Author Topic: How the CD format compromise the music  (Read 12277 times)

Ekstasis

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How the CD format compromise the music
« on: December 05, 2008, 05:38:42 AM »
It seems to be very common the ambient genre, to fill the cd to exactly the 80 minute mark, involuntary...it is so obvious that the music want's to continue longer..I find it tragic that the music is not allowed to be as what it want to be...

Bill Binkelman

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2008, 09:22:22 AM »
With all due respect...if an ambient artist can't "say" what he/she wants to "say" in 80 (or even less) minutes, it may not be worth saying. Okay, that's a gross generalization, but most of my favorite ambient albums are sub-60 minute ones.

I suppose my opinion stems from the fact that, as a music reviewer, I vastly prefer ambient CDs clocking in at 60 minutes max. These 70+ minute magnum opuses are just too drawn out...this holds true especially for "infinite repeat" drone-type music. I mean, come on...if you're going to want the listener to repeat it anyway, why make it 75 minutes long in the first place?

This is just my two cents...again, no disrespect meant to anyone, artist or listener, who prefers longer recordings. But, if you're from my generation, you grew up listening to LPs that averaged under 20 minutes a side. Maybe that's why I feel like I do.

mgriffin

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2008, 09:26:19 AM »
More and more I prefer slightly shorter albums.

I think many artists are doing drone works that don't change much -- in other words, the same thing could be accomplished by making a 5 minute CD and instructing the listener to put the CD on repeat mode and just listen until they're tired of listening.  These artists seem to feel they're giving the listener a better deal by giving them 79:59 worth of the unchanging drone, rather than less.
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APK

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2008, 09:43:27 AM »
When listening to music I usually find that I want to hear something (or someone) different after about 65 minutes, so the current CD length is fine with me.

As I've said before, I do think there is some important satisfaction to listening to a whole album all the way through ... actually finishing it (I'm only talking about quality albums), and that becomes more difficult the longer the album. There are, sadly, only so many hours in the day.

Yes, there are exceptions ... like Eno's 10,000 pictures (or whatever its called) which I sometimes leave on all day for its pleasant morphing soundtrack. But even that is a craftily changing set of repeating samples, not a long single work.
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Seren

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2008, 10:08:27 AM »
Aah, I remember when 20 - 30 minutes was the maximum.

Like any art,the artist needs to use their discernment in order to find the right length for the music.

Somnium by Robert Rich is an example of very long playback for a specific purpose and i loved leaving it on while I slept....

I know the Amplexus and Penumbra series used much shorter length pieces and they held some very good music too.

Scott M2

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2008, 10:49:16 AM »
For pop/rock/jazz/electronic/etc... I prefer a shorter high-quality album to a high-quantity album.
Leave the padding out - it only dilutes the quality.

For ambient, if the quality is there, I prefer 60 minute CDs. As a human raised on planet Earth,
I've been raised into those cycles and I like the idea that for the next hour I'll be in a particular zone
as created by a particular artist. I'll usually be striving to create one hour dreamSTATE CDs
unless there's a reason otherwise - ie: a 45 minute live set.

That said - I do have an 8 Hour recording of our waveforms installation titled Longshore Drift in the can.
(As a 172kps mp3 it all fits uninterupted on a regular CDr.) The installation was designed to be infinitely
changing and so while it has a recognizable character, its always rearranging. We have previously
released a different (live Calrec Soundfield-microphone) recording from this installation titled
Between Realities which very-consciously is one hour long.  ;)
« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 11:53:39 AM by Scott M2 »

Ekstasis

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2008, 11:38:30 AM »
It does really depend on the music I agree...but I think that in many cases a 2cd album is the ideal..a longer playback time have a deeper impact on the listener....if the music manage to keep your attention for that long...

But with deep transcendental music you loose the perspective of time...the time gets relative towards the music...
sometimes it slows down time drastically..sometimes it speed up time...without you are awareness...
So when I am in a state beyond time and space, the time does matters not. 160 minutes might feel dead boring when I listen to it in a more superficial sense...but when I listen to it in bed with headphones and the mindfold to cover my eyes...the music takes me beyond time & space.

I feel this with many Steve Roach albums for, right in the last minutes of "immersion 2" the it gets very slow...it really feels like the music want to continue longer...

I am sure if the CD would allow longer playtime, I am sure we would see many more albums that goes beyond the 80 minutes....however..because of mainly financial reasons we choose mostly to keep the music on just one cd.
In other words we let the music and the art suffer just because of financial profit.. it is a tragedy...

