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Post by percussion boy » Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:01 pm

Colin F. wrote: . . . its become quite easy to surpass low quality and even mid-quality recordings of say 15 to 20 years ago. On the other hand, its harder than ever to be a professional as the amount of WORK involved in producing something which is generally deemed as "professional" is greater than ever.
That about covers it.

Part of the issue -- and I'm not sure if this was Colin's thinking or not -- is that it's easier to get the professional sound with professional gear, room treatment, engineers (and maybe even musicians)-- a package most musicmakers can't afford to rent without help from Big Brother (aka Warner/Sony/et al).

It's great that with a digital rig we can surpass your typical half-assed local studio, circa 1982. On the other hand, some day we may want to hear the Abbey Road/Columbia/Rudy Van Gelder sound applied to some new music, and those places and people will be extinct.
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Post by swelle » Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:50 pm

I had been worrying about where music was gonna go for quite awhile - about the glut of music on the market. I work part-time at a label and you should see the boxes of unopened demos, most will probably never be heard.

Then I saw the Stax/Volt Live in Norway dvd, or that video of The Band, and I thought "A-ha! Be a really good live band." I think that's ultimately the answer.. you can't fake that with pro-tools, and it's definitely the way the separate the wheat from SO MUCH chaff. Recording for me will remain a beloved hobby, but I think I should put the energy where it counts most: performance.

But I live in a big city with a bunch of clubs, so that's an option - maybe not so for some folks.

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Post by bannerj » Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:32 pm

Some of my favorite sounding records are home recorded. Some of the stupidest and worst sounding records I've ever heard are home recorded.

AND

Some of my favorite sounding records are done in professional studios. Some of the stupidest and silliest and most annoying sounding records were done in professional studios.

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Post by GooberNumber9 » Wed Feb 06, 2008 10:22 pm

swelle wrote:Be a really good live band."
I believe that for musicians this is the only way to really do something great. I'll add one thing, though: write really good songs. Great song and great performances are what it's all really all about. All the business stuff is secondary to those two critical elements of music. Without good music performed well, there's nothing to sell.

I think many bands have gotten it in their heads that a recording is the goal of being a musician. Maybe it's a record contract they are looking for or maybe they are trying to save up to make their own record. How many times have we all seen a mediocre band play some gigs, save up money, pay a huge amount for a semi-pro (or worse) recording, and then break up when they can't sell more than 100 or so copies of the CDs to their friends?

So tons of people can make decent sounding recordings in their bedrooms, and the only problem is that just because they can doesn't mean they should. I think anyone can be a great musician if they just put a huge amount of hard work, heart, and dedication into it. Sadly I think most people miss the forest for the trees and try to shortcut the process by writing down the first thing that comes to their heads, then gigging and recording on it without practicing and refining it, and then they are surprised and disappointed that they don't make it big (or even make it medium-sized).

Not to hack on musicians too much. I'm guilty of the same thing. Never spent $5000 recording my own album, at least.

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Post by JGriffin » Wed Feb 06, 2008 10:32 pm

GooberNumber9 wrote:
swelle wrote:Be a really good live band."
I believe that for musicians this is the only way to really do something great.
I've said it before: forty years after Sgt. Pepper's and over fifty years after the advent of tape music, and we're still thinking of music just in terms of live bands? How incredibly limiting.
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Post by JGriffin » Wed Feb 06, 2008 10:34 pm

GooberNumber9 wrote:Great songs and great performances are what it's all really all about.
This, though, I agree with, except I will substitute "songs" with "compositions."
"Jeweller, you've failed. Jeweller."

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analog. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." ? Brian Eno

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Post by Colin F. » Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:19 am

dwlb wrote:
GooberNumber9 wrote:
swelle wrote:Be a really good live band."
I believe that for musicians this is the only way to really do something great.
I've said it before: forty years after Sgt. Pepper's and over fifty years after the advent of tape music, and we're still thinking of music just in terms of live bands? How incredibly limiting.
This is a great point.

In terms of recordings, has anyone really tried to surpass the ambitions of The Beatles, or just emulate them?

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Post by centurymantra » Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:49 am

****I just read my post and need to more eloquently state this babbling/rambling at a later date****


:)
Last edited by centurymantra on Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by centurymantra » Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:56 am

GooberNumber9 wrote:
swelle wrote:Be a really good live band."
I think many bands have gotten it in their heads that a recording is the goal of being a musician. Maybe it's a record contract they are looking for or maybe they are trying to save up to make their own record. How many times have we all seen a mediocre band play some gigs, save up money, pay a huge amount for a semi-pro (or worse) recording, and then break up when they can't sell more than 100 or so copies of the CDs to their friends?
GooberNumber9 wrote: I think anyone can be a great musician if they just put a huge amount of hard work, heart, and dedication into it. Sadly I think most people miss the forest for the trees and try to shortcut the process by writing down the first thing that comes to their heads, then gigging and recording on it without practicing and refining it,
As an addendum and sidenote to what I just said, these are excellent points.
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Post by thethingwiththestuff » Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:12 am

dwlb wrote:
GooberNumber9 wrote:
swelle wrote:Be a really good live band."
I believe that for musicians this is the only way to really do something great.
I've said it before: forty years after Sgt. Pepper's and over fifty years after the advent of tape music, and we're still thinking of music just in terms of live bands? How incredibly limiting.
well....yes, actually. that was 50 years ago. can we move on please? no, it doesn't mean it's nly way to do something "great" but it's the only way to provide a valued, uncopyable experience.

there's definitely value in "expertise" that can get forgotten about in a DIY culture. "jack of all trades, master of none" seems to apply here, but i certainly think DIY can encourage more and more people to develop a deep knowledge of many disciplines, and usually they'll eventually specialize in something.

