R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: 1 ... 3 4 [5] 6   Go Down

Author Topic: the role of an engineer in relation to art  (Read 11266 times)

John Ivan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3028
Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #60 on: January 02, 2006, 05:45:19 am »

Ron Steele wrote on Fri, 30 December 2005 19:25

"the role of an engineer in relation to art "


I think the word..art or artist....has been to loosely floated around.

I mean, is a person or persons, who are all of sudden inspired and influenced by the ramones to pick up a guitar and thrash and scream,
all of sudden a musical "artist" just because of a new found inspiration?

It could be considered a copy, in the same way we have Les Paul GTR copy's.

So what makes a person or group an artist?








Hey all,,

I'm back from Cali in one piece.. I was in my early 40's when I left Friday, and upon my return to Lansing, I have discovered I am 98 years old. GOD>> Flying can kick your ass!!@#$

Anyhow, Ron,, I agree that perhaps the term "Art" gets thrown around to loosely.. I admit I am some times one of those guys who thinks everything is a fucking Art Form.. "Dude!! He had that tranny out of that damn Mini van in 42 Minutes!! He's an Artist!!.........;-}.. I guess it makes me feel all warm an fuzzy....

I do see how this is a craft and I'm not really making decisions every 30 seconds that are Art related.

If I'm recording a band ,in many cases I'm doing what Steve has suggested. I get the sounds up and try not to do something that will fuck it up. This is applying experience and time on the job, {such as it is} and is a craft. I do think that doing this well can be called art though. and it really depends on who I'm recording..

Steve, as far as having the Nerve to ad this or change that about someones music? I NEVER do this without the band saying,, { Ivan, we want you to help shape this music. We have heard you play and write and think you can help us finish these ideas we are stuck on.".. Hey man, I love that because I kinda get to be in some bands I'm not in.

I guess I'm saying, I take each thing as it comes and try to help them make a great record. It aint easy to record something that sounds great in the hands of the players without wrecking something, and I feel that doing this well rises to the level of Art sometimes..

I'm a hippy dippy guy sometimes though,, sorta,, I mean,, I' just fucking LOVE MUSIC and if I can be any part of it, I'm happy.. Lucky us.. Really. I think we're really lucky. Whether we are making song's in our house or pushing  A LOT of good records through a room in Chi Town or working on the next $500,000 dollar boyband thing. It aint breakin' rocks.. So, art or not, sign me up for MORE.....;-}

Ivan..........................


Logged
"Transformation is no easy trick: It's what art promises and usually doesn't deliver." Garrison Keillor

 

Fibes

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4306
Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #61 on: January 02, 2006, 11:19:29 am »

To answer the original topic: "To do no harm."

I attribute that to Harvey who borrowed it from Hippocrates I beleive.

Whatever way that happens I'm fine with it.

Logged
Fibes
-------------------------------------------------
"You can like it, or not like it."
The Studio

  http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewArtist ?id=155759887
http://cdbaby.com/cd/superhorse
http://cdbaby.com/cd/superhorse2

maxdimario

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3811
Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #62 on: January 02, 2006, 12:07:42 pm »

Quote:

and that is not a series of discrete choices. It is a process.



there is a similarity in the difference between the professional athlete and an amateur which is learning his moves, or thinks that he can get better by thinking purely on a technical or rational level.

if the process is a result of actual professional-level successful experience, then it already incorporates an element of intelligent 'choice', more of a direction perhaps.

anyway no pro tennis player could play at 100% of his or her abilities if s/he even remotely started to think about everything that was going on.. that's a loser's strategy most of the time.

but thinking over things in rest periods is necessary to work out things on a larger scale.

sometimes you need to digress and question your processes, if only because too much of any one way of looking at things can lead into a rut.
Logged

Tidewater

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3816
Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #63 on: January 02, 2006, 12:16:18 pm »

electrical wrote on Fri, 30 December 2005 19:27


"Just" printed them? If only that were the easy way to do it...

It is incredibly difficult to "just" print them. Accidentally fucking-up a record is the biggest pitfall, and it takes constant awareness and ingenuity just to avoid doing it. It is infinitely easier to assume that part is a no-brainer, and then fuck around forever being "creative" and doing a bunch of fancying-up and producing.



