Sunday, October 15, 2006

Frankenmusic?

Check out this article from the Globe & Mail about the use of auto-tuning technology to clean up the pitch of singers on music recordings AND in live shows. This technology allows nearly instantaneous auto-tuning while a singer is on-stage. This is an important tool if your goal is manufacturing easily digestable product for mass distribution. Think of music for a minute as a manufacturing industry. In manufacturing, a key goal is to reduce variability, so that the product is predictably the same over and over and over and over. Scary, eh?

On one of his recordings, Utah Phillips quotes Jack Conroy as saying, "I prefer a rude vigor to a polished banality". You only need turn on the radio though to learn that polished banalities are not just the order of the day, they are monsterously successful.

This is why I have become increasingly interested in returning music to the community - playing at home, with friends, busking on the streets, on top of music played in smaller venues. As Michelle Shocked suggests in her tune, Strawberry Jam, if we all make a little home-made jam, those corporate jam factories won't be needed any more:

Saturday morning found me itching
To get on over to my grandma's kitchen
[And what you gonna do, honey]
The sweetest little berries was cooking up right
And then we'd put them in a canning jar and seal them up tight
We were making jam
[What kind?]
Strawberry jam, that's what kind
[Aw, the good kind
] Yeah, if you want the best jam
You gotta make your own

We have Smucker's, Welches, Knotts Berry Farm
But a little homemade jam never did a body no harm
A little local motion is all we need
To close down these corporate jam factories
We'll be making jam
Strawberry jam, mmmm-mm
If you want the best jam
You gotta make your own
(Make that jam Doc, show 'em how it's done)

Yeah, we have a little revolution sweeping the land
Now once more everybody's making homemade jam
So won't you call your friends up on the telephone
You invite 'em on over, you make some jam of your own
You'll be making jam
Strawberry jam
If you want the best jam
You gotta make your own
(Go on Jerry, let the jelly roll)

(Jerry's makin' jam)

(That's Mark O'Connor
He likes jam too)
[Aw yeah, as sweet as strawberry jam, honey]
(Uh-ha)

Saturday morning found me itching
To get on over to my grandma's kitchen
Where the sweetest little berries were cooking up right
And then we'd put them in a canning jar and seal them up tight
We was making jam
Strawberry jam, that's what kind
If you want the best jam
You gotta make your own
Aw, one more time
Oh, makin' that jam
Yeah, Strawberry jam
If you want the best jam
You gotta make your own

7 comments:

Tim said...

Pitch correction software sounds like a real money making boon for the karaoke clubs, soon everybody can be a star. I wonder how many professional recordings have been released using such technology or if let's say, Mick Jagger uses it live? I'm with you though, homegrown music is alright!

* (asterisk) said...

Ugh, this makes me feel ill. Whatever happened to the joy of live acts, the not knowing what might happen? Cretins, the lot of 'em.

Underground Baker said...

I know you're all talkin' music, but I feel exactly the same about food!...and music, and life in general. Technology has a place because it is here to stay...(unless you are reading The Road right now), but it's all in how we use it.

mister anchovy said...

Well, when I cook, I like to chop stuff without using machines and when I bake bread, I like to knead it.....because it's got more soul that way.

tshsmom said...

Wow; and I thought lip-synching was bad!

Candy Minx said...

You need to see the movie Josie and The Pussycats. The girls have a garage band and want to stay true to their beliefs and make great music without selling out. But the evil record producer signs them up to replace the boys band he just killed inthe company plane...and when you record a record for him, the mix records a subliminal message that can't be heard by the ear alone. For instance sudenly, the vegetarian in the band starts to crave McDonald burgers...

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