This was on Digg, so some of you may have seen it, but I think it’s worth repeating here. They took the strict ingredients for pop music to recreate its end result:
This happens for all styles of music, including classical. Except for the most trained ears (not mine) it is impossible to tell whether or not recorded music reflects upon the actual skill of the musician. Right now it’s most true with vocalists, but the tools are evolving to let even the most complicated of instrumentals be edited and tweaked to the point of false perfection.
For many, this doesn’t make music any less enjoyable. After all, who cares how it was made if it sounds good? As a music listener, I don’t have huge problems with it, as I’m sure that a lot of my studio albums (if not all of them) have received such treatment. But as a musician, it feels like a disappointment. I like to appreciate artists with remarkable skills, and talented musicians are the ones who really lose out most on this “musical photoshopping”. Sure, when I record drums, I want them to sound perfect, so I don’t object to fudging a few things so that listeners don’t notice my mistakes, but that can’t be done with live music. Hearing something difficult to play on a recording is one thing, but seeing them pull it off with such precision live is another one entirely.
Here’s another point in case, just to beat a dead horse: Saosin’s “Voices” has been nagging at me for about 2 weeks now. Watch the first verse twice: first pay attention to the singer, and then the drummer.
The vocalist is considerably more annoying live- whiny and shaky on pitch. But the drummer’s beat during the verse is incredibly solid – both in recording and in live performance. That’s something that only comes with a lot of work, unlike studio tweaks.
I’m shutting up now, I’m longwinded even when I blog.