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The "Please experiment!" imperative
Old 14th May 2007
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

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The "Please experiment!" imperative

As I wrote in an earlier post, I spent a couple of days watching you and Mitchell work at the Magic Shop almost a decade ago. I learned a lot, but mostly came away affirming my own basic mindset: Music is amazing! Songs are putty and can be contorted into many valid shapes! Sound is fun! Wheee!

I have been reading your posts and your repeated imperative "Please experiment!" And it makes me smile. This is pretty much what I learned watching you work: you're just constantly trying things. You're always in the moment. You don't pretend to have The Answer.

However, I am sure you have noticed that a lot of the people who have written you on this forum are seeking formulas, recipes, and maps.

These people want to know precisely which settings you use, what gear you use, how exactly you use it, etc. I am sympathetic. I'm not putting these people down. I was the same way. I remember being younger and coming to the session and hoping to learn exactly the same things. WHAT, SPECIFICALLY, ARE TCHAD BLAKE'S METHODS?!? WHAT GEAR DOES HE USE TO GET THOSE CRAZY SOUNDS!!?! WHERE DO YOU SET THE KNOBS SO THAT MAGIC COMES OUT OF THE SPEAKERS?!? WHAT ARE THE SECRET TRICKS AND HOW CAN I DUPLICATE THEM?!?

I'm not saying that I didn't learn some technical things --- I did --- but mostly I learned a philosophy! What I learned was very profound: there is no method! Tchad Blake is just a guy who has good taste, likes to experiment, and most importantly trusts his own ears!

In my opinion, this is what sets you apart. Most of the engineers in the world do not possess these traits. Most people in this world pursue a formula or a regimen.

Would you agree with this assessment? Would you agree that confidence is essential to being a good engineer?

In my experience, the people whose work excites me the most are the people who have the least fear. This is true for all things: music, art, literature, film, even politics.

Would you agree?
Old 16th May 2007
  #2
mongrell mixer
 
tchadb's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
As I wrote in an earlier post, I spent a couple of days watching you and Mitchell work at the Magic Shop almost a decade ago. I learned a lot, but mostly came away affirming my own basic mindset: Music is amazing! Songs are putty and can be contorted into many valid shapes! Sound is fun! Wheee!

I have been reading your posts and your repeated imperative "Please experiment!" And it makes me smile. This is pretty much what I learned watching you work: you're just constantly trying things. You're always in the moment. You don't pretend to have The Answer.

However, I am sure you have noticed that a lot of the people who have written you on this forum are seeking formulas, recipes, and maps.

These people want to know precisely which settings you use, what gear you use, how exactly you use it, etc. I am sympathetic. I'm not putting these people down. I was the same way. I remember being younger and coming to the session and hoping to learn exactly the same things. WHAT, SPECIFICALLY, ARE TCHAD BLAKE'S METHODS?!? WHAT GEAR DOES HE USE TO GET THOSE CRAZY SOUNDS!!?! WHERE DO YOU SET THE KNOBS SO THAT MAGIC COMES OUT OF THE SPEAKERS?!? WHAT ARE THE SECRET TRICKS AND HOW CAN I DUPLICATE THEM?!?

I'm not saying that I didn't learn some technical things --- I did --- but mostly I learned a philosophy! What I learned was very profound: there is no method! Tchad Blake is just a guy who has good taste, likes to experiment, and most importantly trusts his own ears!

In my opinion, this is what sets you apart. Most of the engineers in the world do not possess these traits. Most people in this world pursue a formula or a regimen.

Would you agree with this assessment? Would you agree that confidence is essential to being a good engineer?

In my experience, the people whose work excites me the most are the people who have the least fear. This is true for all things: music, art, literature, film, even politics.

Would you agree?
Thanks for all that.
I can't tell you about most engineers but I've worked for lousy ones where I still learned a whole lot, about what not to do, and I've worked for some who were brilliant and inspiring.
Everybody has fear, even the people who seem fearless. It's a management issue.
The only thing that's important in work is attitude, gear and technique take a backseat.
Old 17th May 2007
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Sonya, funny, I had an almost identical experience as yours with Tchad. In '99 I sent the only fan letter I have ever written in my life to him after having the jaw dropping experience of figuring out that 5 seemingly disparate records that I was completely obsessed with at the time (Kiko, Cibbo Matto, Soul Coughing, Dandy Warhols, Sheryl Crow) had all been tracked and or mixed by Tchad. He was generous enough to invite me to breakfast and a visit to the Magic Shop for a day. Your description of being there pretty much nails it for me as well. Rather than any particular tricks or gadgets, I walked away with the sense of adventure and openess mixed with incredible musicality that Tchad brings to his work as the real trick up his sleeve. I suspect you could put him in any studio in the world with any random combination of gear and it would result in a pleasing piece of work consistent with the rest of his body of work.
In the few occasions that I have been lucky enough to be in the same room as someone of that I would consider to be a "genius", I have always been struck by this open mindedness and sense of adventure. This allows them to put themselves in the way of opportunity to a much higher degree than normal folk like myself.
Tchad, I am glad to hear of your happy life in England and ongoing productivity! Thanks for the considerable time and energy you have given to Gearslutz, you have been most generous!

Best,
Larry Heinemann
Blue Man Group, NYC.
Old 17th May 2007
  #4
mongrell mixer
 
tchadb's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Heinemann View Post
Sonya, funny, I had an almost identical experience as yours with Tchad. In '99 I sent the only fan letter I have ever written in my life to him after having the jaw dropping experience of figuring out that 5 seemingly disparate records that I was completely obsessed with at the time (Kiko, Cibbo Matto, Soul Coughing, Dandy Warhols, Sheryl Crow) had all been tracked and or mixed by Tchad. He was generous enough to invite me to breakfast and a visit to the Magic Shop for a day. Your description of being there pretty much nails it for me as well. Rather than any particular tricks or gadgets, I walked away with the sense of adventure and openess mixed with incredible musicality that Tchad brings to his work as the real trick up his sleeve. I suspect you could put him in any studio in the world with any random combination of gear and it would result in a pleasing piece of work consistent with the rest of his body of work.
In the few occasions that I have been lucky enough to be in the same room as someone of that I would consider to be a "genius", I have always been struck by this open mindedness and sense of adventure. This allows them to put themselves in the way of opportunity to a much higher degree than normal folk like myself.
Tchad, I am glad to hear of your happy life in England and ongoing productivity! Thanks for the considerable time and energy you have given to Gearslutz, you have been most generous!

Best,
Larry Heinemann
Blue Man Group, NYC.
Hey Larry, nice to hear from you. THX for the words, I hope this note finds you well enough.
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