Bennie alternated between the Sleepers and the Dead Kennedys, San Francisco bands he’d grown up with. He listened for muddiness, the sense of actual musicians playing actual instruments in an actual room. Nowadays that quality (if it existed at all) was usually an effect of analogue signaling rather tha bona fide tape – everything was an effect in the bloodless constructions Bennie and his peers were churning out. He worked tirelessy, feverishly, to get rights, stay on top, make songs that people would love and buy and download as ring tones (and steal, of course) – above all, to satisfy the multinational crude-oil extractors he’s sold his label to five years ago. But Bennie knew that what he was bringing into the world was shit. Too clear, too clean. The problem was precision, perfection; the problem was digitization, which sucked the life out of everything that got smeared through its microscopic mesh. Film, photography, music: dead.

Bennie knew better than to say this stuff aloud.

Jennifer Egan, A visit from the goon squad.

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