Archive for October, 2010

What you can Convey

If you have to tell people you’re an icon you probably aren’t.

If you turn your publicity over to someone who doesn’t get it you probably aren’t.

Declaring you are conveys something unintended and not good.


Square Peg…

…round hole. Music/art and business/finance. I witness it nearly every day, first hand, and it never ceases to entertain.

A guitarist/repair tech copies the whole of a $150 M company on his reply to an e-mail from the COO.

The message:

We know!!! There are high wind and tornado warnings today.

Understand that we are in a modern building that was engineered by a fantastic architectural firm and we really have nothing to be concerned about. Our entire building (windows and all) are designed to withstand 90+ mph winds. We might have some rattles but have confidence that everything is fine here!

The reply to the whole company:

The peg and hole each incapable of seeing the world from the other’s perspective.

We’re living on a rock hurling through space. And we’re bored?

Work in Progress

The linked recording is of a very popular (instantly recognizable) song by the rock band Def Leppard. If you know the song you’ll instantly recognize that this version is incomplete. When you’re in the studio for days and weeks you begin to lose your objectivity so it’s very common for the band or other people working on a record to take “roughs” like this out of the studio to have a listen elsewhere for a sort of reality check. Sometimes stems (groups of parts mixed together, like drums, guitars, backing vocals, etc.) from the original multi-track tapes are made at the time of recording or later for various reasons.

Below is an excerpt of dialog between the person who has the recording of the rough mix and Mike Shipley, the recording engineer and mixer. It reveals a little about how complex making quality records really can be.


TO have all the multi tracks for Hysteria you’d need a 24 track analogue reel, a 32 track digital reel and the fairlight, which ran live in the mix . if u have all those , you’d hear the bass and drum sound. The drums came primarily out of the fairlight so, no one has those sounds as I’ve got the original files. Everone thinks they have all the multi’s but as I said the fairlight was the key to drums and bass. BTW there was no live bass on DL records after High ‘n’ Dry

The sounds we used were all sounds I made , especially the drums , as I sampled them all into fairlight after I recorded them in LA there are no stock sounds, there are also ppg and simmons drums triggered live. That stuff isnt even on any multi; it was triggered so the stems u have don’t have the real sounds. The snare was heavily layered but the body of it is in the snare I have. A black beauty that we treated heavily in the mix and messed with big time!! With additive stuff like the claps that went along with every snare beat that sounded more like weird reverb after messinng them up. Detuned etc.

Any real bass u hear would have been a guide from Sav, to get the part. All the sequencing and changing of the bass line were done in the mixing process, as all the drum parts were written during the mix. Cant imagine what stems u have? Cos all the files and multis are so reliant upon what we did in the mix. It would have been impossible to recall, I mean impossible!!

There weren’t any stems made at the time and it really wouldn’t be possible to make them now, cos it was so strangely done, that it couldn’t be figured out exept by Nigel green or me cos we were really changing stuff every day over the 9 month period. I have no idea how incomplete the stems are or where they came from, but i wish u had real stems cos you’d hear everything. I have a dat of all the individual sounds that make up the snare and bass drum sound. I listened to it the other day to get a sound off it and it was weird hearing the 10 or so sounds that made up the snare then the comp with the fx. Fun days for sure !!


Here is another snippet, regarding work he did on Shania Twain’s records.


Well Shania’s vocal sound takes a lot of bouncing and re-bouncing really. In a song like “you’ve got a way” she obviously sang it kinda breathy but in order to get that sound in the whole song took a lot of work. Again with Mutt it is just gonna take as long as it takes to get the sound so for all the vocals on that record (and others with him) I would automate the eq on every consonant/syllable and I did it on that record using the SSL automated eq that they built fot the G console. We had a J so we bought a G+ computer to slave off the smpte of the J so we could run the G+eq!!!. there are 2 eq’s in one package so I could go out of one and into the other so that I could safely seek out some horrid frequency one one consonant and leave the other eq for the following sylable!!!!!! It was mindnumbingly laborious but was the only way to get rid of masking frequencies in the upper mids and find the area to boost etc.

This would take a day or so per song and as silly as it sounds, really helps. Mutt’s opinion is that it’s the only way to make the vocal be extra loud and not have offensive frequencies. It’s just sold over the 40 million sales mark internationally and he believes that songs and sound are important , so it’s whatever it takes on both accounts. There wasnt a lot of LA2 that works for her and riding the vocal into the track would take about a day…we would ride every nuance to give more charachter.

Respect My Time

It’s potentially a good experience to see a movie at the theater. These days a good theater has the sound and visuals together, is generally clean, and some of them have great popcorn. The audience is a variable, though usually not a major problem.

But when you tell me the movie starts at 7:00 and then pump me full of advertisements for 30 minutes before getting to the movie you’re effectively adding around 20% to the amount of time it costs me to go. That’s disrespectful. I understand and enjoy a few minutes of trailers. It’s a good time to get acclimated to the environment, and gives the late arrivers a chance to get settled so they don’t ruin the movie for everyone, but after 10 to 15 minutes of that it simply becomes annoying.


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