Arts Desk

Has the Pushback Begun?


On Sunday, the New York Times ran an article about Jim O'Rourke, an underground overachiever who, in addition to recording his own solo music, has played in Sonic Youth and Gastr Del Sol, and worked in various other capacities with Wilco, Joanna Newsom, and Superchunk.

His latest project is the new solo album The Visitor, a recording that, at times, features as many as 200 tracks of instruments.

As one might imagine, an album such as this would require quite an intricate mix, which is perhaps why The Visitor will only be available on CD and vinyl—no digital download.

Here's part of the Ben Ratliff article from NYT:

He’s taking a stand against the sound quality of MP3s; he’s also taking a stand in favor of artists being able to control the medium and reception of their work.

“You can no longer use context as part of your work,” he said, glumly, “because it doesn’t matter what you do, somebody’s going to change the context of it. The confusion of creativity, making something, with this Internet idea of democratization ...” he trailed off, disgusted. “It sounds like old-man stuff, but I think it’s disastrous for the possibilities of any art form.”

He's not the first artist to attempt a download pushback. But is he a part of the vanguard or a dying breed?

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