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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

2 replies on “Technology and music – always a good thing?”

Yeah Tech is OK.

Thomas Dolby – She Blinded Me With Science

Another great episode btw. You know I really think the fact that those people who had been Yes fans for the whole ride were like Dead Heads back in our day, cause some of the Acceptance issues. It was as if the Band were attempting to move from it’s roots a bit. Of course in 1978, Johnny Rotten was hating Pink Floyd and John Travolta was dancing. It was a different time. Rick liked the UFO stuff Btw.

Keep up the outstanding work.

I’ll certainly keep it up – thanks so much. It’s great to know you are listening and enjoying – and thanks for that link!

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