The Obligatory Fake-Out Lo-Fi Intro, is it Cliche Yet?

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A-Barr
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The Obligatory Fake-Out Lo-Fi Intro, is it Cliche Yet?

Post by A-Barr » Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:44 pm

How many records have you heard (or made) that start out with a drastically bandpassed version of the mix for a few bars only to be "blown away" by the full-spectrum mix?

What is up with this?

Is it another loudness wars technique to get you to turn up the stereo so the album "sounds louder?"

Is it an attempt to lower the listener's expectations to make the regular mix sound better by comparison?

Is it just a power trip by the band/mixing engineer who enjoy f**king with the average clueless listener or to show off their "technical prowess" in the studio?

To me, it comes across as a "your fly is down - made you look!" technique, a low blow with no artistic merit. Having said that, it seems just as limiting to abolish a technique from the repertoire just because it has been used before.

Discuss! :D

...sorry if I sound like a curmudgeon (I am one, though) but it's a rainy Monday and I'm getting over a weekend of vomiting for no apparent reason.

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Post by inverseroom » Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:50 pm

I intend to have ten seconds of glorious full spectrum ROCK at the beginning of my next record, followed by 45 minutes of transistor radio static.

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Post by ??????? » Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:52 pm

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Re: The Obligatory Fake-Out Lo-Fi Intro, is it Cliche Yet?

Post by JGriffin » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:03 pm

A-Barr wrote:Is it another loudness wars technique to get you to turn up the stereo so the album "sounds louder?"

Is it an attempt to lower the listener's expectations to make the regular mix sound better by comparison?

Is it just a power trip by the band/mixing engineer who enjoy f**king with the average clueless listener or to show off their "technical prowess" in the studio?

To me, it comes across as a "your fly is down - made you look!" technique, a low blow with no artistic merit. Having said that, it seems just as limiting to abolish a technique from the repertoire just because it has been used before.
I think it's that the band thinks it sounds cool, and either they haven't heard it done before and aren't aware that it's getting on towards clich?, or they've heard if before on a song they really dig and want to ape that trick. I never really thought of it as any sort of fakeout. Perhaps I'm not as cynical even though it is Monday.
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Post by Smitty » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:15 pm

for the most part i'm over this, but Title Track off Death Cab For Cutie's We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes still works for me, for some reason.

i like that the effect lasts a whole verse... makes it feel less like a cheesy gimmick.
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Post by A-Barr » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:22 pm

Interesting responses, got some real Andy Kauffmans in the crowd! I would like to do an entire album bandpassed and at -12db, then for that one last chord, ka-BLAM! :D

I guess it's not that big a deal, I mean if 1-4-5 can still do the trick after 400 years, what's a little fake-me-out on a record here and there?

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Post by Marc Alan Goodman » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:22 pm

Check out the opener to Barkmarket's album L Ron. I think they kinda finished off the whole technique with that intro. It's perfect.

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Post by theBaldfather » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:22 pm

To me it's the same as going down to a mono guitar in the verse or bridge and then exploding with 4 huge tracks in the chorus. Dynamic mixing seems to be more important than ever now that the mixes are getting crushed at the final stage. It probably is getting cliched, but there are a limited number of ways to make the current forms of music sound dynamic while being super squashed. Actually, that could be a whole other post in itself..
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Post by signorMars » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:24 pm

i think it was a cool effect at first, but it seems like now it's used as a gimmicky way to create dynamics that weren't there in the arrangement. I don't think it's a fakeout most of the time, just an effect. certainly getting to be cliche though.
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Post by palinilap » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:31 pm

Smitty wrote:for the most part i'm over this, but Title Track off Death Cab For Cutie's We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes still works for me, for some reason.

i like that the effect lasts a whole verse... makes it feel less like a cheesy gimmick.
Yeah, that was really well done.

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Post by kayagum » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:37 pm

The only time this ever worked for me was Minor Threat's classic cover version of Stepping Stone.

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Post by kdarr » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:38 pm

This is a total cliche', yes, but I don't think the point is to cover up poor engineering skills. It's just a simple use of (albeit heavy-handed) contrast to grab the listener's attention. An experienced engineer's ears will recognize this as the hokiest shit ever, but maybe it still works on an "untrained" listener? Who knows.

Let's face it, cliches are cliches because they WORK. They work so well, in fact, that they get completely run into the ground. I think this particular cheap trick really reached burnout-level saturation during the nu-metal/post-grunge rock era - it's pretty frickin' easy to slap a lo-fi plugin on that mono guitar riff before you drop the mutes on everything else and get all macho with your 16 tracks of 7-string guitars.

My favorite example of this technique is still probably Minor Threat's cover of "Stepping Stone," where the bandpass filter is slowly opened up through the course of the intro and first verse, and the full bandwidth pops out just in time for the chorus. I love that song.

[<|>]

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Post by kdarr » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:39 pm

kayagum wrote:The only time this ever worked for me was Minor Threat's classic cover version of Stepping Stone.
oh, snap. you totally beat me to the punch, kayagum!

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Post by centurymantra » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:47 pm

I hadn't thought of this as a worn-out cliche until reading this thread, but it is a good point. . That being said, I think it does depend on the context, etc. M. Ward sort of does this and it's usually to pretty great effect, so that's at least one exception in my book.
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Post by Smitty » Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:51 pm

kdarr wrote:slap a lo-fi plugin on that mono guitar riff before you drop the mutes on everything else and get all macho with your 16 tracks of 7-string guitars.
centurymantra wrote:M. Ward sort of does this and it's usually to pretty great effect
i just tried to imagine what the combination of those two would sound like. whoa!
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