Tuesday, January 4, 2011

on 'Producing' music in 2011

Here I am, for the first time in my life, putting the finishing touches on a music "studio" I feel very lucky to have. Granted, this is merely a remodeled room in our home, but it is not 1) a closet, 2) a spare room with NO functionality, OR 3) some $lavish$ "industry standard" space I'll spend the rest of my life paying off. It is a Home-Studio of a different kind... it's not the sum of products & assumptions that Guitar Center nor MTV Cribs have sold me. It is the sum of (un)common sense and necessity...let me explain:

As always I've stripped away rhetoric, pompous declarations and naivete to get down to the core of what EVERYONE truly needs to yield QUALITY* recordings. Of course I could have sprung for a standalone building with a gazillion track mixer, separate control room and live room, $2,000 dollar mics, and Pro Tools... all of which are more than appropriate to get you to your end goal. But the fact remains; you put all of that in the hands of an incompetent, product driven producer or otherwise uncreative person and you get...well, the POP(fizzle) product that the masses consume.

So what separates the ultra loud (compressed), digital product line from a QUALITY* recording? I RESOUND: ART. LIFE. MUSICALITY. DYNAMICS. A TALENT FOR MAKING PLEASING RECORDINGS THAT SATISFY THE BIGGER PICTURE!

These things are not acquired by shelling out $ or following every trend or contradictory comment in your favorite online "recording forum". Like most things in life I believe you have to pull back, view the WHOLE of your ambitions in their proper context and then practice practice, learn learn learn.

I believe I've been successfully doing this for some time. Sure, I have a TON more to learn, but I am more rapidly evolving with every recording and newly employed tidbit of wisdom. Basically I've simply identified the essentials needed to make the BEST decisions in what is a totally subjective discipline, and I have secured those things.

All that's left is to apply my OWN vision and artistic sensibilities (which are constantly evolving from enumerable sources) with the confidence that my "brush strokes" will be intelligible to all the different ears that listen.

In a nutshell: I want to FEEL what the performance is conveying, and be transported to a place beyond identifiable constructs of time and space...I WANT TO BE INSIDE THAT RECORDING...whether i feel like I'm on a dusty porch recollected in 8mm grain with a raspy toe tapping blues man, or front and center in a world class Live Room hearing every well pronounced transient snap and pop of drums, buzz of bass frets, and tube gristle guitar fuzz...I want everything to cease to exist except the vibrations being transmitted to me in a timecapsule (hopefully a vinyl record, but nothing wrong with a thoughtfully rendered CD)!

*Quality Recordings- In my opinion a quality recording can vary widely, but should always possess an organic and full of life dynamic, putting THE SONG and THE TALENT in the best light obtainable. It doesn't matter if it's a fully analog chain (always a nice treat!) or if it's a digitized reproduced (field?) recording from a single mic in a room...AS LONG AS THE FIDELITY WORKS WITH THE FEEL OF THE PERFORMANCE CAPTURED AND DOESN'T LIMIT OR DISTRACT FROM IT, well that's a quality recording that will hold up play after play, infinitely.