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Off Air Audio
Topic: FM and live real-time broadcast experience.

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Posted by Romy the Cat on 05-13-2008

Music does not only expose to musical ideas and permit to share human expirences but also us it reconstructs our own experiences. How many times we hear one or other piece of music and refer our attention to the moments when we first time heard or the first time “got” (with is more important) the given work? How many times we heard a musical peace and re-lived the entire bucket of our own experiences many years back related to the given of the music? Music is always associated for me with certain historic events of my live – the time when I was introduced to the work or to the time when the “other mining” of the given composition was reviled to me.

Certainly there is nothing compare to live performance in the amplitude of “historical impact”. That nervous and filed with anxiety of events concert hall’s atmosphere that makes heart and mind to stop has immeasurable higher amplitude when a serious performance is taking place “live”. Any recording of this even do ignite extrapolative imagination BUT if you were in the concert hall during the recording then the recording heard by you differently (I always record FM broadcasts if I am going to Symphony and if it is broadcastable). I also noticed that listing live FM broadcast has a special impact compare to listing the same broadcast “live-to-tape”. Observing how my awareness react to it I recognize that when the broadcast is live when there is that feeling of inevitability and fragility of events – something that we never get when we listen live-to-tape recordings. That collapsing of the symphony Hall into – 120dB vacuum just a few seconds before the door is opened and the conductor walks to podium. That painlessly-long decay of last note of orchestral coda when each moment is filled with purely masochistic super-pleasure; that coming from nowhere burst of pure happiness that suddenly we feel without any apparent reasons…Where it all come from in “live” and where it is gone in “live-to-tape”?. I can go on and on but what important is that listing “it” in real-time adds to recording an extra level of sharpness and sensationalism.

With live FM broadcast the sensationalism of the event is also there. It is important not only to record the FM broadcast but also to hear the transmission it in real-time. Listening the FM broadcast in real-time crates in our minds a reference to the real-life experiences. It makes a listener as a co-participant of musical event, plaguing in the musical idea, the composers’ intentions, the performer ability and the listener’s awareness into the one array of event participants…

To my knowledge the only medium- “live FM” is capable for this magic. Playing my FM recordings I might not remember sometimes if I experienced it in real-time but I do FEEL what this given broadcast I was listening “live” vs. I scheduled it to record….

Rgs, Romy the Ca

Posted by Paul S on 05-13-2008

So true, Romy.

I think I mentioned a while back listening to a live San Diego Opera Company production of "Orpheus in the Underworld" - in my CAR, and this sense of anxiety, anticipation and participation was available even under those very limited circumstances.  Never mind that we rarely get such a performance at the opera house in any case.  I am telling you, I was singing along with the overwrought singers, rocking back and forth; I nearly crashed the car.

I have recently posted some thoughts about the differences and even the antagonisms between performances and recordings, such as live, studio and/or audiophile-type recordings.  Even though the latter can be pretty damned good on occasion, still, that collective angst is often even further diminished or finally missing altogether via the 'canned' performances.  I notice this especially with opera.

About the only reasons for playing recordings are to revisit special performances and to experience music one would otherwise miss out on.

I wonder how many cities have good FM programming and broadcasting?  Los Angeles was great, back when I lived in Venice, with interesting stuff going on around the clock.  San Diego is quite limited, and I get Bupkis from my place up against the hills.  Well, that's not altogether true...  I do get crappy electricity...

Best regards,
Paul S

Posted by Romy the Cat on 05-15-2008

There is something else with FM that does not exists with any other recording media – the musical events take place juts once and that makes even a broadcast of recorded material virtually “live”, enriching realism and spontaneousnes of the performance, establishing the real-time energy exchange between performers and audiences.

Colin Davis onece said: “I don’t feel that making records is really a true way of making music, because there’s nobody there to listen to it.  It’s a slightly incestuous thing because it’s musicians making music with musicians, trying to produce something perfect, which is impossible because we are human, and we do make mistakes, and nothing we do in a performance is that perfect.  The human element is variable, and very often the [live] performance of a piece is greater than the number of mistakes made in it.”

I feel that FM adds that extra edges into even recorded music, sharpening the listening awareness, make is instantly more valuable. No replays. No save nets. Just once. The next moment it will be something else. It is like in live….

The Cat

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