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The New Analog: Listening and Reconnecting in a Digital World
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The New Analog: Listening and Reconnecting in a Digital World

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  39 reviews
What John Berger did to ways of seeing, well-known indie musician Damon Krukowski does to ways of listening in this lively guide to the transition from analog to digital culture

Having made his name in the late 1980s as a member of the indie band Galaxie 500, Damon Krukowski has watched cultural life lurch from analog to digital. And as an artist who has weathered the tr

Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by The New Press
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M.L. Rio
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As both a writer and a vinyl junkie, I enjoyed the heck out of this. Krukowski uses the audio dichotomy of signal vs. noise to explain and explore how media—and the way we interact with it and the world around us—has changed since the shift from analog to digital. His analysis sits at the crossroads of curiosity and keen perception, likely to engage and intrigue even the most reluctant readers.
Ted Lehmann
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Damon Krukowski is a musician, poet, and publisher who has written a book exploring the ways that the move from analog recording and distribution of music to digital has effected the way in which music is experienced. In The New Analog:Listening and Reconnecting in a Digital World (The New Press, 2017, 224 pages, $24.95/15.48) he examines, in some detail, the history and development of transmitting both print and recorded versions of sound to make it available to those wishing to reproduce and h ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
I think it’s believed that music nerds often prefer vinyl or analog sound over digital. Like we’re purists somehow who hate change or anything new. And while that’s true to some extent, and those music nerds who swear by vinyl and analog exist by the thousands, I’ve always sides with the format or delivery system that is most accessible to people, the format that goes from the musician to the listener in the most convenient way. In that sense I have completely embraced the digital age and its mp ...more
Alex Leonard
Whilst there were a number of points in the book which I agree with, the overall tone came across as one who hates all things digital and refused to make any reference to the numerous advantages it offers. Numerous points are rehashed over and over or stretched beyond a reasonable point to apply them to other examples. Other points, such as the ones made about GPS, are laboured and feel quite irrelevant.

I agree that yes, when abused or misused, the digital world has its negatives, but this gener
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love the ideas presented in this book, and find myself thinking about them often.
Edward Sullivan
Lively but disorganized and often underdeveloped. The Revenge of Analog by David Sax is better.
TJ Wilson
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Elucidation for sure here.

I could say it right here: signal vs. noise. But Krukowski's concise words are needed to really put that into context and perspective.

This is a worthy book to read as we carry on with our smartphones and streaming services.

And, what's more, you will learn about sound. That's a good deal.
John Cooper
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Krukowski, whose work in Galaxie 500 I enjoyed, goes about his task of writing this book as if he were a professor stuck with a class of exceptionally dense students. He sprinkles his text with unnecessary italics, apparently to assist the challenged. He belabors trite points as if they were brilliant insights of his own. And his first analogy, about analog vs. digital type (page 4), is hogwash. Instead of getting "twice as bad, every eighteen months" in an inverse of Moore's Law, digital typogr ...more
Scott Holstad
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
This book is more than just a simple “back to vinyl” sermon, refreshingly. It’s a highly scientific and socio-psychological look at the history of recorded music, the transition from analog to digital, and what that means to people and society.

Damon Krukowski writes as a musician, music fan, and techno nerd, yet mixes this all together quite skillfully. He writes about context, signal, and noise in ways that will make sense to most readers.

Krukowski writes that people hear in stereo sound. That
Oct 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Like Krukowski's Ways of Hearing, this is a really a magazine article or pamphlet gussied up into a book. Its principal thesis is that digital sound (and digital media generally) removes noise from what we hear and presents us only with signal - that is, it removes what we think we don't want to hear and presents us only with what we do want to hear, and that this is dangerous, because what we think we don't want to hear can actually be very important for us to hear, and because, in the digital ...more
Michael Ritchie
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a bit all over the map, and many of the points the author makes could be developed in more detail, but it sure is an interesting read. Krukowski notes in the introduction that the reader may want to flip through rather than follow the page numbers, and though I read it straight through (in one sitting, I might add, which is rare for me), I can see that random perusing might be the way to go. His chief idea is to use the concepts of "signal" and "noise," both literally and metaphoric ...more
Phil Carroll
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an erudite but accessible discussion about existing in the digital world. Rejecting the binary lens of good vs. bad with the digital takeover of music consumption, Krukowski lends a musician's knowledge to the enduring value of analog in a digital world. His premise is that with many new revolutionary inventions, we shouldn't rush wholesale into the new medium (even though we have been rushed, so to speak). This rush necessarily destroys what it's replacing, and Krukowski does a phenomen ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Welp. Points for being in Galaxie 500 and for name checking Charles Simic - you have my attention. It appears the author has spent a lot of his time since the band wandering the halls of academia and recording studios, and the book takes some nice dives into those areas, particularly how studio engineers hear music and analyze it. Unfortunately most of book is really just a long winded explanation of why your old rotary telephone was way better than Facebook, hammering the same point home at the ...more
Matt Carton
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I will return to as the summer progresses. Pretty much all of my concerns about the digital world that I have thought about since my 50th birthday are addressed by Krukowski - brilliantly, might I add. One of my great delights over the last two years is diving back into the world of LPs. I forgot how much I missed records until I started listening to them again (the needle on my turntable broke in 1987; I had a cd player, so I didn't see the need to replace the expensive $30 stylu ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Noise has value." So goes the thesis statement of this wonderful book by musician Damon Krukowski. He reckons with how digital media—specifically in the realm of music but also writ large—has changed how we consume and what we expect from our pop culture, which has been stripped of context and its surrounding "noise" and turned (for a profit) into pure "signal".

