R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5   Go Down

Author Topic: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy  (Read 10992 times)

bobby yarrow

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #30 on: March 08, 2006, 09:27:03 am »

This notion of deferring everything to the band really appeals to a lot of bands and really confuses a lot of engineers.  

It's a good posture, cause it's pretty unassailable.  It also goes right to the normal (and sometimes super-sized) vanity of musicians.  

I'm in the happy position of never having to take a gig.  So I only work on music I actually get and care about.  I took on an acoustic singer/songwriter a couple months ago.  This is not my typical thing.  We did preproduction for the whole record.  The first song I fully mixed, the rest I just set the levels and printed.  We'd agreed that's what I was going to do, cause there wasn't time to fully mix the whole demo but she did want to hear 1 song with an actual look at what a mix would sound like.  The mix went out a few days before the roughs.  When she heard the roughs, she was freaked out -- why did it sound like shit?  

She's a pretty interesting example, cause (unlike most of the folks who come in) she doesn't want me to really fuck with her thing, she just wants a prestine, natural, perfect record.  I definitely didn't ask her whether she wanted me to work the phase on the room mics, or where to set the compressors.  On the other hand, I did suggest that she consider something like a d-28 or a hummingbird instead of the dull guild jumbo she brought in.  She preferred the dull jumbo sound, and that's a decision she's in a great position to make.  
Logged

howlback

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 249
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #31 on: March 09, 2006, 12:18:59 am »

It seems to me that the "documentary" philosophy is a key difference between "rock" & "pop" production practice.  If the REP applies a strong preconceived sonic vision to the music, it WILL undoubtedly become manufactured music (popular music).  If the production style remains open & band driven it will hopefully remain rock, provided that the BAND IS GOOD, that they have a vision. If they don't have a vision, they shouldn't be a band (unfortunately I have come accross such projects, maybe Steve hasn't but I have).  

Logged
 

Ron Steele

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 230
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #32 on: March 09, 2006, 07:47:51 pm »

howlback wrote on Thu, 09 March 2006 00:18

It seems to me that the "documentary" philosophy is a key difference between "rock" & "pop" production practice.  If the REP applies a strong preconceived sonic vision to the music, it WILL undoubtedly become manufactured music (popular music).  If the production style remains open & band driven it will hopefully remain rock, provided that the BAND IS GOOD, that they have a vision. If they don't have a vision, they shouldn't be a band (unfortunately I have come accross such projects, maybe Steve hasn't but I have).  




Excellent points.

Regardless of genre, I guess it all comes down to how you want to spend your time and what your willing to put up with, where an artist or group is concerned.

In the past I've cut  a handful of great bands that really had there "vision"
in order. There was nothing to do but capture it.  And they always seem to be open to an outside perspective as well. As I said before, all you have to do is look at the expressions on the faces of the band to know what there thinking.

On the other hand, I've tracked some hideous shit where I've felt that any
outside perspective wouldn't even be worth offering. Sometimes, it's better to get them in and out. Other times it's like, let's forget the clock when it's feels good and has it something going on.

If having an opinion about music you record is a bad thing, then why bother. You may as well be a plumber.



Logged
 "I have had PLENTY of my posts torched on other boards. It kind of goes with the territory of pushing the envelope. Their house, their rules. Why can't everyone GET this?"

Samc

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1393
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #33 on: March 10, 2006, 03:23:55 am »

Ron Steele wrote on Fri, 10 March 2006 00:47

If having an opinion about music you record is a bad thing, then why bother. You may as well be a plumber.

Who stated, or implied this?
Logged
Sam Clayton

electrical

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 674
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #34 on: March 10, 2006, 04:23:41 am »

Ron Steele wrote on Thu, 09 March 2006 19:47

In the past I've cut  a handful of great bands that really had there "vision"
in order. There was nothing to do but capture it.  And they always seem to be open to an outside perspective as well. As I said before, all you have to do is look at the expressions on the faces of the band to know what there thinking.

What bothers me about this is the presumption that there is a need for an outside perspective. Bands are like marriages, and I think they should be allowed to resolve their own dilemmas. Why does anyone else's opinion even warrant an airing?

Seriously, why? What makes you (or anyone) such an important figure that he should even form an opinion about what goes on within a band? It's not your band.

If you can honestly tell what someone is thinking by looking at him, then you should hit the poker circuit. The payouts are much bigger than you'll ever see making records.

The implicit arrogance of the engineer-as-overlord mentality has offended me from the first time I encountered it, and if I contribute nothing more to my profession, I would like to see it end.
Logged
best,

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

John Ivan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3028
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #35 on: March 10, 2006, 05:17:55 am »

electrical wrote on Fri, 10 March 2006 04:23

Ron Steele wrote on Thu, 09 March 2006 19:47

In the past I've cut  a handful of great bands that really had there "vision"
in order. There was nothing to do but capture it.  And they always seem to be open to an outside perspective as well. As I said before, all you have to do is look at the expressions on the faces of the band to know what there thinking.

