News Unlimited | Second sight: Douglas Rushkoff on digital manipulation in films, and on MP3s:

“By eliminating the real overtones associated with different instruments and the environments in which they are being played, then replacing them with set of similar frequencies, MP3 files save a lot of space. The algorithm imitates some of the qualities of good sound production, even though it can’t actually achieve it. Ultimately, our brain must use the sonic clues it receives to imagine the real musical event. We fill in the blank spots.

Again, this might succeed with electronic music, which exists in a vacuum with no real world basis for comparison. But MP3 re-creations of recorded instruments and voices do not impact our body in the same way that a real recording does. Our brain might be fooled into believing that it’s hearing an accurate reproduction of sound, but our body resonates about as much as it would with a cheap AM radio. It’s the disparity between what we think we’re hearing and what we’re actually hearing that causes the confusion and discomfort.”