you’re probably thinking: your evaluation of music is so fucked up.  But hear me out.  Indigo Girls isn’t heavy music, it’s heavy lyrics.  And I don’t mean heavy as in they make you go, “Whoa, man, that’s deep.” (Yes will do that well enough, thank you.)  I mean that their lyrics are SO weighted with metaphor it becomes unbearable to listen to for a long time.  I mean, I can handle a few metaphors in a song, but when you have to squeeze one in every verse, or god forbid, every stanza, well, it’s gonna wear me down.

Indigo Girls is nothing like Sammy Hagar, who I don’t think would ever get kudos for being a deep lyricist.  That’s not entirely fair, because there’s some of Hagar’s stuff that actually has some potential emotion in it.  But I consider his lyrics to be light and breezy.  Don’t think about them too much and just go with the vibe – usually partying and sex.  It doesn’t take a large vocabulary to express that stuff.

I was once talking with a woman about music and she told me that words were everything to her.  Well, that was kind of a problem because I really like instrumental music.  She was really, really into 38 Special, which isn’t bad, but it’s pretty light on both music and lyrics.  And there’s definitely a place for it.  I like 38 Special when driving because I don’t have to think much about it.

But my point was going to be that words themselves aren’t “everything” to me.  A lot of times, I can listen to a song for years and never know the lyrics.  I’ll know the important ones, but I may miss out on whole concepts in the verses.  I recall one time, I looked up the lyrics for a song I loved and the story wasn’t anything like I thought it was.  It ruined the song for me.

Because of my non-reliance on the lyrics, I shouldn’t really have a problem with foreign music, and in many cases I don’t.  I have some German punk rock and you can probably guess, you don’t need to know what they’re saying.  It’s just aggression from start to end.  And that works for the song.

I suspect for some people, the thresholds of light and heavy, whether musically or lyrically are much lower, so their breadth of music consumption is more limited.  On rare occasions, I daydream about being a teacher in school teaching Music Appreciation.  My experience in high school for Music Appreciation class was kind of a joke.  It was people bringing in tapes of songs they like, we all listen to it, then the teacher makes some commentary on it.  One time, we were listening to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer”.  We all knew the song well enough since it was playing everywhere at the time, and just when the chorus changed key, the teacher jumped up and stopped the tape.  “You hear that!  That’s a key modulation and it’s used to generate more excitement in the song.”  Yeah thanks, you just killed the excitement we all just got from the key modulation.  Me, being one of the few musicians in the class, did the outrageous.  I brought in Rush’s La Villa Strangiato and drew out all the themes on the blackboard and pointed out how the themes entered and reprised throughout the nine minute song.

My approach to music appreciation would literally be a class on how to listen to music.  Start with rhythm – learn how to count a beat, learn odd time signatures. Learn how songs are structured, so you can say things like, intro, verse, chorus, bridge, and coda with confidence.  Learn about instrumentation, so you understand the application of sparse arrangement and dense arrangement.  Probably some other stuff as well (like minor/major keys), but after the foundations are laid, then start with genres, and break the songs down based on past lessons.  That’s how music appreciation should be, teaching you how to appreciate a wide variety of music.

So, Are YOU A Collector? Clearly Not.

As I posted recently, I went on a CD safari and ended returning with 20 CDs.  15 of those were purchased from two flea market vendors, both of whom said they were collectors. 

In the first booth I went to, I felt I was in a hurry for time, so I scanned the discs very quickly, looking for smooth cases.  However, I saw one CD that I had scored on my last flea market trip that was a valuable find.  The CD wasn’t in a a smooth case (actually a shitty, flimsy case), so I was curious what a normal edition of that album looked like.  When I opened the case, I was surprised.  Similar to my previous reaction to finding gold, I said, “Oh, it’s a red-faced Polydor.  Nice.” 

Only a real geek would say “a red-faced Polydor”, right?  That’s a statement that would come out of the mouth of an orthinologist.  Like, you should log that in a bird-watching book along with the time and location.  But, I didn’t log it, I bought it.  WHY?  I already had one and it was a valuable one at that!  Sometimes, you can’t explain these things to collectors.  Different is good.

