Jeremy's Reviews > Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music

Perfecting Sound Forever by Greg Milner
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Quotes Jeremy Liked

Greg Milner
“Adorno’s dim view of popular music was rooted in a belief that the only reason people liked such music was because it was cynically tailored to mirror their world. In a capitalist society, both they and the music were “kneaded by the same modes of production.” (We can assume that, for Adorno, “it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it” was the ultimate expression of this false consciousness.) He talked about music mostly as an abstract entity, rather than as a material object, like a record, so he never quite figured out how to apply his critical theory to recordings per se. At two different points in “The Curve of the Needle,” an oddly disjointed essay that he started in 1927, at the dawn of the electrical recording era, and revised in 1965, four years before his death, he declares, “The relevance of the talking machine is debatable”—the repetition and the span of decades suggesting that he never did find a side to take in that debate. He was pretty sure he didn’t like what the phonograph represented (“stems from an era that cynically acknowledges the dominance of things over people”), but mostly reserved judgment for another day: “For the time being, Beethoven defies the gramophone.”
Greg Milner, Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music

Reading Progress

June 8, 2016 – Started Reading
June 8, 2016 – Shelved

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