Yes. As engineer, there are alot of steps that get you to that point. On the producer role, I am different, we can't all paint the same style. Some prefer a cubists view, others like surrealism..  we could all do it the same way actually, but that could suck, no?

Quote:

They need alot of color correction, and sometimes the content needs expurgation.

Quote:


That's incredibly presumptuous of you. Bands "need" you and your smarts? Otherwise, what, they're nothing? You get to decide what someone else's music is supposed to sound like, based on what you think is "good." Why would any band who actually liked their own material allow themselves to be subject to that?



Just like people who still love each other after 20 years of marriage, but argue over who's taking out the trash, sometimes they need a little outside influence.

Do you stop live takes, for any reason? I do. I am as much of a coach, as I am a knob jockey. I might only tell an idea I have to the drummer, even if it's an idea for the vocalist.. the drummer knows them better than me.. all outside influence isn't evil.

When I talk to people I worked with much later, they still thank me for my ideas that made it, and they tell me they have regretted not using other ideas I brought, so I must also be doing something right.

I am an 'I told ya so' guy.. just not a really mean one.. so it's ok.


M
Logged
Time Magazine's 2007 Man of the Year

Ronny

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2739
Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #64 on: January 02, 2006, 01:17:55 pm »




I used to stop a live take once in awhile with the less than stellar newbie bands in the olden days when everything was analog, if I knew that someone screwed up enough to render the take a scratch. How much tape was on the reel and how much tape they had purchased for the whole project used to be an issue, but with digital where media cost is of little concern I've come to the conclusion that it's not as good as letting the take go on until the tune is over. Stopping in mid stream makes some artists feel self-concious and hinders the roll that they can get on. The most important element in getting a great recording is having happy camper musicians, IMHO.

Also if the tracks are in the digital domain, I seldom find that every musician and every section of a song is rendered useless, ITR, the outtakes typically have some tracks or sections that can be utilized. Rather than stop the take, I prefer to let it go these days and maintain the flow.  
Logged
------Ronny Morris - Digitak Mastering------
---------http://digitakmastering.com---------
----------Powered By Experience-------------
-------------Driven To Perfection---------------

rankus

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5560
Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #65 on: January 02, 2006, 04:09:45 pm »

DivideByZero wrote on Mon, 02 January 2006 09:16
When I talk to people I worked with [i

much later[/i], they still thank me for my ideas that made it, and they tell me they have regretted not using other ideas I brought, so I must also be doing something right.


M


Same here...  What a great reward! Really makes the head butting worth it.
Logged
Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller

Tidewater

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3816
Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #66 on: January 02, 2006, 05:57:43 pm »

Yes, but the head butting thing doesn't have to be angry.

I have a way of getting people excited about something, it's part of the skill set I have developed, it's one of my strong points. My attitude is probably the strongest, I bitch (a LOT) and people laugh.

It's all fun! (or not..)


M
Logged
Time Magazine's 2007 Man of the Year

rankus

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5560
Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #67 on: January 02, 2006, 10:32:31 pm »

DivideByZero wrote on Mon, 02 January 2006 14:57

Yes, but the head butting thing doesn't have to be angry.

I have a way of getting people excited about something, it's part of the skill set I have developed, it's one of my strong points. My attitude is probably the strongest, I bitch (a LOT) and people laugh.

It's all fun! (or not..)


M


Yes, of course. Never with any anger involved. Always in the spirit of the creative environment. I was referring to the dance you speak of...

Although, now I am recalling an episode a couple of weeks ago with a death metal band... the singer was starting to his takes, and was as usual a little nervous on the first pass..  I hold the talk back down and say "well that was pretty good" (you know)... and the freaking guitarist leans over my shoulder says "man that sucked shit! that was fukken awful" in a very angry tone....

Well I freak out and drop the talk back... start urging the guitarist to let me handle the coaching... he says "no way buds just hit record right now" while the hot headed, purple faced,  singer is basically stomping around ready to kill, kill, kill.... the best damned Metal takes I ever recorded...

