The Loudness War

One of my favourite albums of 2009 was Gossip’s “Music For Men”.  I think Beth Ditto has one of the great modern rock voices, and so do a few other people across the globe…though primarily in Europe and here in Australia it would seem.  They also make crazy cool simple videos that sometimes include balloon headed people like that pic up there.

But in an increasingly common scenario, its an album that’s been mastered just on the edge of distortion. I think it suits most of the songs, but I’ve noticed I can’t listen to it all the way through with ear buds as they heighten the sensation that every note is just about to crack and make my ears bleed.

It’s loud.  Even the quiet bits.  And therein lies the problem : the loudness war.  Everyone wants their album to stand out from the crowd, so they get louder and louder and louder.

Isn’t that just the way of the world?  Everywhere there is constant noise competing for our attention.  And these days a lot of that noise crosses the sensual borders.  All our senses are bombarded with noise.  I believe that this noise that we’re subjected to from conception contributes to some of the increase in things like ADD, autism, etc that we are seeing : our brains need a way to cope.  (Please note : I’m not an expert, I have no stats to back this up, it’s just my opinion…)

And I continue to fall for it.  Not resting properly, not spending time in silence, not taking time out.  Not going into the wilderness and spending time with my Saviour.

The greater your responsibilities the easier it is to justify not taking that time.  But the older you get, the quicker it takes a toll on your body.  How much more so our spirits?  Jesus needed it. We need it. Don’t neglect turning off the noise.  But equally, don’t stay there – we’re called to tell the world.

“After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.”  Matt 14:23
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David Goodwin has just completed 3 years as a Business Board member and Music Director of Awesome Church, Sydney, Australia, and is emigrating to Northern Ireland with his Northern Irish wife in a couple of months time.  He produced the worship team’s first album which is physically released next week (hopefully followed by online release soon) and managed to resist the temptation to make it a contender in the loudness war.  In a non-voluntary capacity, he manages an audio/communications company which is currently preparing to provide the comms systems for the Vancouver Winter Olympics in mid-February.  You can find him online at www.davidgoodwin.com, which has links to way too many other places you can find him too.

  • Joellen Hartzell

    My friends and I are collection information on Randy Cutlip. He died in 2000 and we were shocked to find that out. Some of us went to the University of Tennessee at Martin,Martin,Tennessee. He gave his testimony about his life and how he had asked Jesus to come into his heart and how he was radically changed. I am searching the internet and I found a note posted in “The Rabbit Room”. It said the following: Christopher Hopper said: Russ, Once getting schooled by former keyboardist of Three Dog Night, Randy Cutlip, he taught me something I will never forget. “Always make sure to leave space in your music. The Holy Spirit ministers in the holes.” If you still know Christopher Hopper, I would appreciate it if you would contact him and ask if he has any CDs or tapes of Randy’s testimony from approximately 1980 until 2000. We are compiling a collection of information on his life and will be making copies for anyone who wants it. He left a legacy. I only saw him once but will never forget all the things he said. I was just listening the his testimony that I have on tape today. I am sorry he died at such a young age. I believe he was 57. Thanks so much for your time.

  • Great point. I find it quite disturbing to turn the volume down. The only time absolute silence doesn’t make me trip into an insane-need-for-noise fit is when I am in the woods. Hmm, intteresting.

    Thanks!

  • Billy Jepma

    I’ve always been a fan of loud music, I’ve been in my share of rock concerts, but still, they’ll be times when I don’t want loud, or when I need loud. But you’re right, being loud for God is totally worth the time. If you blare music from Metallica or Guns and Roses, they have some good music, but its so filled with crap we don’t need, that I can’t stand it. There’s my input for ya, but I have a question, what happened to your escape from blogging? Is this a guest?

  • Sarah Houghton

    I love this, and it definitely challenges me. I constantly need noise and to be moving. Being still and being/having quiet has always been a struggle for me.
    But one that I’m determined to win. I need some quiet in my life.
    Thanks :O)