A meditation on what was lost-and on what is worth preserving-in the movement away from analog music and culture.
Although digital media have created new possibilities for music making and sharing, they have also given rise to new concerns. What do we lose in embracing the digital? Do streaming services discourage us from listening closely? In this book, musician Damon Krukowski uses the sound engineer's distinction between signal and noise to examine what we have lost as a technological culture, and to identify what is worth preserving.
Krukowski examines experiences from the production and consumption of music that have changed since the analog era-the disorientation of headphones, flattening of voice, silence of media, loudness of mastering, and manipulation of time-and employs them as a lens through which to consider digital culture. When music went digital through such streaming services as Napster and iTunes, it was reduced to signal only, stripped of its analog-era noise. But the analog and the digital need not exist in isolation from one another, Krukowski argue; noise can be as communicative as signal, conveying time, location, and space. The New Analog urges us to reconsider the role of noise in our increasingly digital lives, to appreciate its continued relevance, and to plug in without tuning out.
Damon Krukowski is a writer and musician. Author of The New Analog: Listening and Reconnecting in a Digital World, he has taught writing and sound (and writing about sound) at Harvard University. He was in the indie rock band Galaxie 500 and is currently one half of the folk-rock duo Damon & Naomi. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.