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Author Topic: the role of an engineer in relation to art  (Read 9353 times)

drgonzo

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Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #75 on: January 04, 2006, 06:03:47 pm »

I get your thinking Steve, its something that I've had many a drunken banter about after mixing a live show. I suppose, in the end, it all comes down to the ethos of the guy driving the desk. You can approach the job in two ways - you can listen to what is being played, and make it sound the way you think it'll sound best, or with discussion with the band, you can take what they're playing, and merely capture it - for myself, I much prefer to take what is happening on the stage and amplify it it as natural a way as possible. I'd rather mix a show in five minutes flat, work my arse off throughout the set and really capture the feeling of a band, than piss about with the mix for hours and end up with a generic "rock band" mix at the end of the show. From my (very limited, and technically misguided) experience of your work, it seems to me that that is the main drive of your recordings - to capture the essence of the band, without superfluous (is that how ya spell it???) fiddling.

Or, maybe I'm just wrong, and came into this discussion far too late. shoot me down, go on I dares ya!
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maxim

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Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #76 on: January 04, 2006, 06:51:08 pm »

fwiw, i think the painters usually do a much better job at capturing a human portrait than photographers

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Matt Drums

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Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #77 on: January 05, 2006, 03:40:11 pm »

There is a lot of debate on the role of engineer as artist but I think a lot of this debate is misdirected simply because we don’t have a good working definition of artist or even art for that matter.  Let’s start off with some of those.  This I learned in “aesthetics” while attending SCAD under Dr. John Valentine:

Art is defined as:  an artifact of a sentient being that is created for aesthetic consideration by other sentient beings.  

An artist is defined as:  a sentient being that has created an artifact that he/she intends to be open for aesthetic consideration by other sentient beings.

A Craft is defined as:  an artifact of a sentient being that is created under defined aesthetic principles that allow for value determination by other sentient beings.

A craftsman is defined as:  a sentient being that has created an artifact under defined aesthetic principles that is to be considered for value dependant upon the craft’s determined principles.

This would mean that the movement of air (sound) that a band creates is art and a recording that an engineer makes is art too.  This is the point where the conversation takes a turn for the worse because because people are using the term art/artist too losely.  The process of engineering a recording can be done by both an artist and a craftsman.  The artist who engineers a record intends for their recording to be listened to under aesthetic considerations of the recording itself.  The craftsman who engineers a record doesn’t intend for the recording to be considered aesthetically… he intends for the recording to be the best he can due using the craft, thus leaving just the music the band created to be considered aesthetically.

Steve sees being a craftsman as a more noble effort because he feels it leaves the artifact the band has created more true to the bands intentions.  Of course he has this opinion because he started his musical career as a musician and he has developed an affinity for their efforts as artists because he has been subjected to the artistry of engineers in his earlier days and did not feel his art was complimented by their art. He has achieved a level of proficiency for his craft that continually draws artists because they know their art will not be compromised.

Many engineers or producers operate under the role of artist because they intend for their recordings to be aesthetically considered.  This has an effect on the artifact of the band.  Now whether this is good or bad can only be determined by the band… not anyone else.  If the band enjoys the artistry of the engineer then it’s good.  If the artistry of the engineer has adversely affected the artifact the band has created, it’s only up to the band to say so.  

Now here’s the kicker!  99% of mainstream commercial music is a craft and not an art!  That’s right.  The only mainstream music that is art is original music that finds it self to be popular.  This is the music that is copied by hundreds of bands and created by producers in attempt to ride the coat tails of the original to make money or fame.  Think of any ground breaking band or musician that has had a major influence over his peers and you’ll find an artist.  The bands that copy the style of such original bands are craftsmen by definition because they are striving for defined aesthetic principles that have been set by the original band.

By the way, it’s okay to be a craftsman.
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Fibes

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Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #78 on: January 05, 2006, 04:43:10 pm »

Small world, I am very familiar with JVs aesthetics class. Very thought provoking and fun...

Just in case; are you the Matt I'm tracking drums for tonight?

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Matt Drums

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Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #79 on: January 05, 2006, 04:53:14 pm »

Different Matt, same Dr.JV.  He's rad hunh?  It was annoying to me to read all this debate that was based on common conceptions of art when much more specific wording was needed.  

I live in Atlanta and play drums in The Liverhearts.  I used to go see GAM and Superhorse when I went to SCAD.  Small world.
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maxim

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Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #80 on: January 05, 2006, 06:37:27 pm »

arts and crafts are not mutually exclusive
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rankus

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Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #81 on: January 05, 2006, 07:55:26 pm »

Matt Drums wrote on Thu, 05 January 2006 12:40


Many engineers or producers operate under the role of artist because they intend for their recordings to be aesthetically considered.  


Is'n this Exactly what I pointed out several pages back?  Rolling Eyes
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Extreme Mixing

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Re: the role of an engineer in relation to art
« Reply #82 on: January 05, 2006, 08:25:12 pm »

electrical wrote on Wed, 04 January 2006 14:49

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.



I think the photo analogy is quite a good one myself.  I can tell that you and I will never agree, but you might consider this.  Most of the music I record has never really been heard in a live setting.  A "band" has never played, or rehearsed it.  The only main it will be heard is through the recording and mix that I am making.  From then on, the benchmark for that song will be the mix that I have made.  The FX, the sound design, that repeating echo at the end of the chorus, will all be replicated for live performances, because they will be perceived as part of the song by the fans.  95% of my sound and sonic choices will stand.  I believe that if my average is less than that, the Artist should find someone else to work with and that we will both be happier in the long run.  This "picture" of the song will become the song for most people.  So that "photo" becomes the song for the mass of people who enjoy the music.

It's a job that I really love, and I'm good at it.  Whether you call it an art or a craft makes little difference to me.  I approach my work from a creative perspective.  I don't know how to fix a microphone, or design an electronic circuit.  I do know how to make it sound good, and I do it in a musical way.  I didn't get the gig because of my typing skills, and I don't do data entry.

I don't feel all puffed up in the ego department, guilty over estimating my own self worth.  I get to work with some very gifted musicians and composers and I feel humbled in their presence.  The fact is that THEY call ME in to do the work.  Repeatedly.  So I must be doing something right.

If it's not art then maybe we should make up a word, call it pqowierutj, and we could agree on that.

Steve
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