11 Aug

I’m a driven man when it comes to spending money on bargain bin CD compilations. My visit to Fopp on Saturday saw me come home with a dual-album compilation from the people at V2 for a mere couple of spuds. It’s called Acoustic. Silly me, there I was thinking that it was going to be a collection of songs which “[pertains to] being a musical instrument whose sound is not electrically enhanced or modified.”

What it actually consists of is a collection of sings where they use an acoustic guitar at some point. Which leads to the somewhat unlikely inclusion of “The Time is Now” by Moloko amongst others: cos there’s an acoustic guitar that does the intro, totally ignoring all the synth and drum machines in the background. And all that overdubbing of Roisin’s vocals. And in what exact way does “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” by Radiohead count as acoustic, given the synth and electric bass hook at the end?

Am I expecting too much from acoustic? Will I not be happy with anything other than a man on the street corner plucking his scruffy box guitar whilst shouting some vague lyrics in order to be heard over the sound of traffic? Well – perhaps I’d make do with a man in lederhosen singing to the rafters (although preferably at the Parr Hall if only to recollect my own youthful performances there). But it raises interesting points about the nature of acoustic – is it ever possible to make a recording of acoustic music if it has to be recorded by a microphone? Doesn’t the very act of recording distort the medium?

Let this be an excuse to go out and see lots of live music.

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