I loved this beautifully designed book from Damon Krukowski, drummer for the band Galaxie 500. Krukowski discusses what is lost, and what is gained, when we move from an analog to a digital world of sound. Through his fascinating examples and experiences, we explore new ways of hearing, in the hope of finding unexpected connections in our contemporary society. Recommended By Adam P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
What John Berger did to ways of seeing, well-known indy musician Damon Krukowski does to ways of listening in this lively guide to the transition from analog to digital culture
Having made his name in the late 1980s as a founding member of the indie band Galaxie 500, Damon Krukowski has watched cultural life lurch from analog to digital. And as an artist who has weathered the transition, he has challenging, urgent questions for both creators and consumers about what we have thrown away in the shift to a digital society: Are our new streaming services undermining our ability to incubate new talent? Are our digital devices turning us into zombies who are lost in our own headspace even as they put whole catalogues at our fingertips?
Rather than rejecting the digital disruption of cultural life, however, Krukowski wants instead to reexamine what we have lost as a technological culture, looking carefully at what was valuable in the analog realm so we can hold on to it. Using a series of processes from the recording studio that have changed since the analog era — headspace, proximity effect, real time, noise, and distortion — as a basis for a broader exploration of contemporary culture, Krukowski gives us a brilliant meditation and guide to keeping our heads amid the digital flux, and for plugging in without tuning out.
"In the recording world we worry about signal to noise — we strive to capture performances where the messages are clear and failures of technology don’t obscure the desired content. In The New Analog, Damon Krukowski observes that the real changes for the future of audio are not the traditional (and shortsighted) ‘digital vs. analog’ but changes in how we interact with signal and noise, which include how we find and enjoy music. It will never be the same." Larry Crane, founder and editor of Tape Op Magazine
"Musician and poet Damon Krukowski offers a thoughtful and thought-provoking examination of what has been lost as well as gained in the shift from analog to digital sound. Written for anyone who listens and thinks about what they hear, The New Analog eloquently argues for the significance of noise in a world perhaps too attuned to tuning it out." Emily Thompson, professor of history, Princeton University, and author of The Soundscape of Modernity
"The New Analog is a delightfully intelligent and idiosyncratic book, one tuned into a mind-expanding frequency that emphasizes the wonders of noise, hiss, feedback, and distortion. In contrast to all the buzzword- and cliché-riddled writing about the digital revolution, Krukowski’s accessible and engaging survey of our current media landscape provides a wholly original perspective rooted in the author’s deep knowledge of, and love for, recorded music. The New Analog offers even the most tin-eared reader a not-to-be-missed opportunity to see the world anew through sound." Astra Taylor, author of The People’s Platform and director of Examined Life and Zizek!
"Millions of music-lovers have acquiesced to the shiny juggernaut of digital-age technology without asking its economic and cultural price. Damon Krukowski is an incisive, passionate, and, above all, rational critic of this new realm. No nostalgic conservative, he offers a radical defense of analog craft in the face of the digital hard sell." Alex Ross, author of The Rest Is Noise and Listen to This
About the Author
Damon Krukowski was a founding member of Galaxie 500 and is currently one half of the folk-rock duo Damon & Naomi. He has written for Pitchfork, Artforum, Bookforum, Frieze, The Wire, and on his blog International Sad Hits. He has published two books of prose poetry, serves as co-publisher of the literary press Exact Change, and is the author of The New Analog (The New Press). He has taught writing and music at Harvard University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.