Something old, something new. Technology is great, though, isn’t it?
Yeah. Hm. But.
It iiiiis, but it also tends to, well – make you its bitch.
If you’ve been making music for more than ten years, you’ll know what a bottomless pit it was to invest in a home studio not so long ago. At my (still relatively taught-skinned) age, you were in fact not only exactly the right age to have to pay the UK Poll Tax as a student, but also just old enough to have scraped together the money beyond your graduation Poll Tax Debt for a brand new reel-to-reel eight track – about twenty minutes before digital became good enough and cheap enough to take to the bosom of your amateur studio.
There was no Undo in my day. …And I know, >sigh< it shows.Making it aside, listening to it is an even bigger chance for technology to pimp. I swore at the time that I'd never buy any music albums on cassette. (Oh for pete's sake don't laugh; how am I supposed to give this straight faced history lecture if you keep pointing at my sideburns? Cassettes really did exist and yes we managed to live back then.) Yet, as a steeowdent, away from the bulky homliness of my second hand hi-fi cupboard, I had no way of playing LPs... (What now? What about my 'rationing card'? ...No I did not Dig For Victory. Blighter.)
The point I’m making, sounding considerably older than I look – no, really – is that technology makes you buy your own stuff again. And possibly again. There are old gems on LP and even cassette (because it’s groovy, okay?) that I may have to purchase again for the modern world.
To this end, I recently rediscovered something. My teenage years were wallpapered sonically with various electronic bleeps and wooshes but for a long while it was dominated by one particular collection of second-hand LPs from the late seventies – Tangerine Dream.
Well, this week, thanks to the good people of Amazon, I have been rediscovering what it felt like to be 17 and driving for hours in a dangerously old car to see some girl or other. A particular girl, in fact. And now it’s our car, in fact. And it’s a bit better. And we live in the same town these days.
It was inspired by catching a moment or two of Risky Business late one night. We smiled and stayed up a little longer to marvel at Tom Cruise’s diminutive youth. But I found myself taking worryingly more notice of the reeeeally cool bit from Force Majeure playing over the top than of the fact that Rebecca Demornay had just slipped her dress off.Just how old am I feeling? I’d like to say this was actually down to moral fibre – but it had more to do with air drums. The point is, I went to bed remembering how The Dream Is Always The Same and Love On A Real Train are classic examples of Tange’ at their height – and how much this stuff lit my fire to make music with bleeps in it. I knew the band’s albums inside and out (well, as many as any human could collect, anyway) and hearing them again – I started with Dream Sequence – was weirdly nice to hook up with old friends.
But you know what? Creatively, it’s not a great idea to look backwards. Not sure there’s been a time with more creativity going on around the world of music; I think I want to get back into today. And possibly even tomorrow.So I took the plunge and bought an iPod. Yes, I know, yeeeeeeeeears later than the rest of humanity. There are people who’s governments still can’t plumb in a water supply who start the long walk to the municiple tap with a shuffle. Hardly needed one, did I? I’m at home all day or in the car all day – these are things that come with music-making devices built in. But it’s shiny and nice and I’ve mainly just stroked it and rubbed it with a soft cloth to get off the instant fingerprints.Thing is. Yeah. Will it ever let me out again, or am I condemned in manner of greek mythology to forever be loading my album collection onto the damned thing? And am I supposed to re-buy all my albums, so I can have the album artwork appear on the screen?