Technology and music – always a good thing?

Technology for technology's sake?

I’m looking forward to releasing a great interview I did yesterday with guitar guru, Mike Murphy. He was in the US, I was in England. We spoke to each other via the miracle of Skype. The sound was clear and there was only a slight lag – as you will hear.

This is another example of how technology has revolutionised communications – I couldn’t have done this interview at all only a few years ago.

However, is technology always positive ? Does music always benefit from the latest in technology?

Wood and cat gut or iPad and Animoog?

When Yes recorded their earliest albums, music recording technology was at a comparatively early stage – and so was instrument technology. Of course, all musical instruments are products of the current state of technology and always have been. A Stradivarius violin was ‘the latest thing’ in the 1680s – it was the Animoog iPad app of its day.

However, it sometimes seems to me that more technology can mean less creativity, less need to innovate. I remember hiring the first video camera I ad ever seen when I was about 17 years old. It had no zoom function so to make the film interesting, I had to create the angles and simulate the zoom myself. The result was a slightly bizarre but highly-creative, interesting movie. I wonder if the same is true with studio technology?

I’m no musical Luddite…am I?

Clearly, something like 90125 would not have been possible without the creative use of the latest technology (and the involvement of a genius producer like Trevor Horn) but when it’s possible to create any effect you like easily and quickly in the studio, do musicians come to rely too much on this and too little on their own musicianship and flair?

What about all those ‘manufactured’ acts through the last 30 years, culminating in the X-factor production line – without technology would this be possible – and would it be a good thing or a bad thing?

Let me know what you think.

Creative Commons image credit – iEEEj

Episode 5 – ‘Close to the Edge’

The fifth episode of the Yes Music Podcast featuring the fifth album, ‘Close to the Edge’.

Close to the Edge CD and vinyl
Vinyl purchased circa. 1989, CD circa. 2005 (click to enlarge)
  • Is this the classic Progressive rock album?
  • Are there any classical music parallels to be found here?
  • What gives the music its ‘hook’?

Listen and see if you agree with me then let me know by leaving a comment or contacting me via the different routes on the right hand side!

Continue reading “Episode 5 – ‘Close to the Edge’”

Announcing new Yes Music Podcast interview specials

Step up to the mic

I’m really enjoying the weekly exploration of Yes albums and I hope you are too!

In between these episodes, I’m also going to start doing a few interview specials. This is because I know there are many people out there who know more than me about aspects of Yes and have different perspectives. I’d like to hear what they have to say and also share this with you.

So I’m in the process of organising Skype chats with some very interesting folk who will make fascinating guests. Here’s a flavour of what’s on its way:

  • A Yes fan guitar teacher with lots to say about Yes guitarists and their special styles
  • A Yes fan prog rock musician
  • A Yes fan prog rock website owner and ‘3rd cousin of Yes’
  • Several others!

If you have a story to tell, why not get in touch? In the meantime, watch this space for some great conversations…coming soon.

Creative Commons image credit: JoshSemans

Episode 4 – ‘Fragile’

The fourth episode of the Yes Music Podcast featuring the fourth album, ‘Fragile’.

  • Fragile CD and vinylWhat difference does the arrival of Rick Wakeman make?
  • Is Fragile really an iconic masterpiece?
  • How good are the solo experiments?

Listen and see if you agree with me then let me know by leaving a comment or contacting me via the different routes on the right hand side!

Continue reading “Episode 4 – ‘Fragile’”

Please vote for the Yes Music Podcast

Wow. A kind listener to the Yes Music Podcast has nominated it for a European Podcast Award!

I’m amazed. I’ve only done 3 episodes so just to get nominated is fantastic. This confirms what I already knew –

You, the Yes Music Podcast audience are the best!

If everyone who listens or visits the website votes for the show, who knows how we could get on? Please ask your friends to vote as well – and get them to listen, of course!

Use the link on the image above or the link below which I have made nice and easy to remember:

Closing date – end of November 2011

Thanks so much everyone!