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July 21st, 2006


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11:24 pm - ATTN: Charles Douglas!
Yeah? You're really Charles Douglas? Do you swear, Scout's honor?

Alright then. 'sup, Chuck?

I don't actually think you suck. At all. Really. But I'm not in love with your cover of She's An Angel, and as I said in that post, I think it has more to do with the style of production than it has to do with talent or musicianship. I dunno, it sounds unpolished and underproduced to me. And those things are so easy to fix in the studio that I know the problem can't possibly be a lack of musical ability on your part.

Your cover of She's an Angel is a prime example of a minimalist approach to sound engineering that's really popular right now, but which I don't like. To me, modern rock records sound like they're trying to replicate the sound of a live band; the playing is messy and the vocalists often hit the wrong pitches. Yes, obviously, this is what happens when human beings play music. Nobody's perfect all the time, but the nature of recording makes it possible to cut together the perfect parts of eleven takes (or 60 takes or 283 takes or whatever) to create the perfect track. And after that's done, you can add the perfect reverb and the perfect filters and the pitch correction. No, it's not a "pure" sound. But it's an ideal sound. And I've been raised on rock records that reflect this, from the extremes of meticulous production (The Beatles, Boston, Frank Zappa) to production that practically strives only to protect your speakers from the raw sounds (The Circle Jerks, Green Day).

The underproduction I'm describing seems to be most favored by indie bands, and I assume that they're eschewing slick, artificially-enhanced recordings in favor of a product that sounds more raw and spontaneous. I can see the artistic appeal of that, but to me it's like getting a really high quality bootleg, minus the audience reactions and banter between songs. Clearly it's a matter of taste. Maybe this is how you want to sound, but to me it seems lazy. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check around the web for other reviews from other people you've never met. Maybe the problem is mine. It wouldn't be a popular style if nobody liked it.

Re: Your version of She's an Angel:

Having given it a few more listens, I like it quite a bit more than I thought I did when I wrote that review, and I'm not just saying that. The whole thing still sounds a little apathetic to me, but nothing about the performance is sloppy. My issues are all about what happened with the song after the recording was finished. I don't really know what it is, but something (besides the accordion) is missing. On the other hand, if you're taking offense to all of this, keep in mind that you're a professional musician with actual, genuine fans and a track on the TMBG tribute album. I'm just some guy with a livejournal and questionable taste in music (seriously dude, my top five includes Blue Öyster Cult and Information Society, and I think Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell are the most detrimentally toxic forces in music today. What the hell do I know?).

For the record, though, I really do think that The Wrens -- whom I'm actually pretty fond of -- dropped the ball on They'll Need a Crane. I guess I'm still deciding on the tracks by David Miller and This Radiant Boy.
Current Mood: uncomfortableprobably making enemies with professional musicians

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 22nd, 2006 07:28 am (UTC)

now i make soothing purring sounds

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yes no i pretty much agree with all your points on the production issue. to be honest i hate that kind of "no production" production too, but my guess is it's more an issue of lack of funds and too little studio time than anything else... Wait a minute, I sound ALMOST rational here!!!! Something must be WRONG!!!!! Time to do more DRUGS and have another chaotic mental BREAKDOWN!!!!!!!

okay now I'm feeling better. As to the issue as to whether I am really Charles, I certainly believe that I am, and I think that is what counts here. And Charles is not even really Charles, as I believe he is some writer what writes teen thrillers under another name!

but i do love your blog and that is why i posted, and i actually agree with your points. i do find that the more i listen to the TMBG tribute the more i like it. the wrens track took me a while to get into, but i do really love it for its creepy, crawly vibe, and the fact they took a big chance.

but back to RAVING like a MADMAN, which is really what i do best!!!!! Yes, Information Society, I remember them. As for Eddie Vedder, yes he is a MONSTER, horrible talentess MONSTER that belongs back pumping gas, or perhaps fronting a hair band. I hear that he has a hideous voice and no talent, and i literally mean, i HEAR that every time the radio spews out one of his abysmal dirges. WHY does the world like this man and his band? He killed Kurt Cobain!!!!!

So now i must frolic back to my hole like the titular gnome in Syd Barrett's song "The Gnome"! grimble gromble, grimble gromble...
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:July 25th, 2006 03:32 am (UTC)

Re: now i make soothing purring sounds

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Oh, all right. You're forgiven. Everybody's forgiven. Even The Wrens, although I still don't like their version of They'll Need a Crane. There's no reason I can't be an inflexible jerk about it.

But as to production, well, is it really a matter of money, or is it a matter of personal taste? I'm asking because I honestly don't know. Based on my own non-professional sound-editing experience, it seems to me that anyone with even a low-end software package can create some pretty decent tracks if they have the patience to figure out what they're doing. Maybe people like the sound I describe as "minimalist", "cheap", and "raw". There's no accounting for taste, I guess.
[User Picture]
From:defaultlisa
Date:July 22nd, 2006 08:47 pm (UTC)
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InSoc still has a pretty decent internet presence. One of my old high school friends is partially responsible for that-- gar, it sucks to lose track of people.
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:July 25th, 2006 03:14 am (UTC)

Welcome to Peace & Love, Inc.

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Those of us who are me are still embarrassingly into InSoc. How is your friend related?
[User Picture]
From:defaultlisa
Date:July 25th, 2006 04:27 pm (UTC)

Re: Welcome to Peace & Love, Inc.

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I am not actually sure how/when he met Kurt Harland. I know that he helped them somehow (with album cover design, maybe?) for Peace and Love, Inc., but he was a big fan of theirs for years before that.

Nick is one of the people credited on a link of computery-type people off the main page of the InSoc site.

[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:July 25th, 2006 05:34 pm (UTC)

Re: Welcome to Peace & Love, Inc.

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Wow. Congrats on your brush with somebody else's brush with greatness.
[User Picture]
From:defaultlisa
Date:July 25th, 2006 06:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Welcome to Peace & Love, Inc.

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:-P
It's just what I automatically think of when that band is mentioned.
ATTN: Charles Douglas! - Garmonbozia for the soul.

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