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UnNatural Perfection (and the end of rock)
Old 13th November 2009
  #1
Registered User
 

UnNatural Perfection (and the end of rock)

We're not the only ones who've noticed:


The Death Of Mistakes Means The Death Of Rock - Monitor Mix Blog : NPR

Now, the question is- instead of always passing the buck, how much can music professionals (us, you, etc...) claim some responsibility, and help reverse the trend (and embrace imperfection, otherwise know as human-ity).

Cheers...
Old 13th November 2009
  #2
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mexicola's Avatar
 

That's a great article. I couldn't agree more!
Although I think the unethical digital editing of music is a symptom of a larger problem in our culture. Which is that we've become obsessed with portraying perfection at the expense of reality.

Although when a majority of the population thinks that a make believe deity is real, and that the reality of scientific evidence is make believe, it's not hard to see why reality would be the first thing to go out the window in popular art.
Old 13th November 2009
  #3
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Michael_Joly's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by russchapman View Post
...
Now, the question is- instead of always passing the buck, how much can music professionals (us, you, etc...) claim some responsibility, and help reverse the trend (and embrace imperfection, otherwise know as human-ity).

Cheers...
You ask a fundamental metaphysical question. The most important one facing music-makers today. Questions surrounding file sharing pale in comparison. Because if we don't figure out how to leave life in music instead of digitally killing it, the metaphysical value of music will decline to a point where there will be no value in it left to share.
Old 13th November 2009
  #4
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

To be fair, the Beatles would never have gotten away with that as unknowns. The idea that music can be "too perfect" is complete B.S. in my opinion.

I think the problem with today's overproduction is that too many people don't understand how sophisticated music really is in terms of pitch and time combined with not understanding how listener bias and a lack of objectivity can make one completely deaf to imposing cures that create a worse problem than the original disease.
Old 13th November 2009
  #5
Registered User
 

Bob, I'm not quite following. Could you perhaps frame your point / perspective in terms of your motown experience?

Regards.
Old 13th November 2009
  #6
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RBowlin's Avatar
 

I saw an interview with James Taylor recently. He said he preferred to record with his band, all at once, as opposed to an endless stream of overdubs. He said that there's just a chemistry when everyone plays together that's not there otherwise. I agree.

While I agree that music played by musicians cannot be "to perfect" I do think that the desire to set everything on the grid can suck some life out of a track. That and the loudness wars.

I guess I'm just getting old.

-Rich
Old 13th November 2009
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
To be fair, the Beatles would never have gotten away with that as unknowns. The idea that music can be "too perfect" is complete B.S. in my opinion.

I think the problem with today's overproduction is that too many people don't understand how sophisticated music really is in terms of pitch and time combined with not understanding how listener bias and a lack of objectivity can make one completely deaf to imposing cures that create a worse problem than the original disease.
Beauty! Tis not editing per se, but the editor(s) not understanding what to heed to not accidentally kill the life in the music while drawing symmetrical uselessness on the screen..........but then why would it be any different to players. A player, to be a really good one, has to first be able to hear/feel the desired result inside to aim for it and hit it. Same with editing, but sadly doesn't seem like many envisage very musically interesting results.......it's making a performance and takes an understanding of what makes one of those work.
Old 13th November 2009
  #8
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PMoshay's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RBowlin View Post
I guess I'm just getting old.
if age has anything to do with it all, then why is everyone trying to emulate the sound of gear and style from the 50's-90's.

Seems like 80% of the plug-in's people are putting out are emulating the past or just copying it.

Please pass along some of your old wisdom.
Rupert Neve is still kicking ass & taking names and people don't consider his age...... only what he is doing.
Old 13th November 2009
  #9
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I remember reading about Brian Eno's set of cards he created to add substance to music, random suggestions and points of views/concepts about the creation process. An aesthetic.

One that popped out at me, and started making more and more sense was to "embrace the mistake" , let is shine, make IT pop out in a song. I've never looked back since I decided I liked the idea, and over the last few years I've tried to paint pretty things around mistakes, something that says, "Yes, it's wrong, but SO right"....almost like the "wonderful mistakes"...(LOL) were the featured stars in a movie. Probablly sounds weird, and some friends of mine who I share music with will point out the ovious "flaws" in
this song and that one, while others will say how much they loved the feeling or bluntness of the same thing.

I guess it's all about what people find important about music. Oviouslly, it takes things to be overdone to death before even average listeners call bullshit, not to mention the folks who actually consider music a priority and have been insulted by it going on for so long because of this industry standard haze.
Old 13th November 2009
  #10
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by russchapman View Post
We're not the only ones who've noticed:


The Death Of Mistakes Means The Death Of Rock - Monitor Mix Blog : NPR

Now, the question is- instead of always passing the buck, how much can music professionals (us, you, etc...) claim some responsibility, and help reverse the trend (and embrace imperfection, otherwise know as human-ity).

