Changing Formats – Vinyl, Tape, Digital

I have always loved music, rock n roll, anything really interesting, sincere, sexy music and a deep appreciation for those who make it.

What I do not like are the regular innovations that give industries new material to pedal. Planned obsolescence –>Yuck.

What was wrong with vinyl? There is nothing like the sound of it pouring through large speakers filling a room. Being bathed in sweet, warm sound had been one of the great pleasures of my life.

In the 80’s,I was forced to move off vinyl and onto cassette tapes. I resisted as long as I could. A turntable and a cassette player were required to hear my complete catalog. Too much stuff.

Yes, records are heavy, they take up space but the art and info is so, so superior. I could whine all day about cha cha cha changes. Sometimes you just have to yield and wait for the creamy versions to return.

Come the late 90s, I’ll admit I was fully committed to the short glorious dawn of Napster.  I was gladly dealing in digital. Yes, I know that musicians sometime lost money but when big changes rumble though your time you gotta hold on tight.

Poverty stricken, then, I drooled at the thought of an endless supply of music.

Finding Napster was just like that scene in the Shirley Temple movie, The Little Princess. A  well-off child is reduced to a tattered, perpetually hungry scullery maid by a cruel boarding school mistress after her father’s apparent death. Shirley is banished to the attic  to live with another  neglected orphan. One Christmas morning they wake to find sumptuous fur-trimmed robes, warm slippers and a table full of beautiful food.

Cesar Romero, playing the handsome, wealthy and empathetic East Indian man  who lives next door to the boarding school,  is their secret benefactor. this picture of Cesar is actually from the film Wee Willie Winkie. He looks as fab as ever.

Napster made me a pirate desperate for treasure. With my measly 56k internet connection it was a full-time enterprise. It was a blessed enterprise, coinciding with my Jeff Buckley mania. I captured so many bootleg shows.  Napster fed my obsessions. Thanks Sean Fanning.

Mountains of  free bread and cheese are manna from heaven to the starving, ill-gotten or not. The question of “how”, “who” is shoved aside until after the goods have been devoured.

“I ain’t no monument to justice.”

Now the magic of technology will allow me to  take hundreds of seldom played cassette tapes and convert them to a digital format. At least I’m hoping so. It was the cheapest solution involving the fewest elements. I’ll probably lose sound quality but  it’s simple and time’s a wasting.

I have so many good things on tape. Now I will be able to put them on CD and play them in the car or in my kitchen work space. All my cassette player/boom box combo have bitten the dust. They were space hogs anyway. Adieu, old technology.

I think I’ll make art out of the old material.

 

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2 Responses to “Changing Formats – Vinyl, Tape, Digital”

  1. george cox Says:

    Conrad, it was leaving Laguna for Santa Barbara that you and I both unloaded the vynal and switched to tape, a sorry day as I recall the sweet LPs you and I had in our collections.I have since switched back to vynal with a nice retro Marantz reciever and big ole Klipch speakers. At the thrift stores I find excellent lps, such as the concert for bangla desh unplayed for $ a disk, not bad .

    • Ah, concert for bangla desh. Good score. I have and old tuner and a turntable and some really nice LPs, too. Trips south to the bay give me a chance to get to Amoeba to buy freshly pressed vinyl.

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