July 03, 2005

Music Is the Scandinavian Coastline

Music is the Scandinavian coastline, though it is more precise to say that recorded sound is the Scandinavian coastline, surrounded not by silence but by a sea of static.

It has nothing to do with refined sensibilities. When people tell me that they donít hear much difference between ďCD qualityĒ and MPEG compression, or between 256kbps and default 128, I know by this that they donít listen very loud. From orbit, in a true school of quietude, the coastline is smooth, forming clean lines and elegantly contained arcs. As one boosts the volume, like cranking a zoom, the edges start to show their cracks and crumblings, fjords and inlets, static crackling into the open spaces.

Iím all for compression, because Iím all for theft. But Iíd happily keep 130 stolen songs on my shuffle rather than the promised 240, so I can take the volume to full. Even then itís not loud enough. It never was.

Posted by jane at July 3, 2005 10:10 AM | TrackBack