There’s something truly deplorable about this modern fixation with ‘quality’. And I don’t mean quality as opposed to quantity – I’m talking about the medium by way of which this quality/quantity is transmitted.
There are golden super deluxe editions to be released (Rufus Wainwright’s latest box set is leather-clad, no less), bass guitar to be enhanced, guitars overdubbed, remasters remastered, and – of course! – a new sumptuous set of headphones to be bought. Nothing too bad per se, but there’s something to Luke Haines’ recent remark about a good song being the same good song on a luxurious platinum CD reissue or a scratchy vinyl or even a floppy disc.
You know something has gone wrong when a young girl who’s into German techno starts complaining about the sound quality of her new ipod. And it is actually immaterial whether it is German techno, Mozart or maybe The Rolling Stones. It’s of course nice to get a good quality record, be it a physical or a digital copy, and obviously we all want that, but the A.D.D. generation gets distracted so easily they might end up forgetting what it was all about.
“The ear, too, must be trained, - as Woody Allen wrote in Getting Even, - for it is our most easily deceived organ and can be made to think it is a nose by bad placement of stereo speakers”.