There is a resurgence of artists who are ditching digital in favor of the original analog technology. Analog still feels really good.
Many people artistically mount favorite albums, in their original covers, in frames on the wall. Carefully chosen to be a collection, much the way a gallery owner might choose which paintings to hang together.
We have all the music converted to MP3 files, and listen to it digitally, but the album covers remain something of real value. Why is that?
“Even though we’re living in the days of digital, there are still many young, emerging artists who love old media with a sense of nostalgia that sometimes borders on fetishism – especially for equipment they’ve often never used,” writes Yanto Browning in “Why Does Analogue Still Feel Good in a Digital World?”
Browning notes that, while most of the film, photography and music industries moved to digital tools, there is still a love and respect for their analog media counterparts.
“Artists such as Jack White, with his last record being made on a 1960s Neve console and vintage 8-track tape machine, are inspirational to this new generation and the growth of cassette-based record labels has surprised a lot of people in the industry who considered the domestic analogue format long dead,” he argues.
Part of the charm in analog is what Browning refers to as “nonlinearities,” the distortions that come along with translating real life into analog recordings. And many artists find the “too clean” output of digital to be missing something in that translation.
“It’s not so much that the new digital tools can’t do the job properly; it’s more that they do the job too well. We miss the fuzziness, blurriness and saturation that analogue can give us, but need the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of digital formats,” he says.
Consumers seems to agree on some level, as vinyl records sales are rising, and some film directors choose to work on film due to the limits it imposes and the sense of scarcity and urgency it imparts.
And those album covers will continue to look great on the family room wall, calling to mind the hours spent poring over liner notes with the headphones on.