|I spent 6 hours last night at the house of the world's most recognized authority on the history of the recording industry. We listened to about 25 78s on his old Gramophone, made in 1905. He even pulled out an Edison record from the 1890's, and some Pathe stuff from the early 20th century, in the original (almost completely disintegrated) sleeves. Holding these things in my hand was incredible. We proceeded to listen through the history of recorded music. We heard British songs (he's British) about war rationing during both World Wars, cabaret pieces from the early 30's poking fun at "Schikelgruber", the only surviving recording of a real castrato, the first recorded jazz, original Reginal Kell recordings of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, and more. |
All that, and then we moved to LPs. His system is not a "good" one. B&W monitors, at least 20 years old sitting on the ground, some old technics electronics and turntable. And through this system, I experienced the most emotional powerful evening of music in all my 21 years. Hearing these historic recordings through the type of hardware that they were originally meant to be played on was a truly spiritual experience. It renewed my appreciation of music's representation of the human condition, and connected me in some totally new way with social history of the 20th century.
I had heard much of some of this music on digital transfers before, and it never felt like this.
We need digital to play back much of the excellent (and not so excellent) music of the last 20 years. For everything else, we have analog.