The world of music downloads may not seem to differ from the tape-trading culture that preceded it, but there's one glaring difference: decay. MP3s take on the same pristine form no matter how many times they're copied and circulated, while a dubbed cassette will hiss and fade and degrade in a thousand different ways, making each copy distinct. Over time, cassettes become almost like living things, set apart from the music itself thanks to an assortment of scratches and dull squeals.
- Song: "Man at Arms"
- Artist: Nurses
- CD: Apple's Acre
- Genre: Rock
courtesy of the artist
Nurses' "Man at Arms" practically invites listeners to make up the words as they go along.
Nurses' "Man at Arms" practically invites listeners to make up the words as they go along. courtesy of the artist
Nurses' members understand that concept well, and it shows in the production of their debut album, Apple's Acre, and especially the song "Man at Arms." Each layer of the composition — the toy piano, the acoustic guitar, the vocals and multilayered percussion — sounds like a natural companion to the rough sound around it. That ambient space becomes a primary instrument, in a sense, along with voices that seem more focused on pitch-bending tones than on filling the recording with rich, vivid words.
It's a wise choice. Like the best old mix tapes, "Man at Arms" practically invites listeners to make up the words as they go along, picking up the discernible ones and making up the ones that can't be made out. The power of the melody is enticing enough to encourage a sing-along regardless, until the result stands as an alluring mixture of memory and myth.
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