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January 12, 2018

You Feelin’ Me?

Analogue sound unpicks time - its creation and consumption capable of giving a moment existence beyond itself.

  • Words and pictures: Tyrone Ormsby

A Toyota Hilux, a glove box and myriad cultural artefacts – both magnetic and plastic. Six hundred and twenty-four kilometres over asphalt to see a band play at one of Australia’s oldest operating theatres (through an analogue console). 

The road and the spectacle, the hours of tape and the gilded rising moon, the horizon masquerading as dawn. The weary driver and his passenger hurtle along a back road through the (inefficient, European) wheatbelt, the engine and suspension working against the bitumen, air whistling through sun-worn rubber, banter respectfully rising and falling around the frequencies of Mikey Young.

The Summer Jam record is Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls, recorded at the Sunbury 73 Festival between 3.30am and 4.45am on Monday, 29 January 1973. Recorded By T.C.S. Studios.

A sound is contaminated, infused with its surrounds, but still singular in its reception. A crowded square and the undeniable clarity of a whisper. 

The indefatigable relevance of analogue sound is propelled by the nostalgia in which we first consume it. We hear before we see. At 17 weeks gestation, an impression of the world begins to form as we begin to listen. Analogue’s impurities and imperfections feed our implicit and subconscious desire for the dampening of sound – its distortion mirrors our first experience.

Feel good and ridiculous, a far-reaching proposition, too many hours on the road.

Countless technical advancements in equipment and format do not diminish the romanticism for analogue recorded and projected sound. Nerds will be nerds; and nerds should be celebrated (on any side of the argument). But, there is no better way to capture the improvisational nature of music than the limited channel input of reel to reel recording – a one take process, straight to tape; the immaculate conception of time unfolding. 

Any analogue recording is a tangible embodiment of a once living moment. A recording becomes an object nestled within its cover, and in holding it, the collector holds a reminder of the instinctive, human physics that bind us to us and us to the earth.

An analogue collection is a hoarded and cultivated soundtrack – a curated story of the self that is at once an heirloom and a eulogy.

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