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Old 3rd January 2011
  #12
I think there was a fork in the road somewhere in the 90's, when Grunge music arrived on the scene and a lot of the producers were unknowns, "guys that did the demos" suddenly producing million selling albums. Add to that indie rock and its often child-like "naive charm" (off timing and flat vocal pitching is suddenly totally OK and accepted as "endearing") I think this new batch of producers and the new audience they recorded for were able to get past the velvet rope of A&R departments 'acceptability' a lot of material that would previously been deemed 'technically unacceptable' or 'unlistenable to..'

Distortion seems popular all over the world, we like it for our guitars in the West and the Bollywood film industry in the East is surely wealthy enough to afford vocal chains for their recordings that are clear and undistorted - but Indian film music soundtracks seem to favour a distorted vocal that sounds like its suffering from a 1950's style technical error..!

Pop and dance music genres favour the 'mashing up' of sounds. A pop producer of mine once observed - if you start with a distorted drum loop - the temptation is to keep pile-ing on the distortion on everything else just to match it or "make it gel" - a slippery slope - but one that bands like The Prodigy have been supremely successful sliding down.

Whats my point?

It looks like anything goes, perhaps what is new is that over the last few decades or so, the global pop / rock audience for various reasons has grown USED to extreme distortion and audio "mangling"..

Perhaps in a sea of distortion a clean recording stands out now?

I dunno..

But anyway.. Lets raise a glass both to the early pioneers of distortion and also to those able to make "clean" hi fidelity recordings!

Its ALL good...