Well, the long Winter nights are just about over and this year will see more musicians involved in home recording than ever before. Of course the falling price of electronics and the general increase in technical awareness has a lot to do with it, but the true cause goes deeper.
Ten or fifteen years ago, the live music scene was a lot healthier than it is now. Every youth club, dance hall and night club featured live bands once or even twice a week and any musician worth his salt had ample opportunity to communicate his skills to a live audience. Gradually, the number of venues declined and lot of the blame could I suppose, be aimed at discos, but if we face up to the facts of life, this is because the majority of people out for a good time actually prefer discos.
You might be forgiven for thinking that this is caused by falling standards in live performance, but this is not the case. It's because the art of record production has become so refined that only the most highly financed and best equipped bands can reproduce a sound of record quality and even then only when supported by a skilled sound crew. This, coupled with the social scene surrounding discos, has had a serious and detrimental effect on the public interest in live music, where amateur bands with their limited financial resources have found the most difficulty in satisfying the record orientated expectations of the public, regardless of their individual musical skills.
Another point of view may be that record production has elevated music to the position of being no longer a live art form in much the same way as pictorial art. You could use the analogy of Rolf Harris doing a quick sketch as being the live band and De Vinci's Mona Lisa as being the record. It would be quite unreasonable to expect Leonardo to paint the Mona Lisa in front of a live audience every night and still maintain the standard of the original.
Home recording gives musicians the opportunity to shape and hone their own masterpieces to as near perfection as is possible whilst the cassette medium means that copies of the result can be made available for other peoples appraisal at minimal expense.
For many players, this medium has become the main channel through which they achieve artistic fulfillment to such an extent that they rarely, if ever, play live. For others, it is the only affordable way in which they can submit satisfactory demos to the record companies. At one time it was said that a good song, accompanied by acoustic guitar, would still be recognised, and that elaborate recordings made no difference, but can you imagine yourself as an A&R man listening to Frankie's Relax performed by one voice and a guitar, and then signing them up?
Whatever your reasons and whether you are recording purely for your own pleasure or for financial gain, the equipment available today enables the home recordist to obtain results that would have been the envy of top commercial studios a decade ago. It is the aim of this magazine not only to keep you informed as to what recording equipment is available, but also to help you to make the very best use of it.
The beginning of June also sees the APRS show, and whilst many of you will be unable to attend, we will be present on your behalf, checking out the latest recording goodies on offer.