The ambient market is such a niche market, a lot of audiophiles etc..  so I think it would be no problem if the artist did release on DVDa instead, people would buy it... I would certainly not mind...but I can understand why artists/label would mind..I think that is the main reason..cause it is more expensive to press DVDs then CD, and labels and artist cares about their money and profit a lot...




Wayne Higgins

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2008, 12:21:42 PM »
Putting a time limit on music is like putting a size limit on a painting.  Length limit on a novel.  Sorry, Milton, Paradise Lost is just too long.   Please. ::)
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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2008, 01:19:45 PM »
Nobody said there should be strict length limits on music.  But many people feel that recording artists feel like "Well, I've got 80 minutes here, so I'm gonna use it," when maybe the content doesn't merit such an extended run time.
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Bill Binkelman

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2008, 02:01:50 PM »
Nobody said there should be strict length limits on music.  But many people feel that recording artists feel like "Well, I've got 80 minutes here, so I'm gonna use it," when maybe the content doesn't merit such an extended run time.

Thanks. This sums up my feelings very well. And I would also add this that I think "fans" who think they "deserve" more than "x" minutes of music, no matter what the "quality" is because they're paying for it, are driving this issue to some degree. As William Munny said in Unforgiven, "Deserve's got nuthin' to do with it."

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2008, 02:06:32 PM »
The thing is, oenyaw says "sorry Milton, Paradise Lost is just too long," and sure, John Milton should be able to write something as long as he wants.  But the real problem is that everybody thinks they're John Milton.
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hdibrell

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2008, 02:17:57 PM »
Nobody said there should be strict length limits on music.  But many people feel that recording artists feel like "Well, I've got 80 minutes here, so I'm gonna use it," when maybe the content doesn't merit such an extended run time.
  That's it exactly. When I first had access to a lot of tracks I would think, "I've got 24 tracks , I need to use them all." Of course , I would often end up with muddy, too busy recordings.        Harry
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deepspace

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2008, 02:21:15 PM »
(claps at Mike's statement)

Well put.

So many Miltons.... ;)

"Avec Laudanum" by Stars of the Lid is only about 42 minutes long.  It's a wonderful piece of music, that would have been extended quite easily, but I like that they didn't do that.

"Music for Three Pianos" by Harold Budd is even shorter at about 25 minutes, if I'm not wrong.

Yeah, I do think ambient sometimes falls foul of over-extending its welcome, probably because it's so easy and enjoyable to make your work that little bit longer. 

But then.....that's one of the reason I find that I came to ambient music-  it disregards some very entrenched musical expectations-  I like that ambient artists feel less limited by the western-attention-span of 36 seconds or whatever it is.   I remember when I first started writing ambient-ish music, I listened back and thought 'whoa...I've got to chill out and stop rushing ideas!'   I was so used to writing pop songs that I found it hard to decompress and let the music kind of work by itself.


...oh look, there goes Chaucer! (waves)



« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 02:35:17 PM by deepspace »
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Altus

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2008, 07:24:50 PM »
Deepspace brings up a point that is just one of many reasons I love listening to and making ambient music.  There's no rules.  And that, um, rule can break all the rules.

As for a track or overall release being too long... if the soundspace that has been created is enjoyable, there's no such thing as "too long".  And I can't think of one instance where I felt a release was too long.  Am I just lucky, or forgiving?  ;D

Immersion bringing up Roach's "Immersion 2" reminded me of something I've been meaning to do for a long time.  My question to myself was, are the Immersion releases really just looping every minute or so?  I loaded up a few of the Immersion tracks and viewed them in a spectral frequency display for the answer.  Actually, I just needed to see the waveform once it loaded up and my question was answered.  There is constant change happening throughout all the Immersion releases.  I suspected that was the case, but now I know.   :D
Was anyone else wondering this?
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Ekstasis

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2008, 07:58:17 PM »
I still feel that many many albums which have an amazing concept usually deserve a 2cd release...
In my opinion you have to compromise a lot keep track of time etc... so everything fit in these 80 minutes...
If you have come up with a great concept I think you should take it to it's limit and expand the concept as much as you can while you still do not sacrifice quality and substance...

I absolutely hate artists that adds b-sides or bonus martial unrelated to the album/concept...just to fill the cd...M.Grassow is probably the master of this.

