Interesting this on recording technology by Keith Richards, and as interesting is Alan Jacobs’ take on it:
Keith rails against “technology” but what he’s actually doing is making the case for one kind of technology rather than another
Listening to the music the Stones (and Dylan is another example) made in the 80s, I think it remained of a quality in the early part of this decade because of the new recording technology not despite it. It was only when everyone involved in making the records became more adept and familiar with the recording technology – and now after reading Richards’ account, felt they had to use all of it – the music of these two suffered. This perhaps is connected to what I was feeling when I wrote about ‘Emotional Rescue’.
Recently I’ve been listening to a few albums from the mid to late 90s. There is definitely a sound they share which dates them to that period; it’s not always prevalent through a whole album (not on the good ones anyhow), and you can get a sense of it listening to albums that don’t share it, but as yet I can’t quite put my finger on what “it” is or how, or even if, the recording technology around that time played a part.
Related maybe to this is this interview with Ewan Pearson, where the subject of dynamic range compression being used more (and so becoming an issue) in the first half of the decade of the 2000s comes up.