Sign o’ the times – digitally remastered


Last week I received a message from my long term friend and school mate about the new release of Prince’s album Sign o’ the times. For those of you who are not so familiar with Prince – this album was cult when it was released the first time in 1987 and the cover title is still my cellphone ring tone, even after so many years intriguing and geniusly composed.

Now the latest release is a so called “digitally remastered” version, of course with a lot of added songs and new compositions, but the core of it is still the original album and the original songs. When I heard the new release, I remembered all and everything from that moment in time, the feelings, the moves, the videos, the brand ‘Prince’ and all the allures he had and always kept. (Looking back to the the last time I saw him live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2013 he kept all of them) But then I listened closer and new tones appeared, new facetes of the same - just not like the old version but smarter, fuller, more technical, more contemporary.

And so I started digging about what “digitally remastered” actually means. And as I understand it, its a new composition of historic material - former successful or not so successful pieces that were released in the then wanted and requested form. Sometimes just polished and optimized, but kept original, sometimes newly composed with a more contemporary mindset.

That mindset I like when thinking about apparel manufacturing. Re-composing the traditional making and digitally advancing it. Taking the best of the past learnings and make sure that it will remain, protecting the core so to say, and at the same time adding a digital twist. If we think the production floor like an orchestra, then the idea of re-arranging the instruments, listening to new added ones and giving the whole piece a new sound for me is quite inspirational. You may argue that this is the core idea of Opex and Kaizen and yes, that’s probably true for the analogue part of it. “Digitally remastered” I guess is understanding that there is more going on in the production lines. Unused data streams, not listened too and hidden processes, old or obsolete in the meantime, just not thought about. Digital replacements and additional information that can create a different “sound”, a different mindset, that can make the “conductor”, the leader do a different job in a different way. So much “remastered” that it represents Gustaf Mahler’s mantra: Tradition is passing on the fire and not worshipping the ashes.

How does your production song sound like today, is it traditional, is it modern, does it need some contemporary spices, some digital streams, some less analogue ones? Enjoy the week