Anyone that has worked with me is aware of how little I am concerned with the genre or style of music I’m working on, listening to, etc. I don’t believe that good or bad music is tied to any specific genre, style, song structure, recording scenario, or format. I believe in the effectiveness of communicating your ideas, everything else be damned.
Perhaps I carry this opinion because of the position I’m in – working with different styles of music regularly and realizing that I can be equally moved by a folk song or a rap track. However, I doubt I’m alone in this. A lot of times we millennials (gross) get dubbed the “shuffle generation” as a result of growing up in the iPod era. Subsequently, we often get classified as having little patience for audio. Im often involved in conversations about how we don’t appreciate the ceremony of listening to a record and we have become scatterbrained consumers of audio as a result. For starters, thats simply not true. There is little greater than inhabiting and being engaged with a record from top to bottom. Secondly, stop lecturing me about the old times for the sake of nostalgia, you crotchety luddite. (I digress…)
Instead, I think the iPod, playlists, streaming services or whatever else makes us the “Shuffle Generation” has taught me (us) that good music is just good music- and that uniformity in listening is still important, but not necessary. I welcome the opportunity to hear a post punk guitar opus, a grimy rap track, and a folk song in sequence*- and I love what it continues to teach me about audio, art, and communication.
It teaches me that effective is effective. It doesn’t matter the style- it matters that its the right vehicle for you to communicate the ideas you have at the moment. It teaches me that no recording technique or style is better than the other. There is no chance that these recordings were all made in the same space, scenario, etc. and still are incredibly effective. (Talented people involved obviously.) You get to understand the sonic patterns of different eras, styles, and sounds and then take them or leave them as you see fit. We get to hear different recordings side by side and hear the possibilities, the options we have to be innovative, and the borders we can merge. I, for one, think that is nothing short of amazing.
I used to be dismissive or combative at being called part of the “shuffle generation” and now I feel like its something I’m proud to be a part of. Its making me a better engineer, a more open minded listener, and hopefully not nostalgic. Not a fan of nostalgia.
* Television’s “Marquee Moon”, Kanye West’s “On Sight”, Rufus Wainwright’s “One Man Guy”. I would have wanted to know if I was reading this.