Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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When Does the Copy Become an Original?

I purchased this album in the spring of 1988, my second semster as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley. I listened to it a lot over the summer, most notably in Rehobeth, Delaware with my friend Sandy, her then-boyfriend and eventual internet pioneer and Bay Area nightclub empresario Jamie Zawinski, and her ex-boyfriend Brian. It made me melancholy for my failed relationship back in Berkeley. But I was sort of into feeling melancholy back then, so the music fit my mood.

When I returned to school in August, Annalee and I got back together. And, at some later date during that second and final year of our coupledom, she affixed that piece of red tape to the CD case. I think it matters that when I listen to this album, I'm still hearing the exact same CD I heard back then. I could buy another, of course. I have all the songs from Substance on other records. For all that, even knowing that the every copy of "Digital" surely sounds the same, I perceive a difference between hearing it on my "original" CD and, say, the boxed set. What does that say about the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction?
Tags: archive, autobiography, memory, music, theory
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