Today as I was walking through the Northern Park Blocks in downtown Portland I was fortunate enough to run into a busker, who I would later learn is named “Artemas Rex”. As a rule, I always carry my recorder and a mic on me just in case I stumble across a unique sound; such as Artemas. So, I pulled out my device and began recording.
After Aretmas had finished playing, he mentioned something that was quite revealing about performing live for an audience in park. He said, “You know, I have never really thought this through or even said it out-loud, but I would rather perform live than make a record.” Continuing on Artemas said, “You can record something and have a person listen to it 10 times, but the same feeling you get when you listen to it live just isn’t there. When I play live, the sounds just disappear, but with a recording, they are captured forever.” In my mind, this was profound as it implies that the connection between the audience and the performer just isn’t there when a recording stand between the two.
To me that is a challenge to make the media experience as real as possible, one day leading to something as genuine as the original sound. Having now recorded well over 1000 hours of audio, I am beginning to come to the point where I enjoy the rawest format possible. Meaning, even though a WAV file is larger than an MP3, the quality of sound that is captured is so vastly different. It isn’t the role of the recording artist to manipulate the sound, it’s their job to make it as close to the original as possible.