“But ponder the process: You (we) go into the digital ether — probably after downloading a track or streaming a video of what we’re about to buy — and order some other person to mail us a piece of 1890s technology. In return, we give them digital payment information which they then use — working in that same newfangled ether — to make our digitally stored money numbers get smaller and theirs larger. All this high-tech action for an old-school piece of plastic.
Then there’s the phonograph technology itself, which is of course the epitome of analog: A needle runs along a groove cut into a piece of vinyl, then sends out a signal based on its tiny movements. Yet somehow this technology — which is older than airplanes, television, transistor radios, the modern map of Europe, women’s suffrage, and lots of other things we take for granted — is still the preferred way of listening to music for a lot of people. The Internet hasn’t changed shit — it just gets the records to our doorstep faster, and lets us buy ones the local shops don’t have.”
—from Ian S. Port, SF Weekly
A new app for Apple’s iPad called VinylLove is sort of like virtual reality: sort of realistic, but just fake enough to remind you why you dig real life in the first place. VinylLove is an app that displays your mp3’s “cover art” as something you can “flip” through in a pixelated “crate” (awwwww…), and even super-imposes crackles and pops onto your tracks as you play them to supposedly add depth to your listening experience. I have thousands of records, and though my threshold for such surface noise is probably higher than your average digitalphile, I don’t think that such noise is what creates the fabled analog warmth. My most satisfying record listening experiences lack any noticible extraneous noise. The whole thing smacks of a gimmick, like a New Kids on the Block pillowcase circa 1990. Besides, I like to flip through great big obsolete records… (not scroll down a screen).
Speaking of gimmicks… isn’t this mug (by Sunart) cute?