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Low's Double Negative sound is awesome. Production info ? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 17th April 2019
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
routine's Avatar
 

Low's Double Negative sound is awesome. Production info ?

If you had not check Low's latest album, you should it is brillant and has an amazingly bold production.
BJ Burton produced it. He's also the man behind Bon Iver's 22, a Million.
The album features great use of distortion and lo-fiying tricks and yet it is still clear and balanced. i'd really want to know more about its production.

Anyone here has any info about it? How did they achieve those sounds?

Old 17th April 2019
  #2
I haven't seen any exact production details from Low or Burton, but to me, it sounds like most of the album was tracked as Low albums normally are, with extreme post-production. For example, on the track you posted above, the drum definitely sounds like Mimi Sparhawk's floor tom with some of the crazy side-chaining that happens elsewhere on the album.

Drums and Guns, their album from a little over a decade ago, also experiments quite a bit with electronics, but not as successfully as Double Negative. I would probably listen to that one a lot more if it didn't have the super hard-panning.
Old 18th April 2019
  #3
every song was kind of approached differently. we made it over a span of about a year doing no more than 3 day sessions at a time. once i found a pocket for the production to breathe in, I’d have them track vocals to whatever the pallet was at the time. and sometimes it would change multiple times.

as far as distortion, I used a bunch of different things..including clipping digital converters. I’d then back that down as I mix all analog. I got a lot of **** from mastering engineers, so I ended up mastering it myself...those guys are so scared. but if it sounds good, and the soul is there, then it will translate. no rules
Old 18th April 2019
  #4
ill answer any specific questions you got. I guess I just don’t know where to begin
Old 18th April 2019
  #5
Dancing and Blood’s pulse is from feedback of a delay started by a low frequency sine wave. I grabbed that, looped it, and began building other elements without sacrificing the room of the original pulsing feedback. even the lead vocal is treated relative to the pulse via sidechain
Old 18th April 2019
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
routine's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noize919 View Post
every song was kind of approached differently. we made it over a span of about a year doing no more than 3 day sessions at a time. once i found a pocket for the production to breathe in, I’d have them track vocals to whatever the pallet was at the time. and sometimes it would change multiple times.

as far as distortion, I used a bunch of different things..including clipping digital converters. I’d then back that down as I mix all analog. I got a lot of **** from mastering engineers, so I ended up mastering it myself...those guys are so scared. but if it sounds good, and the soul is there, then it will translate. no rules
What a wonderful surprise to read you ! Soul is exactly what I sense through you production. From this album as well as Bon Iver’s. Thanks for that premium first hand info.

Those distortions you dialed are soulful. They breath.
Were you tracking with the bold processing in head (or even with some processing while tracking) ?
Bunch of different things ? Would you share some of them with us?
Old 18th April 2019
  #7
yeah, a lot of distortion came from various amplifiers. Also a culture vulture was next to me
most of the time...but the most interesting distortion comes from the side chain compressor having a too fast a track or release time..and it begins to not know when to grab. And that’s where you can actually dial it to feel right based on timing.
Old 18th April 2019
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
routine's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noize919 View Post
Dancing and Blood’s pulse is from feedback of a delay started by a low frequency sine wave. I grabbed that, looped it, and began building other elements without sacrificing the room of the original pulsing feedback. even the lead vocal is treated relative to the pulse via sidechain
Looks like You were involved in the writing of the songs. Were you?
Old 18th April 2019
  #9
arrangement and structure of the songs shifted as I unlocked the musical elements...as far as words and the melodies, that’s Low. they are from another world.
Old 18th April 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
 
ToddF's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noize919 View Post
arrangement and structure of the songs shifted as I unlocked the musical elements...as far as words and the melodies, that’s Low. they are from another world.
I am a huge Low fan and admit I haven't checked out the new album yet.
I will check it out asap.
Not sure if we have met? Let me know if you ever want to check out my studio.
Best Todd
Old 18th April 2019
  #11
would love to see your spot..I love api
Old 18th April 2019
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
routine's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noize919 View Post
yeah, a lot of distortion came from various amplifiers. Also a culture vulture was next to me
most of the time...but the most interesting distortion comes from the side chain compressor having a too fast a track or release time..and it begins to not know when to grab. And that’s where you can actually dial it to feel right based on timing.
Do you mean preamps? Desk amps? Guitars amps you reamped synths and drums with?
Old 18th April 2019
  #13
Lives for gear
 
filterfreak's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noize919 View Post
every song was kind of approached differently. we made it over a span of about a year doing no more than 3 day sessions at a time. once i found a pocket for the production to breathe in, I’d have them track vocals to whatever the pallet was at the time. and sometimes it would change multiple times.

