July 3, 2017:
I was smitten with a certain vision of analog technology.
It wasn't the computers which held my attention, with their tape drives and paper printouts. It was the banks of switches toggled and rotated by hand, with electric lights for visceral feedback. There's an organic symbiosis between system and presentation: you scan the panel visually to take in the system's total state. When you use the panel to modify the system the new state is immediately visible. You seldom experience that level of control-at-a-glance in the digital world.
Along with the drive to go fast, this fascination with switchbanks contributed to my wish to be a fighter pilot. Photographs of fighter cockpits were mesmerizing: switches and dials and levers, 200 degrees of control surfaces.
I built my own simulator: of cardboard, lights-and-switches, and vacuum cleaner parts. Today there'd be a tablet computer as the centerpiece. I used imagination.
I spent hundreds of hours in there. Typically when I should have been at school.
Today there's a similar experience in the control rooms of recording studios. Preferably behind a big console, with outboard racks to either side, and, in a perfect world, behind the desk as well. The image is Studio B at NRG Recording Services in Hollywood. That's a good one. Nevermind the Moroccan silliness. I go straight to the wicked bitchin Neve console. The rest is fluff.
These spaces are comfortable, and comforting. Control is within arm's reach. Twiddle the knob, change the sound. Immediate, visceral.
Not to diss computers. I make my living with and because of computers. I'm just sayin'. Nothing beats an analog switchbank for immediacy of control.