Bill sent me the link to this blog entry with The Cinch Review where the issue of Dynamic Range Compression is discussed with specific concerns to Bob Dylan's 21st Century albums, but really, all new and worthwhile music in general.
My response to Bill and this article is... How absolutely upsetting! This seems to be what I couldn't put my finger on with Dylan's Modern Times, when I realized that the songs were good, the performances were stellar, but the album was a dud, just a flatline. I partly blamed it on the sameness of the songs, and that might be a bit of a concern, but this Dynamic Range Compression deal would certainly wash out any nuances making the album more diverse and interesting. Furthermore, when I was relistening to Love & Theft for my post a couple of months back, I noticed that I was not as enthused with it as I initially had been, that it sounded very cold and unappealing in some ways...something which it's predeceor, Time Out of Mind, does not. And I attributed that to Lanois' production, myself assuming that Jack Frost aka Dylan did not need to be producing his own material. And while Lanois' production is naturally fantastic, it would have likely fallen victim to this (as the above blog calls it) ongoing scandal within the music industry had this technique been available/more widespread in 1997. In comparison to it's 21st Century companions, Time Out of Mind is extremely warm and organic and gets so quiet sometimes that you can hardly hear it...something so absolutely lost within Modern Times, it's enough to make me sick. And, if this is the case, definitely angry.
What this means is that I will still not be picking up Together Through Life -- though now with a different "because" behind my reason -- while this is an issue. And I assume the new Christmas album will suffer the same fate...
Honestly, even if you're not a fan of Dylan, you should read this guy's blog entry, 'cos it really does seem to be a legitimate complaint, and one that has damaged the integrity of some potentially great music. Who are the other victims (well, besides us the listener)? I dunno, but if this issue becomes as big a deal as The Cinch Review believes it will, we'll all know soon enough.