So, even anger can be production tool.. (but I would never have had the balls to do that... )


I agree with the tactic of talking to another member of the band "hey you know what would be cool?"  Then they make the suggestion to the singer/band.... keeps it "their idea" .. being invisible is my goal (if you know what I mean)
Logged
Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller

jordancgeiger

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 9
Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #68 on: January 04, 2006, 02:52:38 pm »

I've always thought the relation of an engineer to the art being created in a recording session was similar to that of a translator to the art expressed in a literary work.  While it requires a lot of technical and conceptual skill, translating shouldn't be confused with authorship.  Like engineering, there's better and worse translations, and endless debate of who's better and worse at the craft, but at the end of the day, such discussions are a little absurd compared one-to-one with the genesis of the source material.

I've always recorded myself, at the expense of the quality of my material, sound-wise.  I am an artist first, and really get sick thinking about going to the local engineers, who I know will make the drums sound like rock drums no matter what I want.  Luckily, I've found an outside engineer who I trust and am friends with, so my next record will be with him.  If he affects the artistic outcome, I'm fine with that, but only if I decide it fits in the art.  Other than that, I'm looking for someone who's passion is helping me make the record I want, not getting sweet-ass sounds that other engineers can jizz all over.

Are the people who fund and release my records on their record label artists?  
Logged

J.J. Blair

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12809
Re: the roll of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #69 on: January 04, 2006, 03:52:50 pm »

electrical wrote on Wed, 28 December 2005 21:58

I think it's worthwhile to make a distinction between ingenuity (or resourcefulness) and creativity. Creativity (as I see it) is making something utterly new. I don't think engineers do this (or should do this) very often. Engineers must be resourceful and ingenious, otherwise problems (sometimes unique problems) un-dealt-with will derail a session. Creative, no. I think that leads to many wasted hours and ugly impositions.


electrical wrote on Wed, 28 December 2005 23:31


I think it's a choice relating to technique. Choosing whether to paint a duck or a typewriter is a creative choice, but having decided to (rather, having been assigned the task of-) painting a duck, doing it with a brush or a hot dog dipped in paint is a choice of technique. The difference is not subtle in my mind.



Steve, your girlfriend is a film maker, right?  Ask her if she thinks whether or not a photographer is an artist.  I do a lot of landscape photography.  Does that mean that only Nature is the artist and my decision which film to use, which depth of field to select, which lens type, etc. is merely a choice of technique and is not creative?  Last time I checked, phtography is considered 'art'.  Look at this picture and tell honestly that nothing creative or artistic went into: a) choosing the location and framing the shot, b) deciding to cross process E6 film, c) deciding how to print the negative, d) cropping the print a particular way, etc.

http://homepage.mac.com/jjblair/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/landscapes%20(color)/xpsdune.jpg

Now tell me that recording, which I consider to be both science and art, just like photography, is purely analytical and empirical, and is not creative or artistic.  I could use any combinations of elements and that picture will come out differently.  Same thing with recording; the engineer makes a creative decision how best to capture a sonic landscape.  And just like photgraphy, some decisions are brilliant and masterful, some are beautiful, some cheesy, some don't suit the music, and some are just plain limited by the experience and ability of the engineer, and might suck for that reason.  But regardless of the quality, they are in fact still artistic decisions.  One might be the equivalent of a stick figure, and the other might be a Picasso.  But does that mean that the 3 year old finger painting stick figures is not doing anything 'creative' or 'artistic'?  

Somebody said that deciding to use three mics to record an orchestra is not creative.  I say that it most certainly is.  Just because they chose a realistic mode of recording instead of a surrealistic or hyperrealistic mode, doesn't mean it's not a creative choice.  Is Norman Rockwell's realism less artistic than Picasso's cubism?

Steve, going back to the compression thread where I mentioned Clarksdale, your decision not to make the drums sound a certain way was not only a technical decision, it was a creative and artistic decision.  It changed the outcome and in my case, it changed my perception of the record.  Sure, the songwriting and performance had more impact on whether or not I liked the record than whether or not I thought the drum sound was appropriate, but you had a creative impact on the record nonetheless.  You are a recording artist in the collaborative effort between musician and engineer, and because of the myriad of techniques and choices for recording a performance, it is simply not possible for the engineer to be completely transparent in the process, whether or not you think he should be.  The fact of the matter is that as an engineer, your choices and technique make up a great deal of the final piece of art, and this makes you one of the artists in a collaboration.  Rauschenberg uses other people's photos in his collages, and he chooses to put them in a certain array.  Just because he didn't create something new out of nothing, I don't think the Smithsonian and the Guggenheim are going to kick him out.  Obviously, they felt that he made a creative and artistic decision, no?

