[sic] magazine - spring 2013 spring 2013 - Page 10

continued from page 8 paralyzed with fear about going to this sho w. Obviously we weren’t cool enough to be there. “I am about to see a musical genius,” I thought. “What if the bouncer doesn’t let me in?” At the club, the ceiling w as low and covered in an orange shag-lik e carpet material. Inside, it w as hard to breathe and jam-packed with f ashionistas. People were smoking and ther e was a haze of “herbal essence” wafting around. There were two or three turntables set up in a corner and a machine that looked like an oversized calculator, but with with extra knobs and b uttons. Brad later told us: “That’s an Akai MPC. It’s kind of like a drum machine/MIDI sequencer. It allows him to sample, store, manipulate, and interface with sounds.” Rob and I nodded with w ay too m uch enthusiasm, pretending we understood the complexity and mechanics of being a DJ. When DJ Shadow appeared, the crowd gathered around. His first song began with an ethereal piano r iff, and then words were woven into it, samples of voices from TV shows, drums superimposed over the r iff. It w as dreamlike and hea vily atmospheric with c hoir parts fading in and out. The music was completely unique yet somehow intimately familiar. There was a lot of action on the tur ntables and on tha t oversized calculator. DJ Shadow made it look easy. No one r eally danced. This kind of m usic lent itself to a diffe rent type of m usic appreciation: subtle head bobbing, looking disinterested, or simply closing your eyes. One song began with some deep , funk-style drumming, joined b y a g roovy bass line tha t suddenly switched into a guitar solo befor e fading, leaving only ambient noise. The effect was unusual and it went on for several minutes, along with a string section that seemed to exist in slow motion, making the song a jewel of mood music, with all parts of it at very different tempos. I remember looking around to see both Rob and Brad’s heads bobbing away. All of our eyes met and we smiled at each other with an unspok en understanding and appreciation. We had stumb led upon an or iginal artist who created an atmosphere of musical perfection that would stick with us long after we left Montreal. – C.M. Añonuevo not just your dad’s old records by Dave McTavish VINYL Records—aka LPs, EPs, 12”, 7”, singles, albums, and vinyl—are back in style. And for good reason. Why? 1.They sound good even with the crackles and pops. 2.They have better album art, or at least bigger. 3.The retro factor. 4.There’s no such thing as an iRecord. 5.They encourage you to listen to alb ums with car e: one side at a time. (No 32Gb shuffle option available.) 6.If you’re a DJ, you can scratch and mix with records. They do have drawbacks, too, like the dr eaded skip. They’re also heavy and cumbersome, and easily damaged. But why do r ecords sound better? Put simply, they are analog. What is analog? Analog means that the sound signal doesn’t get converted into a digital signal for processing, by slicing the signal into a b unch of 1s and 0s, processing it with a computer chip, then converting it back to a voltage to drive your speakers. Analog cuts out the middleman: smooth wave from needle to speaker. Don’t get me wr ong, CDs sound good too , especially compared to poor quality r ecords (K-tel), played on a poorly set up record player. But modern vinyl is not what it used to be . Nowadays, when you pick up a quality record, you may get three records out of one album. Why? Well, when they make a record, a cutting tool actually cuts a groove in a “plate”, physically moving left and right. The more space it has to move from left to right, the more dynamic the sound. This is why my new Stand High Patrol record sounds way better than an old Xmas record with 12 songs on one side. Another good thing about new vinyl is when you buy the record it usually comes with a download card or CD in the sleeve.You can still put the album on your iPod and rock out on the mo ve. Let’s face it, portable record 9 [sic] spring 2013.indd 10 13-04-04 1:28 PM