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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Brilliant: Keith Richards and His Amazing Portable Cassette Recorder: Change Observer: Design Observer

Excerpt - read the full post on the evolution of sound/devices:

"...Richards describes the way in which portable tape players changed his sound. Just as turntables influenced the birth of hip hop, the often overlooked cassette player helped in song writing and affected the way he played the guitar.

“I’d discovered a new sound I could get out of acoustic guitar,” he writes. “That grinding dirty sound came out of these crummy little motels where the only thing you had to record with was this new invention called the cassette recorder....Suddenly you had a very mini studio. Playing acoustic, you'd overload the Philips cassette player to the point of distortion so that when it played back it was effectively an electric guitar. You were using the cassette player as pick up and amplifier at the same time. We were forcing acoustic guitars through a cassette player, and what came out the other end was electric as hell.”

The lesson is an old one: When new technologies are widely distributed, dramatic change results. The same surprising effects that came with phonographs and tape cassettes also come when laser printers or laptop video-editing studios or laser stereo lithography machines get into the hands of people who figure out things to do with them that their inventors never imagined.

For Richards, technology had special utility. The tape player was also an invaluable aid to a musician who, thanks to drugs and alcohol, was not always able to recall his inspirations of the previous evening.

“I wrote Satisfaction in my sleep,” Richards claims. “I had no idea I'd written it. It's only thank God for the little Philips cassette player.” It was a miracle, he says. “I knew I put a brand-new tape in the previous night.” The next morning when he went to work, “I saw it was at the end. Then I pushed ‘rewind’ and there was Satisfaction . . . and forty minutes of me snoring.”

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

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