T Bone Burnett Unveils New Analog Reproduction Technology

T Bone Burnett developed a new medium for recorded sound, a disc format he dubbed Iconic Originals. He’s tried the technology with Bob Dylan re-recording some of his classic songs, but those recordings aren’t available to the public yet. A press release says the project is part of Burnett’s attempts to “reset the value of recorded music.”

According to a statement from the producer, the one-of-a-kind Iconic Originals are “lacquer painted on an aluminum disc, with a spiral engraved on it by the music.” Burnett’s project is the first major development in analog music reproduction in more than 70 years, when phonograph records were transformed from flimsy shellac to the polyvinyl plastic material still used today.

The rest of Burnett’s statement on Iconic Originals reads in full:

A Original Ionic is the pinnacle of recorded sound. It is archival quality. This is future proof. It’s one of the ones. Not only a Original Ionic the equivalent of a table, it is a painting. It is a lacquer painted on an aluminum disc, with a spiral engraved on it by the music. This painting, however, has the added quality of containing this music, which can be heard by placing a stylus in the spiral and spinning it.

To describe the quality that elevates analog sound above digital sound, the word “warmth” is often used. Analog sound has more depth, more harmonic complexity, more resonance, better imaging. Analog has more feel, more character, more touch. Digital audio is frozen. Analog sound is alive.

According to a press release, Burnett has also launched a new company called NeoFidelity, Inc., which will “provide a distribution platform for Iconic Originals.” Although Burnett never officially produced a Dylan LP, he was a member of the Rolling Thunder Revue.

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