Friday, March 14, 2008

SXSW: Lou Reed Down on MP3s, Zoo Animals

As you probably know, the Advanced embrace technology. So that's why this article from Reuters surprised me:
Lou Reed is lashing out at new modes of audio technology, saying that "people have got to demand a higher standard" than current MP3 music files. The edgy rocker delivered the keynote speech at the South By Southwest Music Festival + Conference, which is underway in Austin, Texas.


In typically glib and dry-witted form throughout the wide-ranging 55-minute conversation, the bespectacled Reed bemoaned the current state of audio and other digital technologies, noting that "it's like the technology is taking us backwards. It's making it easier to make things worse.

"Here's our song reduced to a pin drop -- what, what, what?!" Reed explained. "It's like if no one knows any better or doesn't care, it's gonna stay on a really, really low level and people who like good sound are gonna be thought of as some kind of strange zoo animal."

He goes on to talk about hope for a better technology, so I guess he's just Advanced beyond MP3s and is ready for the next thing. One last bit:

During the session, Reed said he plans to stage the "Berlin" shows in Europe this summer but not in the United States. The "Berlin" concert concept "wasn't an audition to do more of these things" with any of his other albums, though he said 1992's "Magic and Loss" and 1978's "Street Hassle" would be good candidates if he did want to try it again.

Please, please do "Street Hassle"! And one last thing from his talk, this from the Dallas News:

"I have a B.A. in dope. I have a Ph.D. in soul."



esmo said...

good lou quote on there after the picture of moby and him

Unknown said...

I don't know. I have a bunch of the older Velvet stuff and some of his earlier solo stuff that sound better on 320k mp3's than the original lps or cd's. You can actually hear the layers of instruments and vocals. Current Digital is not as warm as the old lps nor does the lower end fill out well, I'd be the first to agree. I bet underneath his comments he really bemoans the loss of content control with today's immediate dispersal of mp3 digital downloads. On the upside, his work can easily reach interested new listeners instead of languishing in a museum or a 4.99 bin at Best Buy.

Unknown said...

CK on the money as usual.

Snoose Junction said...

The problem with MP3s is not the same as the digital vs analog problem. Both can be good. But 1) digital mastering took forever to catch up with itself to the point where CDs sound like anything other than cardboard most of the time and 2) yeah, 320k mp3s sound good, but not all mp3s are 320k. Flacs sound better. 24-bit digital sounds REALLY GOOD but isn't so accessible to most listeners - I would happily cut the length of the standard CD in half for the upgrade to 24-bit if that was what it took. Most people, it is true, probably do not notice or care and that is fine. What Lou is lamenting is that the people who design and sell the technology don't seem to care either. There have always been audiophiles - and Lou is seriously one - but more and more there isn't much that a tone freak can do about the state of things.