In those long ago days of the analog music formats of vinyl and magnetic tape, everyone I knew had a shrine dedicated to their music in their rooms —a receiver, speakers, turntable, cassette player and a rack of LP’s prominently on display for their friends to see.
In the decades of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, music had a tangible, physical quality to it. When Led Zeppelin or the Who put out a new album, we rushed to the record store to get our hands on their latest 12” diameter vinyl masterpiece. It was a communal experience to hang out with friends rifling through racks of albums and tapes. Album covers were works of art more or less and in some cases, particular album covers became an iconic representation for that period of rock music. I bet you can visualize the covers for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, or Nirvana’s Nevermind.
With analog devices like the turntable, there was the physical act of putting the record on, with its predictable surface noise or putting the tape into the cassette player or boombox and feverishly trying to adjust the Dolby to remove the inevitable tape hiss.
So, with all the convenience, unlimited selection and buffet menu quality that digital music provides, what’s lost is the tangibility of music. It’s just a file that resides in the unseen vapor of the cloud. A record or even a tape is something you can hold and it exists in the physical world in a way that streaming music to your mobile device doesn’t compare to.
Then there are the sculpted forms of the analog devices themselves. Where digital devices design aesthetics have become minimal to the extreme, the design of an analog turntable, receiver or boombox from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s spoke volumes of the quest for sonic perfection – high fidelity – not always a highly valued commodity in the age of the internet. Every knob, dial and slider had a specific function to enable you to make the music sound as “real” as the technology was capable of.
This poster series was created to pay homage to that time when our interaction with music was tangible and the objects that contained and played our music were uniquely sculpted, to be the physical manifestations of the music that defined a generation.