When I got home and cleaned the CDs all up, I researched what I had purchased.  Now you may recall the post about my $300 find for $3.  Well, this time, I paid $5, and wouldn’t you know it?  Someone has paid over $500 for this CD.

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I now have both of these CDs.  What’s the difference?  100% appearance.  These are the two CDs.  They have the same music.

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And when I say they have the same music, I checked.  They DO.  I posted this on Relative Waves.  It’s the same.

That’s two waveforms overlaid on each other.  There’s no green or white peeking out anywhere.  That means no differences. SAME SAME SAME.

Anyway.  So now I have a new most valuable CD.  Again, by a large margin.  In fact, my collection value went up by over $1000 from this last trip.  After all, I did find a bunch of other rarities.

Music Transcends Spirituality, Or Does It?

On my recent mega-thrift run, I picked up a particular CD from a thrift shop.  The thrift shop had one of those CD sections where everything was religious music.  The CD caught my eye because the title was “Portraits in Synthesis” and the cover was very new-agey, although the back design was a little chaotic.  The CD seemed like it would be a nice new-age synthesizer instrumental album, so I spent a couple bucks and got it.

When I got home, with my 19 other CDs, I took a better look at the back and saw the tracks were named all… uncomfortable names.  Things like, “Fairest Lord Jesus”, and “Lord Be Glorified / Spirit Song”, and the rest were similar.  Of course my reaction was, “Goddamn it.  This is a religious album.”  And I left it on the kitchen table while I cleaned up and cataloged my other finds.

The next day, I saw the disc sitting on the counter and picked up it again.  I read more of the back and realized, yes, it was a synth album.  It just had weird song titles.  I looked inside the booklet and there were no lyrics, so, yes, it’s instrumental.  What’s the deal with these titles?

I researched the label the album was published under and learned that it was a subsidiary of a religious music label.  This new child label was made to take advantage of the growing “new age” music popularity of the 80’s.  How weird.  When I think new-age, I actually think of “anti-religion”, not in any evil way, but you know, new-age spirituality. 

Think of the issues that come up when Christian music lovers can’t listen to new-age music because it conflicts with their personal beliefs.  “I can’t listen to this because it’s new-age, and that involves crystals and tantra and whatever a chakra is!”  Well, music finds a way, right?  We’ll publish the same kind of music, but we’ll use religious titles that invoke the names Lord and Jesus and then there’s no moral conflict!  What a genius idea!  It’s genius, but it’s sad, too.  Music doesn’t have any religious affiliation.  It’s agnostic.  And the sad part is that agnosticism isn’t good enough for devout believers.  If it doesn’t fully walk the walk and talk the talk, it’s evil.

I was testing out my car stereo after doing some work on it and the only radio station I could pick up was the local religious station.  Go figure, huh?  And some woman had called in to talk to the radio host and explain how she loved the station and how it gave her whole house a worshipping feel all the time.  That’s what you want your whole life to be?  Like you’re in church all day?

But I try to keep in mind the lyrics from NOFX’s Happy Guy, from Punk In Drublic (Something the devout would never hear anyway):

Don’t try to judge him, his theologian ideal
His hopes may be false but his happiness is real
Don’t try to judge him, he’s just a man

Listen To This Story

Amin_Bhatia_The_Interstellar_SuiteOn a regular CD shopping run last week, I picked up a random album.  I didn’t know the artist, much less the album, but the name was intriguing: The Interstellar Suite By Amin Bhatia.  Peeking inside the case, the liner notes stated: “The orchestral textures on this recording are a complex blend of synthesizers.”  Well, consider me sold.

The tracks of the album were named very specifically and initially it somewhat bothered me.  Songs named explicitly like, LAUNCH: Mission Control and Liftoff/Jumping to the Speed of Light. Another one was: BATTLE: Planning the Attack/Return Fire/The Last Missile.  I wasn’t entirely keen on being told what I should be thinking about as the songs are playing.  Despite that, I did review the track names as each song came on.

So let me say first off that this is an amazing album for many reasons.  The music is exquisitely composed and performed.  It is extremely orchestral and melodic and that’s made even more impressive because it’s done on a collection of synthesizers circa 1987.  The first track reminds me strongly of ELP’s Pirates and has a lot of John Williams influence, which isn’t a bad thing.  The thing that makes this album stand out from a Star Wars soundtrack, is the addition of sound effects, including some minor character dialog and atmospheric sounds.  And maybe it’s just the geek in me, but space ship launches and flybys and missiles and lasers and explosions, all rendered by 80’s synthesizers… consider me a fan.

