Thursday, May 3, 2012

Origin of Band Names: Stereolab

When you spend enough time digging through dusty crates and bins of used records, you're bound to make some surprising discoveries. On the left is a Vanguard recording of G. F. Handel music from the 60s found at a thrift store for 50 cents. At the dawn of the stereo age, some record companies gave their stereo recording techniques florid names. Epic called its stereo technology Stereorama. Vanguard called it Stereolab for a brief period. Most people who didn't grow up in the 60s think of Stereolab as the pop-electronica band. It could have been a coincidence in nomenclature. But once I saw this Vanguard album, it was clear that the band took it's name from Vanguard Records. They even mimicked the cover of the Vanguard album for their own album Space Age Bachelor Pad Music.

Will a band in the future name itself mp3 or AAC? (How lame does that sound?) Will there even be album covers to inspire future bands? What will today's digital recordings inspire in future generations? I suspect with the abandonment of analog recordings and physical media, we're losing historical continuity and historical riches that can be mined to fuel music and musicians in the future. Digital music will exist in an ahistorical cloud, without the lovely little details of words and images that music used to come wrapped in.

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