Move Over Merzbow, Here Comes Lilly Allen

From the Sun's Thomas Whittaker :

Music chiefs were blasted last night for using computer wizardry to make new albums louder than ever. Bosses are artificially enhancing sound levels as they believe the noisier a record is, the more copies it will sell.But music lovers say some tracks are now so distorted they can make listeners feel nauseous. And Britain’s leading studio engineers have launched a campaign to make records range in levels to avoid one loud blur.

Among records blasted by engineers is the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Californication which some branded “unlistenable”. An online petition has even been launched to have it “remastered”.

Other albums slated by studio experts are works by Oasis, the Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen.

Peter Mew, senior mastering engineer at London’s Abbey Road Studios — where The Beatles made many of their hits — said: “Record companies are competing in an arms race to make their album the loudest. The quieter parts are becoming louder and the loudest parts are just becoming a buzz. This could be the reason CD sales are in a slump.”

Geoff Emerick (above right, shown with George Martin), an engineer on the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s album, said: “A lot of what is released today is basically a scrunched up mess."

Though I sincerely doubt there is any concerted effort on the part of "music chiefs" to artificially boost noise levels, I must applaud any organized effort to categorize the Red Hot Chilli Peppers as "unlistenable".