I know how intransigent you are, and how unlikely you are to actually come around to my way of thinking on this, but hopefully this persuades you to view your role a little differently.  By your logic, the model is the artist and the photographer is not.  Think about it.  It just doesn't make sense.
Logged
studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

Extreme Mixing

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1050
Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #70 on: January 04, 2006, 05:31:39 pm »

Well put, JJ.  And you did it without name calling or telling anyone to Fuck Off.  I was really shocked to see that expression so many times in the EQ article with John Goodmanson and Steve Albini.  Do we really need engineers using the magazine to send those messages?  Kind of makes you proud of your profession, doesn't it?  

I often use it as a musical term, as in "let me fuck with the snare for a minute", but seldom as a greeting.  Maybe that's just me.

Steve

J.J. Blair

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12809
Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #71 on: January 04, 2006, 05:35:06 pm »

Shit, I missed this article!  Strange, because I write for them (yet I don't have a subscription) and I even was chatting with Goodmanson the other week at a party.  I'll have to check that out, I suppose.

Anyway, even though I'm often unsuccesful, I try to avoid being mean around here, especially if I have a valid point.  It's  lot easier to attract flies with honey than vinegar, as they say.
Logged
studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

John Ivan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3028
Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #72 on: January 04, 2006, 05:40:56 pm »

Indeed. Very well put JJ.

My 2 cents.
Logged
"Transformation is no easy trick: It's what art promises and usually doesn't deliver." Garrison Keillor

 

electrical

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 674
Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #73 on: January 04, 2006, 05:49:03 pm »

J.J. Blair wrote on Wed, 04 January 2006 15:52


Steve, your girlfriend is a film maker, right?  Ask her if she thinks whether or not a photographer is an artist.

I don't know about Heather, but I think photographers are artists. For christmas I bought her a really nice print by Jen Davis, who I think is brilliant.

Quote:

I do a lot of landscape photography.  Does that mean that only Nature is the artist and my decision which film to use, which depth of field to select, which lens type, etc. is merely a choice of technique and is not creative?

I don't see the parallel between making a photograph (creating an image) and recording someone else's music.

This would only be an apt anaolgy if music existed in nature and it took my recording of it for it to be audible. Nature is beautiful, but it is not the product of a creative mind, not a piece of work (fundamentalist biblical students, forgive me in negating your beliefs this way). Music is. Your photograph is art, because you made it. The band's music is art because they made it. My recording of music is merely an avenue for their art.

If you photographed a painting, you'd be closer to what I described, and you would be wrong to take credit for the painting's quality.

There has actually been a school of conceptual art that does things very much like this, and in this case the art is the commentary on the perception of the role of the artist. Thought-provoking at its outset, but trivial in my mind.

As an aside, I don't like the "audio photography" euphemism. I think they are distinct tasks and not particularly related.
Logged
best,

steve albini
Electrical Audio
sa at electrical dot com
www.electrical.com

J.J. Blair

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12809
Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #74 on: January 04, 2006, 06:00:22 pm »

Well, I just have to say that I suppose you and I are never going to agree on this, then.  I think there is a HUGE difference between a live performance and an album.  The process itself is completely different, even.  I put it to you that what some band sounds like in rehearsals or live compared to what the final album sounds like is a perfect analogy between what that landscape looked like in person and what the final photo looks like.  On another note, I think that the fact that they are both art and science, as well as ways of reproducing an event, or even altering and editing an event, makes the audio photography analogy better than any other analogy.  

BTW, do you honestly think that the idea of recording that slide solo backwards with compression isn't 'creative'?  It requires an artistic sensibility.  The fact that you could hear that the attack of the guitar was less musical the other way was you employing artistic instincts.  If this were all technical and not artistic, gear designers and manufacturers would never need to use their ears and could simply rely on scopes, meters and math.  As soon as you have to judge an aesthetic, your job falls into the realm of artistic.  It's that simple.  You can't quantify aesthetic or make it empirical.  It takes an artistic sensitivity, and not just knowledge.
Logged
studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham
Pages: 1 ... 3 4 [5] 6   Go Up