March 3, 2021

Those nostalgic objects of musical desire | Culture

Those nostalgic objects of musical desire | Culture

Contrary to what is usually believed, the major labels were never against the digitalization of music. On the contrary: lacking in sentimentality, the multinationals were betting on the elimination of the physical object, vinyl or CD, since that meant dispensing with factories, warehouses, distributors, travelers. A business wet dream

Twenty years after the future knocked on the door in the form of Napster, the record industry is backing up on forced marches. Yes, digital music is here to stay, but economic realities also force us to resuscitate and strengthen the allegedly overcome media (up to It is intended a revival of the cassettes!). Now it's about making high-end products for baby boomers Y hipsters with fresh money: the vinyl record and, as a maximum object of desire, the expensive and voluminous box, which allows to sell classic recordings again, now with the addition of the discards of those sessions, the direct ones and all the complements -books, photos, posters- that fit.

They do not even need to do commercial tests. The potential public has been consuming this type of sound material for decades, through stamps for collectors, more or less legal. For companies, the beauty of the matter is that even the fans who own the pirated discs must now acquire the new official releases, since they are more complete, have better sound quality and look beautiful. They also propose a fidelity test: they cost an eye of the face.

Here there is no mercy. The loyal consumer of the Beatles has already acquired at least four incarnations of White album: the double vinyl, the first CD version, the remaster of 2009, the monaural edition … Now, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of its publication, the calls have been added Esher demos (unplugged models, registered at George Harrison's house) and three CDs containing essays, alternative takes, instrumental versions, jams spontaneous and hooligans. Is it fair to collect that work material as if they were finished works? Given the obvious answer, is the inflexible position of the two beatles survivors and the heirs of the deceased: they are justified in that, because of their ingenuity, they were scammed in the sixties and now they want to make amends. Faced with this unpleasant exploitation, it would be cruel today to remember the 1968 McCartney, saying that they had all the money they needed and that their new adventure, Apple Corps, would be "a kind of Western communism".

Obviously, everything played / sung by the Beatles has value for the student, the follower hardcore, the curious one But the truth is that those extra discs lack latching power. They may be heard once and they may come back to the box to stay there. And then, what are they for? They test the degree of our devotion. They comfort, since they theoretically clarify the mystery of the quartet's creative process. They calm down, since we know they are there, like the museums of pottery, of the suit, of the railway; It is not urgent to visit them.

Good habits

These boxes also celebrate an organic way of making music, today in the doldrums: we worked with all the musicians together, playing in the studio. They also remind us of the good habits of studios and record companies, which cataloged and stored all the tapes generated during a project. If you are wondering why they are not being edited box sets Similar to Spanish artists, here's the explanation. In Spain you can not do this type of archeology: the LPs were made quickly and running, with the aim of reaching 10 or 12 cuts, with no room to experiment. Apart, the models, the discards and even the production parts (covers, cookies) they were discarded as they moved from headquarters or new owners entered. With the digital era, they eliminated the cumbersome two-inch analog tapes. While the Fonogram studio in Madrid was being dismantled, Ricardo Pachón, producer of The legend of time, found the tape of the tests of Camarón with the Dolores group in a garbage container, lost among others destined for landfill.

For the record, that bureaucratic practice of keeping everything was not universal. In More Blood, More Tracks, the most recent volume of the Bootleg Series dylaniana, it is explained that everything recorded in the New Yorkers A & R Studios was conserved while, during the second stage of the elaboration of what would be Blood On The Tracks, In a modest study in Minneapolis, only the masters (finished versions) of the songs that were recorded there.

The desire for maximum tonnage translates into monsters like the box The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, that combines the predictable (mono and stereo versions, study remains, models, sessions for the BBC …) with carnality for vinyl fetishists: singles, the Swedish edition of the LP, etc. One suspects that the geniuses of marketing have taken the measure and know that, basically, we will be anxious to achieve everything they propose. Let it be known that almost all the releases here outlined have their economic synthesis, a double or triple CD that contains the essentials of each work. But in these territories you do not earn points exercising good sense.

Between fetishism and revelation


Electric Ladyland

Legacy / Sony

The summit of Hendrix in the studio, with its never sufficiently weighted Experience more illustrious friends in his wave. Added models, alternative shots, manuscripts, a live show and a documentary making of.


Complete Cuban Jam Sessions

Craft Recordings

For the first time the five famous records of downloads captured in the Panart study of Havana Batista, in nocturnal sessions, after the usual commitments of the musicians. Directed by Cachao, Niño Rivera, Fajardo and Julio Rodríguez.


The Girl from Chickasaw County


The search for feminine referents has led to the rescue of everything recorded by this peculiar southern singer-songwriter between 1967 and 1971. The oblivion suffered for decades is compensated with 75 unreleased tracks and interpretations made for the BBC.


Loving the alien


The "commercial stage" of Bowie began with an earthquake (Let's dance) and ended with a firecracker (Never let me down). This box gives density to that perverse trajectory with direct, remixes for the tracks and cinematographic commissions.


And justice for all

Blackened Recordings

Perhaps the pinnacle of creativity of the Californian group, combining scorching thrash metal with whims prog (and debatable decisions, how to minimize the bass). The deluxe edition incorporates models, provisional and direct mixes up to a total of 27 discs, including LPs, CDs and DVDs.


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