What bothers me about this is the presumption that there is a need for an outside perspective. Bands are like marriages, and I think they should be allowed to resolve their own dilemmas. Why does anyone else's opinion even warrant an airing?

Seriously, why? What makes you (or anyone) such an important figure that he should even form an opinion about what goes on within a band? It's not your band.

If you can honestly tell what someone is thinking by looking at him, then you should hit the poker circuit. The payouts are much bigger than you'll ever see making records.

The implicit arrogance of the engineer-as-overlord mentality has offended me from the first time I encountered it, and if I contribute nothing more to my profession, I would like to see it end.


Interesting. I really do understand your Idea that we as engineers should, I'll say, "stay out of the way" but this whole idea about not having an opinion or being an outside influence makes no sense to me. We are talking about using our ears and our gear to collect a sound being made by a bunch of musicians. How am I not going to form an opinion about it? Fine so, if the guitars are all 2-K with no bottom at all, do we not say,,"hey, here's the tone I recorded, is this what you want?" That has a HUGE influence. I'll bet you don't want that to stop, right?

I know you know this already but I'll say it for the sake of clarity. In most cases , an engineer will speak up when we hear something that sounds bad to us. This IS sticking our nose in ,right?

I'm saying I don't think having and sharing ones opinion about the audio is a bad thing at all. Bands are glad we do this for the most part.

But then, I think being a huge part of shaping the sound of a band can be a great thing when one is invited to do so. I don't think it's inherently a bad thing at all.

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

 

maxim

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5828
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #36 on: March 10, 2006, 06:24:17 am »

i was really happy when the tracking engineer could say :

"that was a great take"

or not

Logged

Ron Steele

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 230
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #37 on: March 10, 2006, 11:36:37 am »


Samc wrote on Fri, 10 March 2006 03:23

Ron Steele wrote on Fri, 10 March 2006 00:47

If having an opinion about music you record is a bad thing, then why bother. You may as well be a plumber.

Who stated, or implied this?


the reference came from steve in another thread:

electrical wrote on Mon, 30 January 2006 01:55

Quote:



When you are emotionally involved with the music, you are not doing your job completely. Enjoy the record (or say it sucks) when you buy one at the store. You're supposed to be working now. A plumber should be working on installing the toilet, not assessing whether or not it matches the tile.



Logged
 "I have had PLENTY of my posts torched on other boards. It kind of goes with the territory of pushing the envelope. Their house, their rules. Why can't everyone GET this?"

Ron Steele

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 230
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #38 on: March 10, 2006, 12:10:23 pm »

electrical wrote on Fri, 10 March 2006 04:23

Ron Steele wrote on Thu, 09 March 2006 19:47

In the past I've cut  a handful of great bands that really had there "vision"
in order. There was nothing to do but capture it.  And they always seem to be open to an outside perspective as well. As I said before, all you have to do is look at the expressions on the faces of the band to know what there thinking.

What bothers me about this is the presumption that there is a need for an outside perspective. Bands are like marriages, and I think they should be allowed to resolve their own dilemmas. Why does anyone else's opinion even warrant an airing?


Never a "presumption". An emotional response due to being inspired, or not,  in the moment?

Yes, I do formulate ideas and opinions, but I don't implicitly dictate. I ask, "what do you think of this or that." Depending on the response I proceed accordingly.



Quote:

Seriously, why? What makes you (or anyone) such an important figure that he should even form an opinion about what goes on within a band? It's not your band.



My time and who I choose to give it up to, paid or not paid for. But that is just me. On the other hand, there are alot of professionals who probably think their experience and past contributions are worth being considered a valuable resource to a band.


Quote:

If you can honestly tell what someone is thinking by looking at him, then you should hit the poker circuit. The payouts are much bigger than you'll ever see making records.



What does this have to with anything?

Are you saying that after being locked in a small room with a band for a few days, that you don't pick up on the vibe, good or bad?


Quote:

The implicit arrogance of the engineer-as-overlord mentality has offended me from the first time I encountered it, and if I contribute nothing more to my profession, I would like to see it end.



Who what where and when. This place is filled with pros. I don't see many threads about how bands suck and need to be controlled.

Does everybody else have an" implicit arrogance of the engineer-as-overlord mentality".

Or is that an assumption on your part?
Logged
 "I have had PLENTY of my posts torched on other boards. It kind of goes with the territory of pushing the envelope. Their house, their rules. Why can't everyone GET this?"

groucho

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 40
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #39 on: March 10, 2006, 12:58:48 pm »

Maybe I'm missing something, but I honestly don't see why Steve's point of view is so contraversial. All he seems to be saying is that the engineer shouldn't attempt to IMPOSE their point of view on the band.

He has said many times that if the band wants his opinion he will provide it, or if they are searching for a sound he will make suggestions as to how they might achieve it.

His bottom line seems to be "make the band happy".

Why on earth does this cause such a ruckus every time he mentions it?

Chris
Logged

Ron Steele

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 230
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #40 on: March 10, 2006, 01:18:48 pm »

groucho wrote on Fri, 10 March 2006 12:58

Maybe I'm missing something, but I honestly don't see why Steve's point of view is so contraversial. All he seems to be saying is that the engineer shouldn't attempt to IMPOSE their point of view on the band.

