New Adventures in Lo-Fi

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October 27, 2006 by cosmoakacitizensmith

I’m part of the generation that grew up minus iPods, MySpace and the ability to burn CDs easily.

If we wanted to share music with friends, we had to make compilation tapes.

Compilation tapes would bring together songs from a variety of different sources: vinyl, cassette or CD. The quality of the songs reproduced could vary considerably, as could the volumes. You’d hear one tune and it would be so quiet you’d have to turn it right up in order to listen to it properly. Then the next one would blare out really loudly.

You could also hear noises between the songs. For example, you might make out a bump from where the lid of the record player had been put down. Sometimes a record might even jump randomly, and this would be picked up on the cassette. Different types of hiss abounded too.

Putting together cassettes back then would therefore be a lot more engaging and ritualistic than making a compilation CD these days. You’d spend a lot of time trying to minimise these kind of problems. It wasn’t the same as dragging and dropping a load of tracks onto Nero or Window’s Media Player and pressing the “burn” button. It was a whole evening’s work…..!

But it was precisely this kind of lo fidelity reproduction that in my view gave compilation tapes their uniqueness and charm. I still have some from back in the day where if the same songs were given to me on CD blemish-free and with complete silence between the tracks, it wouldn’t convey anything like the feeling of the original cassette.

It’s for this and other reasons that I sometimes like to record my music in the same way. Bumps and hisses and mistakes abound but they are all part of the unique feeling!

And that’s about all I’m going to say to promote my new CD Home Thoughts From Abroad, which I have had back form the printers and you can order online at my MySpace site here and here at my website!!!!!


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