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Author Topic: Is "Perfect" A Good Thing?  (Read 2052 times)


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Is "Perfect" A Good Thing?
« on: June 09, 2004, 08:51:20 PM »

From August, 2003:

First of all, last month's article (July, 2003) created a bit of a stir, since many people thought I was describing a particular group.  It was NOT about any one particular band, local or otherwise. It's about the state of the music industry, as is this month's article.

Listen to the radio and you'll find it's getting harder and harder to tell the new national groups apart.  They're all beginning to sound like they came out of a cookie factory, each cookie perfectly made, and uniform in size, color, and texture. Every note the singer sings is perfect; every note the guitar player plays is perfect; every drum beat is perfect.  How is that possible?  And more importantly, why is it done?  To understand, you hafta look at it from the record company's point of view.

The record company wants a smash hit - and they want it now.  In the past, they tried various ways to make sure they could get a hit, by having the best players on all the sessions, but it all come out sounding the same.  Welcome to the "Digital Age".  Enter the wonderful "DAW".  That's shorthand for a "Digital Audio Workstation", and it's becoming the new big way to record.  

You might know one of the more famous DAWs as something called "ProTools".  It lets you make everything perfect.  That snare hits a little late in bar 37?  No problem, I'll just slide it over digitally.  Only one decent chorus out of the singer?  No problem, we'll just "cut and paste" that good chorus in everywhere.  Bad guitar solo?  No problem, I've got 20 tracks of bad guitar solos here; I'll just take the notes I need from each track and make up my own solo from them.  Autotune will fix the rest.  No expensive outside good musicians to hire, and everything comes out perfect.  Is it still the band?  Not exactly, but hey, we're making records.

Now the record company doesn't know what the next hit is going to be, but they want to eliminate anything that may keep their record from failing.  DAWs solve the problem of making everything sound uniform.  But is it still "the sound of the band"?  I don't think so, but I may be in the minority.  Maybe as a listener, you're happy with some of these perfect records, where the biggest difference between groups is the name.  I think we're losing what makes a group unique and special.  "Their sound" isn't as important these days as "the sound".

Think about it.  How important is "your sound" to you?  Are you willing to give that up for sucess?  How much different is it than joining a "boy band"?
Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio
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