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Changes Of Image

E&MM changes its name - shock, horror - as from November. The Editor adds his twopennyworth.

'Design is subjective' is one of this magazine's Publisher's favourite expressions. He utters it often, as editors, art editors, readers and advertisers add their comments to the design of one of the magazines his company produces.

Personally, I'd always considered good design to be an objective thing, something you could quantify fairly easily by analysing how efficiently it did its job.

Art, on the other hand, is a different ball-game altogether. Artists are an introverted and self-indulgent bunch: they have to be if they're going to create anything that is truly a reflection of their own personality, and unlike designers, they're less prone to analysing the efficiency of their work in any given area.

However, modern musicians and composers are a breed apart from their artistic predecessors. In the age of video and computer technology, musicians can communicate images of themselves, worldwide, in a matter of hours. These images are extensions of the musicians' work, but they aren't the music itself. In fact, they're becoming increasingly divorced from the business of writing a song, arranging it, recording it and performing it.

Howard Jones, for instance, has teamed up with his photographer to produce the image on the front of this magazine. It's certainly an impressive photograph (well, the editor and the art editor like it: readers and advertisers had yet to offer their opinion as we went to press), and if Mr Jones wants to be seen standing in baggy clothes in a field of oats, that's fine.

But the crucial thing about the photograph (and, in fact, the vast majority of visual images currently associated with modern music) is that it doesn't tell us anything about Howard Jones' music. His love of oats, maybe, but not his love of notes. To the readers of this magazine, it says nothing about the tools of Jones' trade. And to the record buyer of the eighties, it says nothing about the way Jones makes his music on a more general level.

Perhaps I'm reading too much into the video revolution and the problems of mass communication. But it seems obvious that if successful musicians aren't seen to be playing their music by the majority of people who like it, then fewer of those people will be inspired to go out and try something similar themselves.

Surrealist videos and fields of oats are all very well, but the odd shot of fingers running across keys, sticks hitting drums, or hands moving sliders never did anyone any harm.

Assuming you read magazines from the front, as opposed to reading from the back or starting at the middle, reading forwards and then going back to the front, you won't know that this is the last issue of E&MM as we know it.

The magazine is not about to disappear from newsagents' shelves, but when it reappears next month, it'll be under the guise of 'Music Technology' — a snappier, more contemporary and more relevant title.

You can read the full story behind the switch in our special pull-out feature in the centre of the magazine, so I won't give too much away here. Suffice it to say that we're all quite excited about the change in title and the improvements in the magazine that it'll enable us to make. We think you'll be excited, too.

To our mild surprise, the music industry has already greeted the news of the name-change with uncharacteristic enthusiasm. There were a few raised eyebrows, of course, and the odd cry of 'why change something everybody knows?' But in general, people have welcomed the idea of a fresher, more accurate title that reflects a fresher, more accessible editorial style.

So now the only thing we have to worry about is that the magazine's readers don't miss out on the first issue of 'Music Technology' because they've spent too long looking for E&MM. To help eliminate this, we've produced a dummy front-cover as part of the above-mentioned introductory feature, so you'll know the sort of thing to look for.

But don't look for exactly that cover; it's only a mock-up (well, we don't want to give too much away), and the photography will be completely different. Not necessarily any more musically informative, but certainly different.

Next article in this issue


Electronics & Music Maker - Copyright: Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.


Electronics & Music Maker - Oct 1986

Donated & scanned by: Stewart Lawler

Editorial by Dan Goldstein

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