In Michael McCall's article about Pro Tools (Cover Story, June 10), Ed Pettersen's sidebar asks the question, "When does the music stop being real?"
Ever since Les Paul conceived of the multitrack recorder in the mid- 1940s, recorded music has basically been a lie. Some may see these innovations as a way of cheating, but most of us experience them as new creative freedoms that evolve the art form. Is not Brian Wilson's triple-tracked voice on all The Beach Boys' recordings a sort of lie? Yet this is a huge element by which we identify him.
A friend said to me the other day, "You know, George Lucas didn't really travel to outer space to shoot Star Wars." And I'm certain that the emotional connection I felt with E.T. at age 10 was real, even though I knew damn well he was just a puppet.
It's all the same. These are the tools of the trade. Let it go and enjoy the music.
Isn't it ironic that the Scene printed Michael McCall's expose on Pro Tools and pitchy country stars during the week of the CMA Music Festival (Cover Story, June 10)? Pretty Grinchy. The Grinch who stole Fan Fair?
It was a revelation when the multitrack recorder replaced everyone playing in a studio at the same time and a revelation when digital multitracks and computer-based DAWs (which is what Pro Tools really is) put the same sounds in the hands of small labels and artists who hadn't a prayer of accessing the large expensive major label studios. We're in the midst of a technological revolution, and the pieces haven't come together again yet.
With country joining rock and urban music in offering pretty people (who may or may not sing) in videos, I'm reminded of something the late, great Frank Zappa said: "If you're functioning in a visual medium, you're going to do things that look good rather than sound good."
According to everything I've read and been told concerning the pitch effect on the Cher recording, it had nothing to do with Pro Tools or Auto Tune (Cover Story, June 10). While it was probably edited and possibly mixed from a computer, according to several online recording forums, the effect was created using samplers and other hardware. And it really doesn't compare to the overall theme of your article. It was an obvious and blatant effect, intended as a gimmick rather than to correct a performance.
While you tried to be diplomatic with your article, too many "purists" blame the stale music on the charts today on a piece of recording gear. Engineers have had to correct or mask pitch and performance problems long before computers were commonplace by using tape editing, track comping (combining the best sections of several takes into one), double tracking and outboard units called "harmonizers." Computers have made it easier, but they didn't invent it. It's been the marketing gurus that have taken the soul and the art out of the industry, force-feeding the public, carbon-copied, assembly line artists. Sure, there are always a few exceptions. But overall, how much depth, feeling and soul can you expect from an industry full of 16-year-old has-beens who have spent more of their young lives in the gym than performing?
The equipment used to that end is simply a set of tools. Maybe for your next article you should explore what's real or not on the magazine covers at the supermarket checkout stand. I don't hear anyone blaming all the nip and tuck "airbrushing" as being the fault of Photoshop.
I really couldn't care less about your views on state tax deductibility ("Win This One for the Gipper," June 10). I do care, however, about your referring to the issue as "as dead at the moment as, well, Ronald Reagan." I found this reference to be extremely disrespectful, distasteful, offensive and crass. Republican or Democrat, tax cutter or not, Reagan was still the president of the United States of America and deserves to be respected. He hadn't even been buried when your rag hit the newsstands, and I can't believe you were unable to come up with a more creative metaphor. How pitiful.
I would like to thank the Scene for being the only news source I'm aware of that gave the passing of Ronald Reagan exactly the appropriate coverage that event warranted (News Briefly, June 10).
Roger A. Spencer
After reading the article about me in last week's Scene ("The People Vs. Karen Hoff," June 10), I immediately sat down and cried. When I first walked into East Nashville almost 20 years ago as a new real estate agent, I knew this was the area I wanted to spend my career working in. The area was comprised of boarding homes, beautiful Victorians and bungalows needing repair and rehab. It also had a group of urban pioneers working hard to change the reputation of the area and older folks who believed the area would get better. I moved into the neighborhood when I was pregnant with my third child, Forrest, in the fall of 1991. My husband and I moved into a fixer-upper duplex at 501 N. 16th Street that had been used as a lower income rental and had roaches nearly the size of my fist. We stripped seven layers of wallpaper, pulled carpet stapled to the hardwood floors without a padding, and lived with our project for five years. I'm writing this to explain my love and passion for selling the homes in East Nashville to people who will love and restore them to their former glory.
Over the years, I have met and worked with thousands of families and friends who shared the same dream for the beautiful homes here and the revitalization of this area. When I bought the house on 1105 Holly Street, my original intent was to save the structure and return it to its former grandeur. As I went along, I fell in love with the house and enjoyed being surrounded by cool, trendy commercial businesses. I have Bongo Java in my backyard, Beyond the Edge four houses down and Red Wagon less than a block away. After pouring my life savings into this home, I learned there might be a problem with obtaining my commercial usage permit.
Thanks to all the people who have called and e-mailed me with support and love. You do not know how much this has meant to me. Thank you to my only residential neighbor who was proud to be the first signature on my petition. She said she felt so much safer now that we are next door. My attorney is currently working out this situation for me, but in the end I will do as I have always done, and that is to honor what is best for East Nashville.
Concerning "The People Vs. Karen Hoff" (June 10), the whole situation can probably be summed up in one word: greed. Or maybe it can be attributed to, as my Dad was fond of saying, someone "getting too big for their britches." I think perhaps a little of both.
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