What has existed since the dawn of recording technology is a strict dichotomy between the traditionalist performance based ideology and the proponents of technological innovation as art form. The traditionalist school of thought looks at the studio’s sole purpose as the documentation of great performances while mainly staying transparent, serving the musician completely and wholly. This ideology is not surprising when one understands that its proponents come from the classical arts (including traditional jazz) which focus solely on performance technique and a predetermined relationship with a static audience. While this construction and view of art may seem confined to stringent borders many would argue that it is precisely these borders and limits that allow such mature study and creative fervor to develop. On the other side stands a wide range of artists and technicians who believe in the transcendence of traditional notions of audience and artist, and who see technology as a necessary variable in the development of art as a whole. After all, instruments, amplification, and even concert halls are forms of technology that open up worlds of creative exploration that are imperative for the sustainability of the traditional structure. Thus, why should the recording studio be any different? It offers seemingly endless possibilities for the modulation of instrumental timbre and allows performances to be cut, shaped, and melded into completely new sonic experiences not possible through conventional means of performance. However, if anything is clear, it is that modern popular culture has abused the power of digital recording by commodifying it and making it into a child’s game rather than a scientifically based art form meant for trained professionals. What has resulted is a wave of over used, cheap gimmicks and degraded sound quality utterly diluting an industry that was already very difficult for sincere musicians to become recognized in.
In the end, what is needed is a re-emergence of popular musicians who understand and work with technology towards the betterment and extension of their art-form.