I have probably played this a dozen times on repeat; it does not get old for me.  And that part is what is most interesting to me.  This particular album is what is termed “program music”, which I had not been exposed to before.  With program music, the songs are meant to conjure up specific imagery in your mind as you listen to them.  And this album does that amazingly well.  To carry the example of Star Wars, when you hear the Star Wars themes, you can visualize the scenes in your head, you’ve seen this before.  But there’s no movie with this album, all you have are the song titles, which I originally thought were too much.

Something about me is that I don’t re-read books.  I also don’t re-watch movies (except concert videos).  So, I find it peculiar that this album is very much like a movie or a book in that it tells a story, but unlike books and movies, I can leave it on repeat.  In fact, I’m playing it right now.  It’s a soundtrack for a movie that was never made or a book that was never written.  It’s also theme park music.  If you’ve gone to any Disney or Universal park, there is atmospheric music playing all the time that keeps you in the theme of the sub-park you are currently walking though.  This music would not be out of place in the slightest.

Hearing this music has made me think of a couple things.  I have a project limping slowly forward that involves a musical soundtrack.  Hearing this suite of music has given me serious reservations of calling my music a soundtrack.  Despite that feeling, I also realize that I have done something similar to this before, although nowhere near as grand.  It was a short-lived time where I wrote two multi-track songs I called Spy Song and Airlock.  The first was a short little song that could be considered intro/chase scene/romance scene/intro reprise.  And Airlock was just a short scene of someone trapped in a space ship and eventually ejected into space.  Neither of these little songs would be useable for any projects just because they’re too short – a couple minutes or so.

So I now have a whole other genre of music to explore now.  I used to buy random CDs at pawn shops when I felt my listening habits were getting stale, but I haven’t done anything like that for a long time.  And sometimes you get really lucky when you do that.

Alternate Music Timelines

This is an idea I’ve had for quite some time but it was not really big enough to really write about.  You know, some things are more Twitter-length, but if you don’t want to get sucked into multiple social broadcasting/publishing platforms, what can you do?  So, I just held on to the idea.

Then I had another of the same idea.  Now I’m up to two and it’s almost enough to make a post about.  All I need is a few paragraphs of intro/filler material (right here!) to describe the origins of the ideas so I can pad my word count.  But then, I had a third idea.  Now I was really set to go.  All I had to do was make sure I had enough words for each idea.  So, here’s the post proper.

You know sometimes when you hear a song, you think, “That sounds like this other band.”  Well, like everyone else, I get those thoughts too, but I think it happens less frequently, but more intensely with me.  Giving it some consideration, it’s not so much that one song sounds like another band did it, it’s more that the song would sound better by the alternative band because the song in question contains elements that that this other band does naturally.  I’ll try to explain how this applies for each song. 

So, for the 1000+ albums I’ve listened to, it might be strange to only come up with three cases where I would love to hear a one band’s song done by another band.  And if some of my reasons seem somewhat tenuous, you do have to consider that there’s a lot of music that sounds like other music and I don’t have a list of 100’s here.  To only have three instances must account for something.

Circle In The Sand, by Belinda Carlisle, performed by Fleetwood Mac.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/58972489

This is actually part of a bigger “fantasy” of mine.  Fleetwood Mac was a little lost after Stevie Nicks moved on to her solo stuff and eventually separated.  This led to their album, Time, with Bekka Bramlett instead of Stevie Nicks, which was not well received.

I thought Belinda Carlisle would be an excellent replacement for Stevie Nicks because they both had a trademark vibrato in their voices and they both loved the fuck out of cocaine.  Not to mention, Fleetwood Mac was part English and part Californian, while Carlisle was Californian but grew some European sensibilities by moving to France.

In this Van Hagar-ish mashup, I would imagine Fleetwood Mac throwing a couple of Belinda Carlisle songs into their live set to give her something to sing comfortably, and one of those songs should be Circle In The Sand.  Fleetwood Mac has a real gift at creating moody atmospheres, like in Rhiannon and The Chain.  If they could apply that sort of mood to Carlisle’s song, that would sound incredible.  In my opinion, of course.

