The Church of Tubular Salvation

10 Nov

Being as it’s the weekend, I have some work, thank God. Or maybe more appropriately, I should thank the Beatles, Elvis and Chubby Checker. So not too much blogging will get done today. There are strings to change, guitars to polish and tubes to obsess over.

Tubes. Something the average 21st Century citizen of Liferaft Earth doesn’t encounter, like ever. Back in the day, but no more. Ya’ll are digital semiconductor solid state toroidal powered transformerless technology dependent, and so am I.

But I also need tubes. Tubes. Thermionic valves for the international audience.

I need tubes to make my music real. I can’t do it with simulations. I can’t do it with digital approximations, no matter how many times they are sampled per second.

Now, an audio engineer will tell you that it’s because of the pleasant sounding natural compression that a tube applies to a signal just before it distorts, but it’s much more than that.

It’s fractal. Like a tree. We’ve all noticed how if you cut off a small shoot from the branch of a tree and hold it up and look at it, it looks like a little tree. And if you cut a little shoot off that shoot and look at it under a magnifying glass, it looks like a littler tree, and so on.

Same with a tube. If you look at it’s signal on smaller and smaller scales, it will always be musical, it will always be a littler and littler tree down to the atomic level. (Till you hit the quantum level, then everything is all fucked up and nothing  works like it should which proves the immutable law that governs our existence;   Wherever you go, there you are.)

Audio engineers have done remarkable work, using fractals, to create models of tubes. Heirin after we will refer to these people as The Evil Usurpers (Sorry Democrats, taken.) And if you’re listening to a CD, if you’re in a recording studio or any other kind of wholesome environment, riding in your car even, the Evil Usurpers have won (how ironic)! Put me in a studio and blindfold me and I can’t tell the difference between a ’65 Blackface Twin and an iPad, but in a nightclub, totally different story.

In a nightclub, digital recreations just don’t cut it , you must use real tubes!

I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s the ozone created by the glowing tubes combining with the fragrance molecules from the beer mixed with the pheromones produced by human sexual attraction that creates a 3 dimensional sonic canvas that more effectively carries the sound waves of rock and roll, and country, and heavy metal (but not jazz).

I don’t know, that’s one theory.

But I think it’s something much more spiritual. Something you can’t explain with that kind of scientic analysis. It is something spiritual, something that I know but I can’t describe.

There is only one analogy……swearing in church.

Swearing in church. If you’ve ever done it, you know what I mean. Something in the way it sounds and you know immediately……..

I won’t do that again.


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