I listened to Krukowski's podcast miniseries Ways of Hearing, which covers a lot of the same ground as this book. But ironically, despi
Phil Wilkins
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fairly slim volume given its price, but a thought provoking non the less. It posits a fairly nuanced argument that in simplified terms is that as we rush to digitise everything we are leaving behind really valuable context and insight, some might call noise. For example embracing iTunes and Spotify all the rich contextual information, about who was involved with the recording etc is lost that is provided with the physical content. For a die hard rack digger this is good info as it can lead you ...more
Drew Metzger
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Galaxie 500 frontman Damon Krukowski offers a wonderfully thoughtful take on our world's transition from analog to digital output. It is refreshing to hear an artist's take on the way they have perceived the digit revolution. It is more technical than I thought it would be going in, but I actually enjoyed it all the more because of Krukowski's attention to detail and the amount of research he did to write this book. I would recommend to anyone that loves music.
Matt Schiavenza
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Damon Krukowski's book tells two stories in one. The first is a philosophical meditation on how digitization and optimization — which Krukowski calls removing noise from signal — has cost us considerably as a society. The second is a detailed explanation of what digitization does to sound. As a non-expert, I found the latter sections to be a touch too dense and technical, hence my rating of four stars. But Krukowski's central thesis is valuable and important and well worth reading.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a really interesting book. Although it's pretty clear that Krukowski is not a fan of digital music recording and consumption, his writing about the history of analog media was really enlightening for me. As someone with little formal knowledge of analog recording methods, I was fascinated to read Krukowski's anecdotes about the "old days" in the studio. Overall, I enjoyed this book and recommend it to any audiophiles.
Jed (John) Edwards
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this. How is talking on a cellphone different from talking on a landline phone with "POTS" (plain old telephone service - analog over wire) and a carbon microphone? How does contemporary digital audio recording differ from quintessential analog audio recordings such as Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Pet Sounds? How does our quest for pure signal (with no noise) change our listening experience and our experience of moving through space?
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I need to read this again. Perhaps with some space behind the first reading. I had consistent disconnects while reading it, and I don't like that (because of my unexamined expectations regarding the subject).
I have no expectation of reading it again and feeling 'oh, now I get it', but I do want another go at what the author was reaching for, and what I felt was obscured by the interplay of poetics and sound engineering. I'm excited for another go. Just not now.
Tamas O'Doughda
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a pleasantly informative, interesting, and engaging little book. The digital clock was invented as a set prop for 2001: A Space Odyssey? You can hear Brian Wilson yelling in the background of Here Today, and I went and heard it! Selective listening, noise, signal, microphones, analog, digital, I feel like this book revolutionized my understanding of engaging with noise, and I greatly appreciate that. And now, I'll go back to spinning my records...
Matt Richey
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting but not precise

An enjoyable read but frustrating at times because of the vagueness of the terminology. "Noise," "loudness" etc have precise meanings which are not entirely consistent with their use in the book. Still, the author makes a good case for the value of non-digital forms such as records and books"
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I do not think I understood all the technical stuff around production of music that this text dives into, but the difference between signal and noise and the happy accident that metaphorical noise can create is an idea that is going to stay with me for awhile. It was a quick read that probably should have been slower, but it was super readable and dense simultaneously.
Mike Dahlstrom
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A thoughtful critique of what we’ve lost in the digital transition. When signal-to-noise ratio approaches “divide-by-zero,” the context is lost in translation. An accessible, thinking-man’s read.
Dec 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
The aesthetics of digital audio as opposed to 'what used to be', the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Jerry Delince
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A thought provoking must read for intellectual stimulation.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of 2018, so far.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Music and information have been simplified/compressed/decontextualized for more efficient delivery by digital networks. But that’s a lossy process. And what has been lost matters, a lot.
James S Gilchrist
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting take which may be helpful for old and young.

Things that I could see were there were brought into focus and expanded upon. Helpful and hopeful in our accelerated “now”.
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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. ...more

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