Sensurround, by They Might Be Giants, performed by Rush.

I’m sure that’s about at WTF as you can get.  Where would I even get that idea from?  Quite simply, the guitar.  Sensurround is a guitar-heavy song, a style featured on many TMBG tracks, but the playing on this track is unlike others that I’ve heard.  There are a few style elements that stand out to me in the song.  First is the use of very dense chords.  Another is the staccato chords used in the verses, reminiscent of Rush’s Natural Science.  The other is the arpeggiated chords in the chorus similar to those in the chorus of Tom Sawyer.

Maybe that sounds like a stretch to only have elements from two Rush songs validate an idea that Rush could have done the song, but that’s only the genesis of the idea.  To imagine how the song would sound with the drumming and bass work of Neal and Geddy would be awesome.  And Rush are no strangers to quirkiness.  Although they don’t have any silly songs to their credit, they do show a sense of humor in their live shows.  So maybe make the lyrics a bit darker and more serious, Peart-style, and it’d be complete.

Give A Little Bit, by Supertramp, performed by Yes (circa 1970).

I recently purchased a Supertramp compilation CD and although I’ve heard this song before, I didn’t know who had done it.  As I listened to the song, it reminded me of some jangly Yes songs, particularly, And You And I.  The vocal line seemed to be well within Jon Anderson’s range and even the lyrical subject was similar to something he might write, maybe from the Anderson-Bruford-Wakeman-Howe era.

Bringing It Back

A couple of months ago, I picked up a new keyboard at a thrift shop.  As the holidays were approaching, I only had a few moments to spend any time with it.  I did a quick cleaning and test of the device and found it was… weird.  Something was really odd sounding about the patches when I played them.  I don’t have perfect pitch, but I can hear well enough to know when something is out of key.  And that’s what the problem sounded like.

The phenomenon was very weird, because as I would play songs that are completely familiar to me, I would screw up while playing them.  Not because of any sloppiness or difference in the keyboard action, it was because my ears were hearing a different pitch than I was playing on the keyboard, so my fingers would try to compensate for that and stretch to the wrong next key.  Like I would play a C and know the next note is a D, but my ear hears a B and my fingers think I have to stretch over an extra key to get to the D.  Just a mess.

I did try some repair on the keyboard a little bit afterwards.  After opening it up, I found the pitch and mod wheel cable was disconnected, and it looked like something had been spilled inside.  I pulled the keys that looked like they’d been affected by the spill and cleaned them.  The contacts looked fine.  And then, right in the middle of that procedure, the holidays came back, so I had to close the keyboard all up and store it again.  Along the way, I found I had lost 4 springs for the keys I had cleaned.  Not lost, but they had fallen out.

The other night, I pulled the beast back out and set about some trial and error troubleshooting.  During a previous round of testing, I had discovered there really was a pitch problem and my primary suspect was the aftertouch ribbon.  So after I replaced the missing key springs, I did a quick test with the aftertouch cables disconnected.  Perfect sound!  I reconnected the pitch and mod wheel cable and it still worked fine.  Things are looking up!

I considered the restoration project a success.  I had a functional 88-key keyboard for $100.  Who could complain about that?  Well, maybe I could complain that I had nowhere to set the thing up.  And having this massive electronic device made me miss the even bigger electronic device I nearly gave away.  That one was a real monster:

equinox88pro

Maybe one day I’ll write about the experience of trading this killer keyboard for a little tiny mixer.  Maybe it’ll include the confrontation with the sales guy at Guitar Center.

I have some desire to do some music.  To have all these devices and not make use of them is a shame.  And  ridiculously, I have some desire to recollect my original keyboards, maybe in rackmount form, so I can have my original inspiring sounds.

Things were different back then.  Things were more simple and also more difficult.  But the difficulty didn’t matter at the time because there wasn’t any other option.  You had to be daring and involved and willing to expend effort.  Now, expending the effort is rather a big deal.  I have a lot of software to set up, some hardware to configure, patches to configure, and eventually some audio routing will be needed.  These things aren’t conducive to creativity.