I feel that with many of Steve roach's releases is too dynamic... He usually always fills a cd to the max...
the music have way more power if it is more hypnotic and minimalistic..usually better to slow down the tempo a bit and make it less dynamic... if a part is 5 minutes it might just be way better if it is going on for 10 minutes imo...this is of course not a golden rule to follow...it is all relative... but all what I am saying..never let the limit of the CD format compromise your music...

Ekstasis

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2008, 08:08:59 PM »

Immersion bringing up Roach's "Immersion 2" reminded me of something I've been meaning to do for a long time.  My question to myself was, are the Immersion releases really just looping every minute or so?  I loaded up a few of the Immersion tracks and viewed them in a spectral frequency display for the answer.  Actually, I just needed to see the waveform once it loaded up and my question was answered.  There is constant change happening throughout all the Immersion releases.  I suspected that was the case, but now I know.   :D
Was anyone else wondering this?

Many are fooled to believe that it is just a loop, he press play and push the loop button..well people who think so are either deaf, or they do not listen deep enough.

When he compose the immersion series from what I know..he is always does it in real time... on the edge of time "without beginning without end..."..he have even said that it is the most hard and challenging music to compose...
Sine it require such intense focus. He said something similar in some interview I read...

deepspace

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2008, 11:55:36 PM »
That was a cool idea Altus- I've often wondered that about the immersion releases too.  Nice to know that it's not looped.  But then, I could imagine Steve looping much stuff.  In fact, I bet he probably played Structures from Silence in real time.  Can Loren or anyone confirm or deny that?  (You know, get Steve on the phone...)

By the way, is anyone here like me, and prefers immersion 1 and 3 greatly over immersion 2? 
I found immersion 2 to be too dissonant and not, um, immersive.  :)
I love 'First Light' on immersion three.....he touches the heavens with that one.  Boy are there some mighty big, soft sounds. 

by the way Altus, my kids LOVE "forgotten shores" from Water.  Just to give you an idea, they were both going around today singing that arpeggio from the main theme.  I laughed when I realised, and I asked Luka what it was, and he said "It's that song you play in the car daddy"

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deepspace

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2008, 11:56:19 PM »
Not that there's ANYTHING wrong with looping. ;)
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2008, 07:16:22 AM »
mgriffin
Quote
Nobody said there should be strict length limits on music.  But many people feel that recording artists feel like "Well, I've got 80 minutes here, so I'm gonna use it," when maybe the content doesn't merit such an extended run time.

I can agree with that.  (IMO) It's kind of like "Thursday Afternoon" is the perfect length, whereas "Neroli" seems too short, could go on for hours as far as I'm concerned.  Songs like "Build Me Up, Buttercup" seem to go on forever, when will this thing end?!?!?

Interesting how on the liner notes of "Thursday Afternoon", Eno "just as the 78-rpm record set the scene for the 3 minute song, so the compact disc will foster an interest among composers in long duration pieces like this one."  A topic on how the CD format compromises the music coming up 23 years later is interesting in itself.

Sam Shabrin's "Somnience" is 8 hours, designed for a purpose to assist people with sleep disorders.  Alternate versions of "Discrete Music" were made to be played in birthing centers to help calm the labour process (wether or not this actually took place, I'm not sure).  Phillip Glass's "Einstein on th Beach" was written with the reality in mind that people would not sit for 6 hours to watch an opera, but that they could move around as they pleased.  Indian music performances were shortened from 3+ hours to 1-2 hours years ago, as "the 3 hour performances were getting difficult to sit through."

So with all this spewing out of my feeble little mind, I wonder how much of our music duration acceptance perception is based not on the content of the music or intent of the composer as much as it is based on the time constraints placed as individuals in our society.  Days once broken up into hours are now broken up into minutes and seconds, perhaps nanoseconds.  I have become more relaxed recently with my return to vinyl as the home music listening media of choice.  A 45-60 minute cd would tend to place me into a state of "what can I do while this cd is on", whereas an album side enables me to "sit and listen and relax, because it is only 20 minutes."

Question:  "So, why do you do 6 hour mp3 discs, Oenyaw?
Reply:  "Hell, I dunno."
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Ekstasis

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Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2008, 07:52:18 AM »
We humans have a limited attention span yes. But it is all relative to the music, as I said above if you are in deep trance..you loose perspective on time...

I think there should be no limit of how long an actual album can be. No one force you to listen at the album in one take, you can always take a break etc...or listen to the rest when you feel like it...