The Art of Listening – Music Documentary (2017) – YouTube

This is a very interesting documentary about the fine details musicians, producers, engineers, and instrument makers put into music. I wouldn’t classify myself as an audiophile, but I do care about the sound.

Despite the resolution of the sound, though, some music still connects with me possibly because of the lo-fi quality of the recording. Lo-fi sometimes sounds to me like a more realistic portrayal of what the music sounds like. I constantly tweak my guitar to fit the characteristics of the space I am playing in, but I’m fully aware that what I hear is not what a listener hears. A listener is constantly battling with acoustics, and to a certain extent this adds depth to the music.

I love bering able to hear a piece of music in a different light because my listening environment has changed. The music that connects with me the most is simply presented, without meticulous attention to what the listener will experience sonically other than presenting the best performance possible. Hound Dog Taylor plays in a style that truly shakes my spine, but much of his playing is characterized by so-called bad intonation and a seemingly haphazard relationship between the guitar and amplifier. It’s the energy of his performance that tskes me elsewhere.

I absolutely get the main theme of this film – musicians and engineers dedicate themselves to the minutia of the listener’s experience – but I think the fidelity of the recording is a secondary concern. I think the production of the album Muddy “Mississippi” Waters Live is excellent (Johnny Winter produced it), but it’s Muddy’s spine chilling, lo-fi slide playing that really injects the excitement and emotion into the music. To a certain extent, I measure everything else I hear against that album.

Published by


I am a musician and academic living in Western, Massachusetts. I blog mostly about music, though I include the odd post about political or historical events that pique my interest.

Leave a Reply