Friday, January 13, 2012

mind blank, no thinking - this stuff works!

Wow. Stupidity can be scary. It's one of the things that I find truly frightening, surrounded daily as I am by all this "horror" stuff. I won't name names, but in the course of trading (happens a lot when you run a small record label), I've come in contact with people who cannot write English, don't understand punctuation and its usage, and generally cannot read Web sites, look at links and absorb information. Last night, when I should have been paying better attention to segues and such, I was instead answering and reading emails from a guy who seemed to have a pre-middle-school education. Now THAT is horror! Amazing that these people can also navigate the world of getting a few recordings into the marketplace, as I often find it daunting myself. Maybe the numbskulls of this world truly have a leg up, functioning-wise. Something to consider. Here I was, all these years, thinking that logic and easy information absorption, a good vocabulary and writing skills, were advantages to making it in this world, clearly, I was somewhat mistaken. Still, wow, this guy must have asked me three or four times which of Prison Tatt's releases were tapes, where one look at the Web site would have made it clear that none of them are. Sorry—I know it's absolutely poisonous to be bitching all the time as I do, but I grew up in this world with expectations, and am only now realizing that they are a great detriment to a happy existence.

Despite this distraction, the show flowed like butter, and I had the great time that I always do.

While we're on the subject of releases, records and such, I've been thinking a lot about the absolute hatred that permeates the universe of noise music especially, for compact discs. Less so in metal. I personally have always just cared about music, being a voracious consumer of all types for my entire life. I always, as is the case with most music fanatics, considered vinyl to be the ultimate format, and I still do, but beyond this one caveat, really just want to have the music to listen to, and have never been particularly against one format or another. The anti-CD sentiment is rabid, and I truly struggle to understand it. I don't at all like jewel cases, disposable and easily broken packaging, that lends nothing positive to a CD release, but assuming CDs are packaged attractively, creatively—what truly is the problem? I'm not being facetious in the slightest, I really don't get it. If anything, CDs are an easy to use and store, high-fidelity music-delivery option, and where I can see the point of digital downloads being somewhat disposable, there are even mp3s that I searched long and hard for, and would be disappointed to lose. So please, in all seriousness, what is the beef at the core of the anti-CD backlash? (I expect some snark in response to this query, though I truly am seeking an insightful response that will broaden my understanding of this phenomenon.)

On the playlist this week, much praise for Cripta Oculta, a tape I acquired through the Seed Stock online store, the interest in which was also generated by Seed Stock's proprietor, RB, who was a guest DJ on The Castle last year. (Though the CO tape seems to be out of stock, the store is a great place to go for all your extreme, underground metal needs.) There was also praise for the Filth and Violence label, and the Nyrkki & Kyrpä II collection, and the several selections I played from tapes on the great Legion Blotan label (Rife, Axnaar, and Vanyar.) Castleheads are also (understandably) looking forward to Wretched Worst's appearance this year on the show on the Ides of March. I'm also in the midst of arranging a visit from Philippe Petit in April, and several other surprises.

As always, thanks for listening; click on the pic up top (the fallen Findlay) for access to the playlist and audio archives of this week's horrorcast™.


  1. To the point, aside from the whole digital vs. analogue debate in regards to fidelity and frequency response, CDs have become little more than containment vessels for MP3s. Once dumped to your computer/iPod, they're disposable. They sit in a box or on a shelf and tend to spend the rest of their days there. The CD is now just another 10 tracks in your iTunes, living completely removed from their packaging/imagery/information. If I'm going to buy a CD to make into MP3s, I'd be better off putting in the effort to just hunting down the MP3s directly, which looses the value of any impact of the packaging altogether. Listening to vinyl and tapes is a far more ritualistic act that requires active participation (flipping) as well as an active decision to listen. Tapes are especially great in this way as you are required to address the full length of the release to get to "The Goods", you pick up where you left off, etc. CDs do have their place though, usually under my cold beverage to keep from marking up the furniture; but in seriousness, releases/songs that require such fidelity, but go beyond the time constraints of the 20-minute-per-side vinyl medium.

  2. I should clarify that we've come to a point where this is the norm, not that it is right, and i need to really emphasize that. CDs should be listened to with the same ritualistic approach, but from what i see, younger folks do not own dedicated CD players, especially those in metropolitan areas. They have their computers to act as their CD player, as often these redundancies in technology do not warrant the doubled use of space, especially in somewhere like Manhattan. The laptop gives you the take anywhere get-up-and-go portability and in turn makes it the norm to listen to pieces thru smaller frequency-limited speakers, which further devalue the intent of the recorded medium. If they want to run thru their larger speakers they have tied to their turntables/tack decks, they often will use the line out of the computer, at which point, we're coming back to the MP3 issue above.

    1. For me personally, my mp3 collection consists of what I've downloaded, rather than rips of my purchased CD collection, and my CDs get played all the time, with the same ritualistic fervor as my LPs and tapes. It's all music to me. I don't receive compact discs and automatically rip the music to a computer or portable device, and I do own a dedicated, high-end Marantz CD player. Habitual differences in generational behavior?

  3. I can certainly see the argument for CDs simply being a digital-music file transport system, otherwise discarded once the music has been ripped elsewhere; it's just not something I typically do myself, as simply through downloading and peer-to-peer sharing, I have such an extensive music library already, I tend to keep the CD files on the CD, and use the disc for playback when desired. I do thank you, Anonymous, for presenting a perspective I hadn't previously considered. Hopefully, others will join in the discussion.

  4. Any collection is a treat to it's beholder, be that tape, wax, disc, or file. People use "fetish-item" a lot in this debate (as though that's a bad thing to be called). I agree that plastic cases suck; digipack & sleeves being more nice & lp-like. It wasn't until the 'cd-r' divulged a plethora of imaginative, and limited-edition releases that I was truly accepting the discs (for a long time I preferred the lp with nice, larger artwork). A lot of releases were CD-only, therefore bought as such. Downloading is a great way to hear tunes, familiarize, but an mp3's quality is not as good as a CD (even at 320k), and thus loss-less formats exist. The modern players of files are not so up to speed with loss-less, and so you settle for the mp3 a lot -- to have the tracks on a small device. I recently attempted to play a CD on a CD-walkman and couldn't fit it in my pocket! Managing files ripped from CDs is fun; that you can delete things so easily (unlike an lp, tape, or cd), randomize, cross-fade, etc. Perhaps that's another can of worms, in it's destruction of the artists-original-vision...

  5. Speaking as someone who has to hold everything at arm's length to read, I miss my LPs.

  6. I am enjoying the commentary here. I can understand the cd as a tedious intermediary that is only used to get music onto one's computer; I am someone who has disposed of the great majority of those I once owned - the ones with very educational liner notes remain. I can think of things like cloud storage as being analogous to our collective consciousness of music - ultimately we have our most beloved sounds inside us, and take them everywhere, accessing them internally. This time-constrained, easily distracted creature finds it much easier to self-educate without having to go to the record store, happy to compensate the artists online for their work.

    Getting back to the original anti-cd question, anthropologically it seems like issuing one's work only on tape or vinyl, or deciding only to consume those things signals a certain level of commitment, a way of identifying oneself, a way of signaling within a community. Look, I have procured these devices to experience your work - I'm no casual consumer! Is it a form of elitism? I suspect generationally those who grew up with computing are much more of the and/both than the either/or.

    Not that the analog experience and the luxury of poring over a well-designed album jacket isn't wonderful...