As I’ve been rebuilding my playing stamina and relearning some of my old compositions (which I’m very saddened to find I’ve forgotten a lot), I’ve been debating putting some of them online.  I actually have some old video of my playing from 2009 but I doubt it’s usable.  Production values have skyrocketed since then, so I’d probably need to record the video and audio separately, then mix them together to get the best quality.  More setup, more effort, less creativity.

Additionally, I’ve got yet another future audio project that is going to require the full recording setup effort, so maybe it’s happening sooner than I think.  Here’s to 2018 having a more diverse creative output.

Let It Be

In the early programming days, back when the language was called BASIC, there was a instruction that has since become deprecated.  That command is called LET.  Because language parsers were simpler back then, there needed to be a way to identify assignment of a value to a variable.  Nowadays, you just say x=1 and assignment is understood.  However, saying x=1 could imply comparison, resulting in a true or false value.  To avoid that ambiguity, in the past, you had to say LET x=1.

I started off with that little history lesson to say that I was listening to a recently purchased CD and a song title was “LET X=X”.  Since I was driving while the song was playing, I couldn’t really make out any of the lyrics, but the title gave me plenty to think about.

A programming statement like that is pretty useless.  It changes nothing.  And that thought is somewhat powerful.  Telling someone “LET X=X” could be saying “Leave things alone.” or “Don’t change a thing.”  Or you could be a bit more philosophical about it, applying a Que Sera Sera viewpoint to it – whatever happens, will happen.

So I looked up the lyrics and to me, they don’t make any sense.  But whatever, that artist rarely makes any sense to me.  But I got my own meaning out of the title, and I think that makes up for any confusion.

He Who Controls The Spice

This weekend, I picked up a couple of other CDs from my prime musical era: the 80’s.  It would probably be interesting to poll people and find out what they consider the best music of their life.  Based on anecdotal evidence I’ve seen, it would be the era in which a person became an adult, about when they were 18-21.  But that’s not really the point of this post. 

The thing I have discovered is that although we have all these eras of music: 50’s/oldies, 60’s/hippy, 70’s/classic rock, 80’s/glam/pop, 90’s/depression, and onward, each era has so much more than those generalizations I just assigned to them.  And even when you explore those other genres, they are still consistent with other genres of that era and also different than the same genre in other eras.  For example, Jazz in the 70’s sounds different than Jazz in the 80’s.  But Jazz in the 80’s still has that production sound of pop music the 80’s.  So the point I’m trying to make is that you can explore many genres within your prime musical era.  The amount of music just within your preferred era is staggering.  Believe me, I’ve been getting more and more daring and buying artists I only had a faint memory of.  The best way to describe the result of that effort is like filling in a puzzle of the entire musical landscape of the 80’s.  You see (hear) each album all in context and relation to the others and the era as a whole becomes more defined.  But that’s not really the point of this post, either.

I had to put those thoughts out first because I am curious abut the future (and a little about the past).  The 80’s could be the premier music moment in recorded music history, all due to the creation of the CD.  Because of the mad rush to upgrade past recordings to CD, then because of the eventual low cost of CD production, there is an overwhelming amount of music physically available on CD, both past and present (present meaning 80’s).

However, as we know, streaming is becoming the new standard.  Proponents of this format claim that it will encompass everything, where any music ever made will be available at a moment’s notice.  But will it?  It’s been shown many times over that an artist can simply refuse their catalog to be offered on a streaming service.  Not only an artist, but maybe an entire label.  If a label goes bankrupt, where do the rights go?  The music is only available when everything is working perfectly – and I wasn’t even meaning the technical bits working perfectly.

With our massively analytical society and our ROI-driven corporate environment, what are the odds that a streaming service would look at some particular music and see it isn’t being accessed enough or isn’t generating enough revenue, so it is just removed from the service.  It’s no longer available.  It’s not lost, just unavailable, which is pretty much the same thing to an end user.  I have seen news that some albums are no longer being released on a physical medium, therefore there is no way to own a copy of the music.  If this pattern accelerates, then there will come a time in the future where music can be lost.

Of course, none of this matters to me, because I’m still filling in the gaps of my era, but future generations will end up having a very spotty image of what music was like in their prime.  That would be a shame.