The Harman produced video “The Distortion of Sound” featured musicians, producers and engineers talking the importance of “emotion” in music. They all stressed that they make and enjoy music because it can connect people in both physically and emotionally. How many times have you felt your toe start to move with the rhythm of a dance track or been brought to tears when a sad song comes on the radio. Music does have the ability to move us in ways that few other arts can.
When I was playing my quick demo of AIX tracks at the event in NYC a few weeks ago, I played a minute of “Let Them In” performed by John Gorka and band. It’s a very thoughtful and sad song about soldiers that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Even in the midst of that program and having played only 45 seconds of the track…it got to me. Here’s the lyric.
Let them in, Peter,
They are very tired
Give them couches where the angels sleep
And light those fires
Let them wake whole again
To brand new dawns
Fired with the sun
Not wartime’s bloody guns
May their peace be deep
Remember where the broken bodies lie
God knows how young they were
To have to die
God knows how young they were to have to die
Give them things they like
Let them make some noise
Give roadhouse bands, not golden harps
To these our boys
And let them love, Peter
‘Cause they’ve had no time
They should have trees and bird songs
And hills to climb
The taste of summer in a ripened pear
And girls sweet as meadow winds
With flowing hair
Tell them how they are missed
And say not to fear
It’s gonna be alright
With us down here
Let them in, Peter…
Instrumental music, music without lyrics, can tell a story too. Or, as is my preference, music can inspire for just being intellectually exciting and compositionally compelling. I wrote about my experience with the music of J.S. Bach and his first keyboard invention (click here to revisit it) a little over a year ago. The compositional genius that Bach demonstrated in virtually every work he ever wrote connects with my head and heart in a unique way.
Music is a direct connection between sound and the soul.
But it stands apart from technology. Yep, music is NOT dependent on high sampling rates or longer word lengths. Does having a great recording contribute to a more meaningful and more emotional experience? I think it does. If the artists that were interviewed in “The Distortion of Music” knew how far from their uncompressed, emotionally wrought singing and playing is when consumed by their fans, they would insist on changes in the status quo. But I don’t think they know that things can be different.
I got into trouble with a reader some months ago when I stated that I didn’t think that most artists have ever heard a REAL HD-Audio or Ultra HD-Audio track. The standard procedures and commercial demands of the “hit machine” (as Joni Mitchell called it) will never allow real world dynamic range to be delivered on a disc or download. The head of ASCAP, singer and songwriter Paul Williams, certainly hadn’t until he sat in my studio and heard what we produced together.
I got an email from a listener the other day that put a smile on my face. Here’s the best part:
We saw John Gorka this weekend at the New Bedford Folk Festival. I agree with you that he is terrific – great songs, great voice and a really nice humble human being! We bought his latest CD and upon listening to it, my wife (who is not terribly interested in sound) said to me that it sounded terrible and added “I guess we’ve been spoiled by that Blu-Ray”! Your recordings are that good!
Stay the course.”
I want to spoil the whole recording industry.