Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Feist and the Lingering Moment of Experience



In The Record Effect, a recent New Yorker article on the dehumanization of music through advances in recording technology, Alex Ross states, "Twenty years ago, the American composer Benjamin Boretz wrote, “In music, as in everything, the disappearing moment of experience is the firmest reality.” The paradox of recording is that it can preserve forever those disappearing moments of sound but never the spark of humanity that generates them."

Also, "Modern urban environments are often so chaotic, soulless, or ugly that I’m grateful for the humanizing touch of electronics. But I want to be aware of technology’s effects, positive and negative. For music to remain vital, recordings have to exist in balance with live performance, and, these days, live performance is by far the smaller part of the equation..."

KEXP and KCRW (see sidebar) are two stations who are helping to balance that equation, broadcasting live in-studio performances over the internet. KCRW even lets us watch the performances as they occur.

Yesterday KCRW entreated us with the live, breathing dimension of the Canadian artist that is Feist. Her performance shone with that spark of humanity that can be lacking in those perfect studio recordings that are often lauded for their "stellar production." It was as close to being in the room with her as you can get. (Listen, Watch)

From that show, here's her opening song, her version of Ron Sexsmith's Secret Heart (mp3), from Let it Die.

Too bad KCRW is in danger of extinction.

4 comments:

thephoenixnyc said...

Wow, that is some really innovative stuff for radio. Ironically we get NO innovation in NY because each 1/10 of a rating point is worth millions.

Canowine said...

Same here in D.C. That's why HFS went Latino. If I want to listen to good radio, I have to save 128K internet streams and listen to them later.

Anonymous said...

she sounded alright on KCRW, even with a cold. But didn't Joni Mitchell do that stuff (better) 30 years ago? KCRW does have some incredible artists play live in studio on Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Canowine said...

anon - that's exactly what I'm talking about - that human element! Joni is immortal, yes, but this isn't a competition...just because the Dylans and Mitchells did it better when it might have mattered more doesn't mean that the new kids aren't worth listening to.