Saturday, July 14, 2012
What Does it Profit the World to Gain Technology but Lose it’s Soul?
For some very strange reason I had Paul Simon’s Kodachrome running through my head, over and over, a few days ago. Not a bad song, really, but truly tiresome after a while, and it got me thinking about the fact that Kodachrome is no longer manufactured. That Kodak is going out of business, as did Polaroid, and this made me very sad. I would much rather look through a shoe box full of old photos, tattered memories of almost forgotten slices of lives, than click through another crisp, digitized, photo album online. Not only is there a tactile loss when digitizing photos, that sense of the many people who have handled them, cherished and treasured them, but the very ease of snapping pics and posting them has lead to a loss of quality. When there were 24 - 36 shots on a roll of film, that then cost actual money to be developed, a certain care was taken with each shot. Each shot meant something, something worth paying to keep - in not just money, but time and space.
It’s not just photography that technology seems to be harming, but music as well. Phil Spector’s infamous “Wall of Sound” doesn’t translate well to digital compression. Listening to many songs from the 60’s through the 80’s on MP3 can be a disappointing experience if you’ve ever heard the originals on vinyl, and if you’ve never heard the originals, when you do you will find nuances and emotions in the music that can sweep you up and knock you down. There’s also the tactile benefits of holding a vinyl album, the smell of it, the deep black broken by shimmering, tiny lines, as well as the incredibly artistry that went into the 12.25” square space of the album covers and sleeves.
What I find really amazing is that the generation gap in music technology is actually inverse to other areas. If you’re young and never experienced buying and treasuring vinyl albums, then you’re more likely to prefer them to CDs and MP3s, whereas if you’re older and grew up with vinyl, then you’re more likely to prefer CDs and MP3s. I don’t understand that. Is it possible that older people have experienced enough hearing loss in certain frequencies that they really can’t hear the difference? If so, then that’s really a shame.
I’ll be discussing all that, and more on tonight’s show, as well as playing great music from across genres and generations. I’d especially like your opinions on this technological divide, so please come into the chat room to let me know what’s on your minds.
Tune in to KMRL Mojo Radio Live at 6:00pm Eastern/3:00pm Pacific in the US, which is 11:00pm in the UK & midnight in Western Europe, to hear all this and more. While you’re at it, come into the KMRL Chatroom and let me know what you think, or to just say hi. You can simply click on the previous two blue links in this paragraph to go to the KMRL Radio Player and Chat Room respectively, or go to http://www.MojoRadioLive.com