As you might, by now, have heard, Alex Ross has a new book. It’s called Listen To This, and the cover makes your eyes go funny.
The chapter on music technology (“Infernal Machines”) might just be the only sensible thing I’ve ever read on the subject. He avoids the temptation to make overblown pronouncements about the future of recording, pointing out that the same things get said every time anybody threatens to change anything. It should be required reading for anybody who plans to…
a) …proclaim that a new format is indistinguishable from a live performance.
b) …proclaim that the old format was much warmer and more lifelike.
c) …proclaim that technology has ruined music.
d) …proclaim that technology will save music.
e) …bore me senseless in meetings with simplistic and nostalgic nonsense about how fantastic everything was before my generation came along.
The rest of the book is about music, and it’s just the kind of scholarly and engaging enterprise that you might expect from Alex’s work. If you like his blog, you’ll love it.
You can probably download some sort of newfangled ebook too, although I recommend getting the hardcover. People with superior aesthetic sensibilities will know that words this good can only be appreciated in an analog format. The paper pages are warmer and more lifelike than the Kindle which, along with its Satanic bedfellow the iPad, are conspiring to destroy publishing as we know it! Damn you, Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos!! There is pulp on your hands!!! In ten years, there will be no books and it will all be your fault!!!! Mark my hysterical words!!!!!
Ok. That’s enough.