Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Revelations At The Threshold (from an Auralphile)

Realizing that my stubbornness to DIY with every aspect of the music process, from self taught musicianship(?) to my new obsession to "single handedly end the loudness wars and iTunes standards of disposable music" via the mastering process (among other things), is, well, a little too zealous and impractical. The Mastering learning curve is going to be quite a long one, as was the process of learning how to "just get by", as many a multitude seem to be doing. I have two distinct feelings because of this revelation; relief in the fact that putting so much on my shoulders is unrealistic and therefore somewhat obsessive, but also an endearing ambition to still obtain a collection of songs that are against the grain in terms of finished "product" (i shudder at this term's implication). This is propelling me to step back and try and be as objective as possible, which turns out, is the primary job of a mastering engineer. Here are some recent revelations:

  1. I (once again) obsessively listen to music at the same volume "knob" position, yet even with my eclectic tastes in genre, era, and source quality (mp3 dub, local musicians cdr, high end remasterd consumer CD, ect.), ALL the Good sounding music seems to not be critically louder or softer from the next. Obviously this is because the Good* sounding music is impacting me because of dynamics (& emotion) and NOT LOUDNESS* *both terms Good and Loudness are revealingly VERY subjective.
  2. Although I'm lacking conventional experience and some vital pieces of gear, I can, with my same due diligence, create Masters that sound great in their own right, therefore subverting the competition reflex which is killing modern music.
  3. My essential MANTRAS of "it's all about the song" and "LISTEN" are still going to get me a lot further than my skills alone, as I've proven to myself before with any musical endeavor I take on. I mean, I can't sing or play, but I've still managed to affect a handful of people whose opinions I greatly respect... and most of all have given myself satisfaction.
  4. My DIY can SHINE even more now than ever, by being innovative and industrious with my techniques and practices to essentially make MY MUSIC sound like MY MUSIC, period.
If I can slow down my eagerness a little and focus on doing these simplistic things, by staying centered in my passions for the songs but objective about their technical polish, then I believe I can deliver an album that sounds good to me and my obsessive auralphile* self! And hopefully that is a good enough standard so that other like minded people can enjoy my music as well. Oh, and also the fact that I'm gearing my mastering for VINYL format should be a perk to those like me.

*I use the term (made up/coined?) Auralphile, because in the end I don't really care about the extreme OCD technical details of Audio, I just care about how the SOUND OF MUSIC MAKES ME FEEL! AND to boot, the word aural is also defined as "of or pertaining to auras"! So yeah, I'm an Auralphile !