He has said many times that if the band wants his opinion he will provide it, or if they are searching for a sound he will make suggestions as to how they might achieve it.

His bottom line seems to be "make the band happy".

Why on earth does this cause such a ruckus every time he mentions it?

Chris



I have absolutely no problem with Steve's thoughts on this subject.

I'm only trying to offer another perspective, and nobody has to agree with me or Steve.  Many here work differently. There is no rule of thumb or standard on how to operate.

It's just conversation.
Logged
 "I have had PLENTY of my posts torched on other boards. It kind of goes with the territory of pushing the envelope. Their house, their rules. Why can't everyone GET this?"

John Ivan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3028
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #41 on: March 12, 2006, 03:30:56 am »

Yeah, for me, that's the whole point.{just talking about it} I don't think Steves view is all that unusual and I don't think he's "Wrong" either. I think he has a way of working that clearly works great for his clients and that's the bottom line.

I do think however,I can switch my emotional side on and off fast enough to be engineering in a complete way. I guess it's how I've always done it.

I can't help but think that I'll be both a better player and engineer thanks to the reading and posting I do here.

I agree that making the band happy is the most important thing.

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

 

copperx

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 49
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #42 on: March 12, 2006, 06:37:24 am »

groucho wrote on Fri, 10 March 2006 17:58

Why on earth does this cause such a ruckus every time he mentions it?


A thing that I don't understand either.

It's impressive the closed-mentality of some engineers
that try to prove Steve "wrong". Why don't they try to
UNDERSTAND Steve's point of view? It seems that it is
too much to ask. I saw some sad posts in other threads
when discussing Steve's approach to recording.

At least this thread hasn't turned into that  Smile

Great thoughts everybody. Keep 'em coming.
Logged

acorec

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 89
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #43 on: March 13, 2006, 08:51:08 am »

Let any engineer make a record his way and I guarantee that you will have a record that makes that particular engineer very happy.

All bands, in their first experience in a recording studio,listen to the engineer for direction. It is natural because of the unfamiliar surroundings and lack of recording experience. I have never heard a first recording of any band that dint suck eggs royally. I am not specifically talking about quality of sound or songs. I am talking about a real clash between the two.

The engineer's job is to record what is present like a documentary photographer versus a playboy shoot where the photographer tells the cute little hottie exactly how to stand, smile etc.

You can argue that the playboy presentation is art and done well, but done well in comparison to what?

The truth is in the second, third album. you can tell who drove the sessions by the way the albums sound. Some bands change dramatically from album to album with no consistency at all,some bands have a dull, dark sounding first album and find their sound after a hard lesson. Plenty of bands who have been in the biz for years often build their own studios because they know what to expect in sound and can have control over the process better than in a commercial studio.


So, I think that if a engineer, producer, whoever makes many award winning albums in his/her career, then he/she is either a total genius, can read the public for how the band should sound and predict it to be award winning OR he/she has given control to the artist to bring on a great album with the band's vision intact.  
Logged

Ron Steele

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 230
Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #44 on: March 13, 2006, 10:43:55 am »

acorec wrote on Mon, 13 March 2006 08:51

Let any engineer make a record his way and I guarantee that you will have a record that makes that particular engineer very happy.

All bands, in their first experience in a recording studio,listen to the engineer for direction. It is natural because of the unfamiliar surroundings and lack of recording experience. I have never heard a first recording of any band that dint suck eggs royally. I am not specifically talking about quality of sound or songs. I am talking about a real clash between the two.

The engineer's job is to record what is present like a documentary photographer versus a playboy shoot where the photographer tells the cute little hottie exactly how to stand, smile etc.

You can argue that the playboy presentation is art and done well, but done well in comparison to what?

The truth is in the second, third album. you can tell who drove the sessions by the way the albums sound. Some bands change dramatically from album to album with no consistency at all,some bands have a dull, dark sounding first album and find their sound after a hard lesson. Plenty of bands who have been in the biz for years often build their own studios because they know what to expect in sound and can have control over the process better than in a commercial studio.


So, I think that if a engineer, producer, whoever makes many award winning albums in his/her career, then he/she is either a total genius, can read the public for how the band should sound and predict it to be award winning OR he/she has given control to the artist to bring on a great album with the band's vision intact.  


The opposite could be said about an artist or group, or even a groupie. The singers girl friend could contribute to how bad, or how good shit turns out.

Quite honestly, if the "engineer as dictator" messed up things for so many for so long, why do bands still seek out engineers and studios?

It seems to me that if this is such a huge problem, times would have changed by now, especially when you consider all the home studio gear they could buy to make DIU recordings?

How could everybody that posts in these forums still be business if all they do is dictate and control the future of the artists that pay them an hourly rate?
Logged
 "I have had PLENTY of my posts torched on other boards. It kind of goes with the territory of pushing the envelope. Their house, their rules. Why can't everyone GET this?"
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5   Go Up