Do you expect musical perfection?

While free time is often a rarity, I’ve spent what little I’ve had the past few months working on an upcoming solo album. This will be my third one, and the recording process is laborious and slow (and still on-going), but part of that is because my process is somewhat old-school.

Yes, I’m still recording digitally (as opposed to a reel-to-reel analog tape), but I’m not using an arsenal of microphones, computer plug-ins or auto-tune. It’s a similar process I used to record my first two albums.

All of this got me thinking about modern music and listener expectations.

Much of what we hear on the radio and what is heavily promoted by record labels is heavily produced, very compressed and auto-tuned. It’s as close to perfection as you can get.

Gone are any signs of imperfection, no matter how slight they may be – sharp or flat notes, wavering voices or not-quite-perfectly-tuned instrument notes. Human voices have been converted to machine-sounding. I would say this has become the norm.

So is this now what the listener expects? Do you listen and expect perfection through technology? Or do you prefer music that doesn’t rely as much on technological perfection?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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2 thoughts on “Do you expect musical perfection?

  1. The over correction seems to be genre and market specific. For instance, “Xxx” major label puts out a record with Rick Rubin. They tune every note, and put every beat on the grid. They aren’t making art, they’re making product. Just as McDonalds does not make food; They make deadly filler. Then, a second tier of bands try and mimic the processed sound of their heroes. But, none of that matters to you or me or anyone with taste. We grow our own tomatoes, we cut our own hair and we make music that speaks to people like us. I don’t care about “Xxx” major label, or Rick Rubin, what they eat, what they wear; My vote is my dollar and I don’t buy what they’re selling. As music recording has become more democratized, there’s less need to focus on what the record plants are putting out. Instead, one needs only focus on their own craft, and the craft of those artists one admires. That’s the long answer; The short answer is simply, “If you don’t like it, turn it off and get back to work.”

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