for want of music

It is exactly the same with stereophonic effects. We are all obsessed (and not only in music) with high fidelity, obsessed by the quality of the musical ‘rendering’. On the console of our systems, armed with our tuners, our amplifiers and our speakers, we regulate the bass and the treble, we mix, we combine, we multiply the tracks, in search of an impeccable technique, an infallible music. I still remember a control room in a recording studio where the music, diffused on four tracks, came at once in four dimensions, and of a sudden seemed viscerally secreted in the interior, with a surreal relief… It was no longer music. Where is the degree of technological sophistication, where the threshold of ‘high fidelity’ beyond which music as it were disappears? For the problem of the disappearance of music is the same as that of history: it will not disappear for want of music, it will disappear in the perfection of its materiality, in its very own special effect. There is no longer judgment, nor aesthetic pleasure, it is the ecstasy of musicality...
(Jean Baudrillard, ‘The Year 2000 Will Not Happen’)

Sitting at my old house, where 'my' room now feels more like a fossilised teenagerhood exhibit or storage closet, listening to Amiina's new album Kurr. There's no sound system in this here, so I've got it spinning on the DVD player, which is connected via only one AV plug to a shitty old television set with a tinny monologue speaker. I lay on the bed, in quarter-light, hearing this TV courageously attempt - and inevitably fail - to hold the glassy pitch of Sogg, everything crackling and pulsating in all its imperfect materiality. It's a glorious experience; the songs come out more beautifully than ever before; suitably, as if played through a little ballerina music box. This grainy, burbling amplification presents its textures in tangible relief.

This is the supreme importance both of music as material body and affect, and of different amplification's bearing on that. Fuck fidelity. For listening to Kurr on what might be classified as the worst possible source was actually the most pleasurable musical events I've been through in a long time.

Amiina - Sogg

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