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WiFi murders HiFi


These days far more folk will be familiar with the term Wi-Fi than H-Fi. This is depressing enough before you even realise that Wi-Fi is how most people will not be appreciating music in the very near future.This week saw the strange Vegas-based corporate clusterfuck called CES, the Consumer Electronics Show. This is where all the makers of gadgets and audiovisual computing stuff talk about their tech and debut the next. Audio was big on the agenda, but in ways deaf to art, soul and quality. For most of the mainstream livestock types, music is all about ease and speed. Even looking at the spine of a CD is a strain less appealing than passing a bowling ball covered in barbed wire. Real great brands like Technics, Marantz, Yamaha and Denon have been blown out of the frame by the likes of Sonos, who jam a load of cheap electronics in a snazzy bit of nothing ripe for Dad Rocker boasting.This is a de-evolution back to the beginning of music reproduction long before vinyl was used for anything more cool than car seats. At the start, other than live the only way to get tunes was via AM radio and various pre-LP attempts at discs made from bug juice. They sounded like a sandstorm in a tin can, but were pretty simple to use. Just turn on the radio.After the War, art and commerce came together in a bunch of new techniques and technologies that changed listening for the better, until now. 33 1/3 rpm and 45 rpm discs made from vinyl, FM radio, and reel to reel tape all emerged to give you the choice to hear something closer to what the artists intended. Boffins remembered the old truth that the best tools do one thing well, and electronic stuff tends to interfere with itself if it gets too complex. So the idea of High Fidelity was born to market the idea of having a separate amp, turntable, and speakers. Beard strokers debated the best combo, built their own kit from military grade vacuum tubes and woofers from stadium PA systems. Of course you can take this all too far, but to hear music on a decent HiFi remains an increasingly rare erotic encounter.The money men were never satisfied of course, and so through the 80s shows like CES were subject to the unveiling of kit with more buttons, more settings and more lights than a fruit machine. Amps got Rock and Rap and Concert Hall modes, EQs as complicated as a 747 flight deck and other pointless, boring bling. It all killed the sound quality and confused consumers further, helping to prime them for a new, fast, simple world of tinny Beatz blasphemy. In this universe of £300 Gagagagger head jewellery physical recordings of music are an exotic irrelevance, except for the truly hip. And the causalities from the fall of HiFi are mounting across the channel. It's tits up and lights out for Virgin Megastores in France, places where you were likely to get repressed from CD special limited idioteditons of classic records for £18.99 on a good day. Of course our prices go down, not up so for that kind of cash you're likely to get a handful of tasty originals.We've got a Big Big New In chock full of class classics. Blues, indie, new wave, rock, folk, soul and reggae, and top punk 7 inches too. The task of pricing and getting these out is too heavy even for us to drop all the names on you, but it will be a truly delicious beat buffet for your mind, heart, soul and HiFi. Here's a taster: Smiths, Zappa, Tonto's, Eno, Johnny Cash, Television, Doors, Stones, Fall, REM, Guy ClarkLarry Graham, Leon Ware, Marlena Shaw, Norman ConnorsJohn Coltrane, Dollar Brand, Dexter Gordon, Dizzy, plus more eclectic names!Muddy Waters, unusual comps, Albert King, Blind Boy Fuller...Punk/New Wave 7" selection - Clash, Chelsea, Richard Hell, Ruts...See you there!

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