Analog vs Digital

I heard on the radio today that Polaroid will be putting it’s old film back on the market for vintage Polaroid cameras.? This weekend I put an old school 35mm film in my 1970-something Pentax to get back to the analog world.? It seems that Tom Waits is putting out all his stuff on vinyl these days.? Is there an analog counter-revolution afoot???

Probably not but I couldn’t resist putting down a sentence that contained ‘counter-revolution’ and ‘afoot’ in it.? Thank you for indulging.? Having said that, there have always been the die-hards that believe that analog has and will always have more warmth and feel to it.? I have to admit that in my never-ending quest for musical and recording satisfaction, I’ve been swayed to think like an ‘analogist’ as of late.? Doesn’t it make sense that converting sound waves into and out of ones and zeros will take some of the soul out of it??

In analog those waves are represented physically all the way through the process.? Whether it’s electrical wires or magnetic tape.? Others will say of course that if the music itself has soul and works then the medium is (almost) irrelevant.? I’ve tried to do some empirical research to see if some of my favorite and most listened to albums were recorded analog or digital, but I realize it’s not an easy task.?

From 1990 and on (approx.) it’s hard to tell which is which.? Not every recording makes a note of the medium used.? We used to have AAD (DDD, ADD, etc…) coding on CD’s, but that isn’t used much anymore.?

By the way, those letters represent:

  1. the medium on which the original tracking is done,
  2. the medium on which the tracks were mixed, and
  3. the medium on which the mastering is done (I think!).

My list of some favorite albums? of the last 20 yrs (below) seems to be more towards the side of analog tracking but I am missing too much info to make a real call.? As with everything else in music in art, I suppose that one has to try a million different things and ultimately go with what feels best.

Some favourite albums of the last 20 years

  • A Meeting by the River – Ry Cooder and V.M. Bhatt – 1993 – Analog
  • Not All Who Wander are Lost – Chris Thile – 2001 – Digital (I think….gotta check)
  • Nashville – Bill Frisell – 1996 – ?
  • Intercontinentals – Bill Frisell – 2004 – ?
  • Shed Your Skin – Jacques Lussier Band -? 1992 – Analog
  • For Him and the Girls – Hawksley Workman – 2002? – Analog

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