27 June 2006

Wire: Dusted Magazine

Cited as it was for pretension, I still check out Dusted Magazine while I'm beginning my day. The best part of waking up is reading new record reviews, but Folgers in my cup comes in a close second. (Black as midnight on a moonless night.) Today, Dusted has an article (commercial?) for Wire's boxset, 1977-1979.
The mastering far exceeds both the original vinyl and the first CD versions that Restless Records put out a decade and a half ago for presence and depth; they sound positively luxurious, and if you’re not the kind of person who stopped playing their stereo when they bought their iPod, you’ll be able to hear and savor the difference.

I'm the kind of person who stopped playing his stereo pretty much as soon as I saw my first iPod. Not that I ever had that great of a stereo. What's the big deal about not listening to a proper hi-fi? My first intellectual hero, an English professor in college, was a huge jazz fanatic. He more or less turned me on to jazz. He gave students work-study jobs to catalog his cd collection. (It was large enough for several semesters' worth of work.)

He's a big fan of Cadence, who don't compress the audio on their cds at all. At least that's what he said. He refused to use LPs for one reason or another; I think it was mostly an emotional thing. One time when he was in college there was a big house party at his.. uh house, and he ended up running off with some girl for a few weeks. When he returned, all his records were stolen. Anyway.

He has tons of cds and a nice tube pre-amp and a tube amp and large, grave-looking speakers. A local upstate NY artisan handcrafted out of pine and cherry his massive cd cabinets. He's still one of my heroes, in a manner of speaking. But I never want to have that much stuff. What's the big deal with buying an album, ripping it and selling it to your local used record shop? It saves you waste/space and it passes on new music to other people. I move a lot and I'd rather not bring along a few hundred pounds of plastic--cases and discs--in addition to hi-fi equipment. I have my iPod, my speakers and my headphones. (Well, I have a computer, as well.)

I could be prejudiced by this missive, apparently by an audio engineer. Another audiophile-type line of thought is offered by these two posts, Imperfect Sound Forever (from Stylus Magazine) and its sequel. I know this misses the point somewhat of the article, but the same Stylus author wrote a Top 10 Things I Hate About CDs piece. He could preclude the frustration by chucking his discs. (Which is not to say that I don't share a lot of his frustrations; it's a close-to-home-type article--and it's funny.)