Saturday, January 26, 2013

White Album Art - Rutherford Chang

Please Google this cat whose art is to buy as many copies of White Album as possible and finally do a multi track digital master of the lot.


It is all about the "story" behind each and every copy, and when I look back to my own situation it is rather fascinating how I got to get the music itself into my head without ever buying the record itself.

For me the art also involves the technical journey [and affordability of enjoyment] over those decades, so here is my tilt.

1968 - drafted into army for Vietnam and my girlfriend's father was replacing the turntable in his gramophone so he gave me the old one which [being an engineer and being bored in army waiting discharge] I fixed and then made up a "box" with speakers, my National Tranny as Amp and turntable up top with hinged lid, my first step to becoming an Audiophile, but on a very limited budget.

1969 - got discharged in January and set myself up in a flat, with my record player of course which by now had a National 4 inch open reel [el cheapo] tape player also plugged in to my "system".  English guys in another flat had a bunch of original UK Albums including White Album, so I got to record it onto my tape.

1970 - did the "big trip" to Europe, backpacking for 6 months and on return to Oz via Singapore ordered [so as to declare at customs and avoid 100% duty at that time] my dream HiFi state of the art system, which took me 6 months to pay off.

1971 - married in January and HiFi arrived in March so I started buying records and the sound was mind boggling and window shattering [for 1812 Overture].  But did not buy White Album as a record as I already had it on tape [but complete with hiss/crackle and ceramic pickup garble], but rarely listened to it.

1974 - HiFi had gone back into packing boxes as we were totally renovating a terrace house and for 2 years we lived in dust and rubble, but now was time to set it up again with a room purpose designed for the HiFi experience.  So while renovating in 1972 it was back to my old system and while we got burgled and tape player was taken, the tape remained.

1975 - with house complete it was time to do lots of skiing and I bought a Sony cassette player that would plug in to a HiFi system for our MGB which I made up, so we had cassette format music for those 8 hour trips to Perisher Valley and the snow.  So old tape from White Album morphed again, now from a Sony Tape Deck [same as used by Kilgore in Apocalypse Now] to the further inferior rendition of cassette [without Dolby at that stage so lots of hiss with S/N ratio of only about 45].  But in a car it matters not with such finer specs as you simply do as Kilgore did "Big Duke Six to Eagle Thrust - put on PschWar Ops, make it loud to a Romeo Foxtrot, shall we dance?"

1975 to 2005 - cassette survived [but probably never played] through having kids, living overseas, divorce and separation from kids by Family Law Family Extermination Court, but after 10 years of no communication with kids my elder son emails me to say happy 60th birthday.  He had just recently at age 28 started his "Beatles Era" and by some miracle of ESP our top 7 Beatles favourites were basically the same, even though we had never spoken of The Beatles previously.

2006 - possibly spurred on by our email conversations, I wanted to add a White Album playlist to my IPod so I found the cassette from 30 years before and somehow "ripped it" to IPod.  But even listening in my car, the sound had been so degraded by all the morphing that I ebayed the CD [in today's dollar about 20% of the cost of the record in 1968] and ripped that to IPod.

So that is the Betty Davis "bumpy ride" for my own White Album Experience, enhanced once again by this movie.