The only comment I have on this line of thinking is, it's very hard for a machine to create out of
thin air something it "thinks" is "missing." When you get into something involving human senses and
brain together -- music, art, photography, moving pictures -- it's not just an "artificial
intelligence" thing but also an "artificial aesthetic" thing.
A small example of this idea is the controversial nature of the piano re-creations of Rachmaninoff
and Art Tatum by the Zenph:
Keep in mind that the Zenph technology is re-creating things that are there (actual notes played,
actual space between notes and tempo as played back from the recording, perceived stength of key
strikes, which is perceived from audible audio, etc), and it's still controversial. Trying to make
up what an old recording chain couldn't or didn't capture is a very controversial business. I think
that's what Shiffy and Carl are describing.
Given a long history of disappointing computer/digital gadgetry as it relates to audio, I advocate
more modest steps. First, let's see if it's possible to "erase" damages and destructions to a
playable groove that time, abuse and original pressing problems have created. Can we first of all
get a groove back to how it was on the metal mother? Then, can we "play" it? When we play it, what
does it sound like? Can we then attack those audio limitations and distortions with known methods
and technologies? Then how does it sound? Once we get there, to the best of our ability and our
technologies' limits, I think we can think about creating out of thin air "improvements" to the
original recording. I'd like to see as a first step, removing the damages caused by wear/abuse and
original manufacturing problems/limitations. I say start there because I think the kind of work Carl
Haber is doing is in that ballpark.
Some topics to debate over turkey and cranberries.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, November 22, 2012 8:50 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Stuff of which dreams are made
> There are so many angles from which one can consider these ideas, technical
> and aesthetic. Looking back on my own reaction to early CD reissues, for
> instance, the flawlessness that seemed to be a commercial requirement for
> promotion of the new medium also removed the content further from actual
> experience. It may have been the flaws in analog media that helped its
> mechanical nature to seem more organic, and helped us to suspend disbelief.
> Is it any wonder (social aspects aside) that the Grunge aesthetic soon
> followed the new perfection of recording techniques, along with the
> continuing re-adoption of imperfect old studio tools?
> As a devotee of Walker Evans, it's not hard for me to make this leap. It is
> the imperfections of age and use that give objects their humanity, symbolic
> of lives and experience. Perhaps this is true even when those humanizing
> flaws are technical side-effects rather than artifacts of human touch.
> Having long ago accepted mechanical substitutes for actual experience, we
> still rebel against inhuman perfection, a rebellion made more urgent and
> necessary as the lived experience of living becomes ever more challenged by
> the relentless substitution of perfected media representation.
> Allow me to give thanks today for all that I've learned and the ideas born
> from the discussions and arguments of this remarkable community. Best wishes
> to all.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Art Shifrin
> Sent: Thursday, November 22, 2012 7:25 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Stuff of which dreams are made
> Static (meaning fixed media, not their artistic content) works of art and
> engineering that have significant damage have long been cherished despite
> their material / structural flaws. These include buildings, statues,
> graphics, and a probably unlimited range of objects. So it's completely
> reasonable and reassuring that miserably made and or worn & damaged
> recordings can be appreciated by those who can 'filter out' what's wrong.
> I include 'reassuring' because if such appreciations were not occurring,
> then the artifacts would be even more likely to be discarded and or
> destroyed than if not.
> At first thought I was thinking that the noises, distortions, and or
> perturbations of recordings might be analogous to cracks in the media
> (paint, wax, ink, et. al.) of graphics, or the materials of objects. But
> given how such things are 'seen', that's not necessarily so. Given
> adequate light, especially for large or enormous things if viewed from
> adequately long distances, the flaws can even disappear. Listening to a
> mangled recording
> far enough away from its transducer, and or with other acoustic impediments
> might be comparable.
> Tom's proposal to achieve improvements via modifying virtual grooves should
> be extended to restoring what's missing, not 'merely' (the word's NOT
> intended to be sarcastic or derisive) smoothing out flaws. I presume that
> sufficient computing power (software not included) exists can be mustered
> to simulate the audio contents that were replaced by the 'side effects' of
> the damage: make the grooves 'appear' as they did (or probably did) before
> they were altered. Then, when all of the audio's read back by the
> image-to-sonic process, differences between the portions that underwent
> various extents of repair / replacement could be minimized if not be
> distinguishable from one other.
> A simple example of this principle is replacing the disruptions in 'silent'
> (a misnomer) portion of a recording. Slugging in state-of-the-art 'silence'
> amongst any kinds of audible noise results in much more noticeable dropouts
> than inserting the same kind of noise and room tone. This should even
> include periodic problems such as thumping that can't be completely
> I think that it's comparable to film and video tape tape restoration when
> production stills and captions replace what's missing. It's noticeable but
> less jarring than the alternative.
> Think of each sample and bit depth as an audio 'still'. String enough of
> them together, play 'em fast enough, and they could hopefully sound as if
> the grooves had never decayed or been damaged.
> Happy Thanksgiving from
> Shiffy, Marlene & Spencer