as far as distortion, I used a bunch of different things..including clipping digital converters. I’d then back that down as I mix all analog. I got a lot of **** from mastering engineers, so I ended up mastering it myself...those guys are so scared. but if it sounds good, and the soul is there, then it will translate. no rules
That´s what I love gearslutz for! Thank you for giving us some insight in your production techniques!
Old 18th April 2019
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by routine View Post
Do you mean preamps? Desk amps? Guitars amps you reamped synths and drums with?
used guitar amps for a lot of things on the in...mostly drum machine, and well, guitar. but everything kind of went through different phases of distortion as I’d manipulate in post. i have tape machines, guitar pedals, cassette decks. it’s sort of whatever I feel like using a the time to
get the sound that resonates most with me in the moment. weed helps with that too
Old 18th April 2019
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
routine's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noize919 View Post
used guitar amps for a lot of things on the in...mostly drum machine, and well, guitar. but everything kind of went through different phases of distortion as I’d manipulate in post. i have tape machines, guitar pedals, cassette decks. it’s sort of whatever I feel like using a the time to
get the sound that resonates most with me in the moment. weed helps with that too
Can we list weed as gear used on the record?

Side question : are you living in europe or in a complete insomnia as you are answering our questions at now?
Old 18th April 2019
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Nigel99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noize919 View Post
used guitar amps for a lot of things on the in...mostly drum machine, and well, guitar. but everything kind of went through different phases of distortion as I’d manipulate in post. i have tape machines, guitar pedals, cassette decks. it’s sort of whatever I feel like using a the time to
get the sound that resonates most with me in the moment. weed helps with that too
Fantastic work. The record blew my mind when I listened to it.

My wife generally steers clear of distorted and avante garde forms but she really appreciated it too. Such a soaring musical statement. Bravo!
Old 18th April 2019
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Love the album too! Does Alan use Red Panda pedals? Thought I saw some on stage once.
Old 18th April 2019
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by leighzi88 View Post
Love the album too! Does Alan use Red Panda pedals? Thought I saw some on stage once.
Yes, he does. the Particle
Old 18th April 2019
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noize919 View Post
I got a lot of **** from mastering engineers, so I ended up mastering it myself...those guys are so scared. but if it sounds good, and the soul is there, then it will translate. no rules
I wish I saw more responses like this on GS. I'm sure folks in the Mastering forum would have a 50 page debate about how it's all wrong and you didn't do things the way you're "supposed to." And yet here you are with credits for easily one of the best records of last year. Big fan of your work and I think this has so much to do with it. I worry about how much bull**** stigma so many beginners probably get drilled into their heads reading these forums from folks who simply don't have the guts to veer away from the safety of what they are comfortable with. Thanks so much for being here and shedding some light on this amazing album!
Old 19th April 2019
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
routine's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noize919 View Post
every song was kind of approached differently. we made it over a span of about a year doing no more than 3 day sessions at a time. once i found a pocket for the production to breathe in, I’d have them track vocals to whatever the pallet was at the time. and sometimes it would change multiple times.

as far as distortion, I used a bunch of different things..including clipping digital converters. I’d then back that down as I mix all analog. I got a lot of **** from mastering engineers, so I ended up mastering it myself...those guys are so scared. but if it sounds good, and the soul is there, then it will translate. no rules
What scared them so much?
Old 19th April 2019
  #21
Gear Head
 

Amazing production. First time I heard tracks from this release I was blown away. It turned my head. Not much music does that to me these days. Truly fresh.
Old 19th April 2019
  #22
Double Negative is a modern masterpiece in my opinion. Tempest is one of the most devastating, beautiful songs I've ever heard. Low has been one of my favorite bands for the better part of two decades. They are one of those rare bands that is prolific and enduring with a truly original sound that evolves in interesting ways with each release.