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Post by fossiltooth » Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:34 am

dwlb wrote:
GooberNumber9 wrote:
swelle wrote:Be a really good live band."
I believe that for musicians this is the only way to really do something great.
I've said it before: forty years after Sgt. Pepper's and over fifty years after the advent of tape music, and we're still thinking of music just in terms of live bands? How incredibly limiting.
Good point, but I feel the need to defend swelle's idea on this one. All you have to do is strike the word "band" from his argument and the connotations it brings up in your mind.

Regardless of what the future of progressive music brings, putting on a compelling, confident, mesmerizing and spontaneous performance will always be crucial... So long as human beings are playing music together. For instance, if you ever see a really talented "name" DJ spinning, you'll notice they're just as much of a stunning musician as anyone else worth remembering, and the audience feeds off of that. When you see electronic musicians who just idly sit behind their laptops crafting abstract noise in a completely random and un-engaging way, chances are you're seeing an opening act that is boring you to tears.

Good electronic musicians understand musicianship, and the idea of a group of humans who are good at what they do, feeding of of eachother. These days a lot of electronic musicians and DJs are taking a tip from "bands" and including another live musician or two in their sets.

When it comes to jazz or chamber music or funk or rock or whatever future music comes along, playing well together is among the most important things in the world. That doesn't mean everyone should be mastrubatory chopsters. It just means that they should listen and rehearse in a meaningful way, and become a cohesive musical unit.

I'll never deny the importance of great songs.... but songs are nothing until some musicians make them come alive. Until then, they're just abstract ideas... and trust me, even the greatest songs can be made to suck.

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Post by JGriffin » Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:43 am

thethingwiththestuff wrote:
dwlb wrote:
GooberNumber9 wrote:
swelle wrote:Be a really good live band."
I believe that for musicians this is the only way to really do something great.
I've said it before: forty years after Sgt. Pepper's and over fifty years after the advent of tape music, and we're still thinking of music just in terms of live bands? How incredibly limiting.
well....yes, actually. that was 50 years ago. can we move on please?
So by "move on" you mean "move backwards."
"Jeweller, you've failed. Jeweller."

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analog. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." ? Brian Eno

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Post by centurymantra » Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:56 am

Regarding the whole live performance vs. recorded music debate, it seems like the Tapeopper community here would all understand and agree that they are entirely different experiences. While not mutually exclusive, they certainly stand aside and apart from each other. Someone stated earlier that the ONLY way for a musician to do something of value was to put on a great live performance. I couldn't disagree with this more. If I went to go see a poet read his work and he came off like a total dweeb, would that discount the fact that I was highly inspired and moved by the words he put to paper? Yeah, that's a slightly stretched analogy but not at all off the mark. Some of the greatest music in my collection is purely a studio creation that was never intended to become a live performance...like the Brian Eno records I just dug out recently that happen to constitute some of my favorite and timeless recordings As far as I?m concerned, there is absolutely nothing wrong with music that cannot or will not ever be performed live. Recorded productions and live performances are pretty much exclusive and different experiences in my book. The best recorded music is a sonic painting...a rendering and interpretation of songs and music in the creator's head. When I go see a band , the last thing I want to see is someone that ?sounds just like their CD?. I hope to see those songs maximized, or stripped down, or stretched out and re-shaped or otherwise transformed.
Now, I do love live music and there is a point in time where I practically lived for it, but it has never been my primary source of musical enjoyment. Plus...how many live shows can one really go see in a year? What about people who live in areas where live music simply doesn't happen? What about the folks with families or busy lifestyles that don't have time to go out and see live music all the time? If it weren't for recorded music, these people simply would not experience music. Live shows are special events...and yes, they can be VERY special, but listening to music at home is a continual source of comfort and enjoyment.
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Post by swelle » Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:39 am

My earlier comment about the live performance vs. records was not to dismiss recording at all... Obviously I can't have Sinatra crooning in my ears as I walk to work, but I can have his records. It was just a personal revelation for me: with this current massive glut of recorded music fighting for the listener's attention, just one way to split from the pack is to really focus on live performance, and don't worry so much about recording. Good live bands attract attention, and that attention might lead to a genuine record deal with a real record company, rather than trying to foist hastily produced CDR's or myspace files on the public. I'll continue to work on demos with my 488, because I enjoy recording and also as a way to document a song's development; but I'm not going spend all my time crafting the next Smile.

That said, the first Streets album is exactly the opposite approach, and worked amazingly for him. To each his own.

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Post by E-Rock » Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:41 pm

The bit I find most interesting is the 'good' aspect of labels that are going away.
Bands don't get to just be bands anymore. You don't see bands have a chance to grow and mature like when a label is paying.
I'm just sayin' we will NEVER see another band like the Beatles, with as much time in a great studio to create and learn.
Now, this may go against everything you belive in, and it did lead to bands like Steely Dan :) but you have to admit, I think everyone hear would be a better artist/musician/engineer if they had more TIME.

I'm am all for the democratization of anything. "Power to the People" is what I always say, but I think it's true that the 'level playing field' has lowered the quality standard by a mile. Maybe it's just a transitional state though, maybe as 'the people' get better with their tools, the quality will start to go up.

It's funny, as I finish typing this, I remember that I have a bunch of music right now, done by people I know in basements all over, that I LOVE.
Does it sound killer? Eh... sort of, sometimes.
Does it make me happy? Hell yeah!

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