The art of the "Album"
Rothko
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#1
15th May 2011
Old 15th May 2011
  #1
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The art of the "Album"

Hi Phil, long time listener, first time caller...

Given the fact that people can go onto itunes now and buy 'New Grass' for $0.99 and forget the rest of Laughing Stock completely, or at least listen to it totally out of context, I am particularly interested in your approach to recording from the album point of view... Did it matter to you where on the album something was going to occur in how you approached it and would it still matter to you now given the current way of things?

I mean, with Hollis for example how much are you (and he) factoring into your decisions about sounds and sonic relationships in their emotional effect on the album as a whole at the tracking stage or even the pre-production stage? Do you think about this at all?

I ask because you make so much use of the room as an instrument, I wonder are you saving certain aspects of it or choosing only to highlight certain aspects of it for certain effects in an album context or is the overall "album" something that really comes into play more in the mix?

Also, just for fun, what is the most technically "wrong" thing you have ever done to get THE sound? Anything that a "professional" engineer would tell you NEVER to do?

Thanks, Ben
#2
16th May 2011
Old 16th May 2011
  #2
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Originally Posted by Rothko View Post
Hi Phil, long time listener, first time caller...

Given the fact that people can go onto itunes now and buy 'New Grass' for $0.99 and forget the rest of Laughing Stock completely, or at least listen to it totally out of context, I am particularly interested in your approach to recording from the album point of view... Did it matter to you where on the album something was going to occur in how you approached it and would it still matter to you now given the current way of things?

I mean, with Hollis for example how much are you (and he) factoring into your decisions about sounds and sonic relationships in their emotional effect on the album as a whole at the tracking stage or even the pre-production stage? Do you think about this at all?

I ask because you make so much use of the room as an instrument, I wonder are you saving certain aspects of it or choosing only to highlight certain aspects of it for certain effects in an album context or is the overall "album" something that really comes into play more in the mix?

Also, just for fun, what is the most technically "wrong" thing you have ever done to get THE sound? Anything that a "professional" engineer would tell you NEVER to do?

Thanks, Ben
Side one of Spirit of Eden was recorded in order. I can't remember about Laughing Stock, but I think we only put it all together in the mix - but Mark may have had a running order. Ideally both albums should be listened to in order - we took a great deal of time to get the gaps right etc.
As its common now to just select individual tracks, I guess that's the way it is. Not a fan though.
On both Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock - we had no demo's, no pre-production - just drum patterns. After recording these we then 'tried' loads of instruments. Just keeping the bits we liked. It was slowly constructed - we did not know where it would lead. We set ourselves 'limitations' - no EQ - changing mic's and sounds to get what we wanted. It was on SoE that we really got into the distant mic'ing thing. We were always aware of the 'sonic' relationships - even though we did not have an overall plan - all sounds (mostly mono) are at source - mixing was just about levels (the odd tweak of EQ - usually removing 190 as Wessex had a 'hump'. For FX we had an EMT plate, an old valve spring and a DDL - that's all.

I'll have to think about the last bit.... I've often been told 'you cant do it that way' - take no notice, break the rules.
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