@ Noize919 - what processing was done to the manipulated vocals in Tempest? I love the way it sounds.

Here's one of my favorite Low performances, a nearly 30-minute rendition of a song from their early years, Do You Know How To Waltz?:
Old 19th April 2019
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by routine View Post
Very inspiring production, consider me a new fan.
I really like the use of amplitude modulation throughout, walking the line between ring mod and tremolo. That could be done with a modular synth, or pedals (my favorite being the Moogerfooger Ring Mod and Fairfield Circuitry's Randy's Revenge).
Old 19th April 2019
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by stopthesignal View Post
Double Negative is a modern masterpiece in my opinion. Tempest is one of the most devastating, beautiful songs I've ever heard. Low has been one of my favorite bands for the better part of two decades. They are one of those rare bands that is prolific and enduring with a truly original sound that evolves in interesting ways with each release.

@ Noize919 - what processing was done to the manipulated vocals in Tempest? I love the way it sounds.
a lot of processing was done..including harmonies by the H8000...but everything got hit to a cassette deck pretty hard, and then captured back in clipping digital converters. I believe a messed with the tape speed by slowing it down a little. that song travels back and forth through my tape print and a dry, no saturation mix.
Old 19th April 2019
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by routine View Post
What scared them so much?
the overall level, digital distortion..they all wanted to make sure it played back on spotify “correctly” with their algorithms. but i have faith that my productions will be around a lot longer than a spotify algorithm..so I’ll go with that.
Old 20th April 2019
  #26
This thread is really great, I've been really digging that album.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #27
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noize919 View Post
ill answer any specific questions you got. I guess I just don’t know where to begin
man well done on the album.
its easily the most interesting production ive heard in a long time.
pressing play and hearing that first track kinda reminded me of hearing loveless for the first time

so wtfs going on in that first track?
how did you create that distortion and get it to move the way it does?
whats going on with the compression?

and considering the forum.... synths, samplers or drum machines on the album?

cheers
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
Here for the gear
 

Wow, amazing to actually see how one of the best albums of last year got recorded. Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions.
Love the sound of the record a whole lot.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by smacca View Post
man well done on the album.
its easily the most interesting production ive heard in a long time.
pressing play and hearing that first track kinda reminded me of hearing loveless for the first time

so wtfs going on in that first track?
how did you create that distortion and get it to move the way it does?
whats going on with the compression?

and considering the forum.... synths, samplers or drum machines on the album?

cheers
thanks..the first track deals with a lot of negative space via sidechaining. A lot of it is a drum machine being sent to some sort of distortion pre fader, and then muting the dry of the drum machine. I do this a lot. Sometimes the sound of an organic or even sampled drums really kick me out of it.

I wanted the first track to kind of feel like you're falling, or like something you would find after the end of the world..and you dug it out of the ground.

As far as compression, I used a few different hardware compressors in mix via summing mixer. I believe I used that Black Box HG2 as well, as I was trying it out that month. I use compression a lot, always wary of the timing. If it feels good, then I roll with it. I rarely even look at the GR meters.
Old 1 week ago
  #30
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noize919 View Post
thanks..the first track deals with a lot of negative space via sidechaining. A lot of it is a drum machine being sent to some sort of distortion pre fader, and then muting the dry of the drum machine. I do this a lot. Sometimes the sound of an organic or even sampled drums really kick me out of it.

I wanted the first track to kind of feel like you're falling, or like something you would find after the end of the world..and you dug it out of the ground.

As far as compression, I used a few different hardware compressors in mix via summing mixer. I believe I used that Black Box HG2 as well, as I was trying it out that month. I use compression a lot, always wary of the timing. If it feels good, then I roll with it. I rarely even look at the GR meters.
Went to listen to the new album after falling on this thread. Hadn't listened to Low since maybe 1999/2000. Wow, very nice job man the album sounds great!

I'll try a more personal question: Where did you learn your skills? Did you receive a formal training or did you just messed around and used a process of trial and error over time? Just trying to get some tips for beginners like me...
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