I've been listening to some GPO music lately. In fact, I've been listening to a lot of it...
I realize that "mockup" is an industry term for simulating a live orchestra, and that it's not going to go away. Nonetheless, given what I've been hearing, I've come to object to the term.
We all know that nothing will replace real, live musicians performing as human beings. However,when we refer to a piece as a "mockup", what we're implicitly conveying is, "yeah, I know this sucks compared to the Real Thing, but it'll give you a crude idea...".
Well, if you'll forgive me for bucking industry trends and common practices, I've just got to disagree with applying this term liberally to orchestrated recordings done with sample libraries and not "real" players. To me, what really matters is what the listener hears when they press Play. Could a live orchestra make it sound better in Version B? Who cares? I'm currently listening to Version A, and I'm either enjoying it or I'm not.
I feel that what really matters is this - compared with nothing else, and judged strictly on the listening experience, is it good music? Does it entertain, inspire, provoke thought or emotionally move the listener? If it does, and does so in an effective manner, then I call it a good work of art. Not some lesser, perhaps embarrassing, "mockup".
We tend to lose sight of the fact that the average listener couldn't possible care less what the recording technologies, microphones, multitrack equipment etc. are when they turn on the radio. They simply say, "Whoa, that's James Brown!" They don't care that the recording is ancient. They're listening to the Godfather of Soul. <Insert your example here.> It's the music that moves people, not the technology. The only people who care how it was created are those of us with way too much time for self criticism on our hands. While we're analyzing and comparing, average people are just listening and enjoying.
So, although it will probably never go away, you're not going to hear me use the phrase "mockup" when referring to GPO generated or enhanced music. It sounds like good music to me, without any need for apologies. And I think most listeners will agree.
Wanna pick a catchy phrase that indicates it's not a "real orchestra'? How about the time honored "arrangement"? The arranger chooses the palette. In our case, those colors simply include GPO. And it doesn't sound nearly as demeaning to the excellent music I'm hearing as the dreaded "mockup".
Was this a rant? Oh, my, I guess it was. It's just my long winded way of saying that I'm hearing some really good stuff around here, and I intend to present it with the respect that it deserves.