There’s this quote from a book by Brian Eno:
Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit - all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar sound is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them.
This was written in 1996, long before our day and age where we have all of these genres like Vaporwave, Lo-Fi and so on and so forth, that serve as a testament to how right the quote was. It’s amazing how right he was. And it makes me think, what is it about the music of today that will make the future-me recognize it? What kind of sound will make me feel nostalgic about the music of today?
As we evolve, our music evolves with us. My consumption of music is through a digital medium, streaming through the Internet. There are still limitations of course, but are they perceptible? I don’t think the sound quality of my Spotify subscription alters the sound. What about other digital mediums? Deezer and Tidal and Youtube and whatever? They do have some Loudness Normalization but that only changes the volume. What about my home made 320kbps MP3 rips?
I don’t think I can hear any peculiarities in today’s music due to the medium its recorded or played at. But, as far as I remember, I didn’t either in the 90s when I listened to audio cassettes.