Cheers...
never fear. This is a very healthy underground rock scene in stoner and garage.... all true to form. rock is a long way from dead - it just may not be mainstream anymore...... and who wants to be mainstream.No money!!
Old 13th November 2009
  #11
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mexicola's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
The idea that music can be "too perfect" is complete B.S. in my opinion.
This statement is complete B.S. in my opinion.
Old 13th November 2009
  #12
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mexicola View Post
This statement is complete B.S. in my opinion.
I'll have to go with Bob here, as the perfection doesn't measure in how close to a grid of squares it is, but how close to the maximum expressive potential.
Old 13th November 2009
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

There are a lot of factors at play. A big one, I feel, and it isn't limited to the rock genre, is that many recording musicians these days are just simply not as skillful/original/expressive as in past years. There are more people in the recording process, ourselves included of course, that get too absorbed in minutae (e.g. a flammed drum/guitar beat) and maybe don't ask questions like--does it groove?
Old 13th November 2009
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
To be fair, the Beatles would never have gotten away with that as unknowns. The idea that music can be "too perfect" is complete B.S. in my opinion.

[...]
With all (clearly) due respect, I'd say that their tracks struck me back then as incredibly sloppy, and their earliest recordings are the most staggeringly shoddy sounding. Granted, they were already making a name for themselves in Hamburg when they were recorded.

But there's no lack of sloppy pop recordings from the era. At the time, I was more inclined to listening to pop, jazz and bossa nova (and, as a junior audiophile I had a perhaps unhealthy addiction to those big fat VV Command Performance records), so what passed for production precision in the rock world seemed a lot closer to me to the field and other informal recordings I often heard on the folk music shows I listened to on the radio. It wasn't just the Beales, the whole Brit invasion and a lot of the American rock and teen pop of the era seemed pretty sloppy to me. (I think that was one of the things that helped set Motown apart -- they brought a level of professional sheen to things, relatively speaking, anyhow.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
[...]I think the problem with today's overproduction is that too many people don't understand how sophisticated music really is in terms of pitch and time combined with not understanding how listener bias and a lack of objectivity can make one completely deaf to imposing cures that create a worse problem than the original disease.
With that, I couldn't agree more. I'm pretty interested in pitch issues relating to our not always comfortable relationship with the harmonic imprecisions imposed by the 12 Tone Equal Temperament system and folks who just automatically drag every note to the grid lines because they think that's "perfect" drive me a little batty (even when they do it without the clumsy retuning artifacts so often present in today's pop). Ditto with timing.

If we go back to your no such thing as too perfect position, it's probably worth considering that perfection may not look perfect at all seen through the crude lens imposed by a lack of understanding of precisely what the tradeoffs are in terms of true harmonies vs equal temperament. Not to mention a rigid and unfeeling approach to the time grid that would have been laughed at by all but the squarest of non-swingers in the 30s.


About that too perfect passage:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
I'll have to go with Bob here, as the perfection doesn't measure in how close to a grid of squares it is, but how close to the maximum expressive potential.
When I first read the isolated no such thing as too perfect quote, I was leaning to Mexicola's reaction. But then I looked at what Bob was saying in the context of his other comments and decided that it seemed to be more your take than a paean to rigid grid-style 'perfection.' Of course, Bob is perfectly capable of speaking for himself... heh But that was ultimately my nuanced take on that part of his statement, too.
Old 13th November 2009
  #15
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steelyfan's Avatar
 

I never had a problem, and still don't, with Steelydan's music sounding so perfect because it was a perfection to be admired, it is just fantastic music wonderfully recorded and performed . The human element in their work outshines the perfection, the accuracy of the production adds value to the sound.

But today's computerized music production makes even Steelydan sound like a "loose groove". LOL. ...... I don't know anyone who can just use a computer to capture, and not be tempted by it's other OPTIONS.
Old 13th November 2009
  #16
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Preach to the choir. I remember probably 20 years ago, there ere guys in NYC making records on cheesy gear (some people think is good enough) but all they could get in warehouse space on the far West side, getting big names in, recording rehearsals that went to records hat sold. No extra tweaking and the gear was pretty much crap. Then there were guys buying the good stuff and way overproducing the living dog-stuff out of decent music, ruined it, "too slick" well beyond taste. There weren't computers and plugins in use other than midi interfaces and they were overdone too. Audio computers were still way too buggy to use much. Some found a way to ruin things anyway and it was usually by overdubbing absolutely everything, syncing drums to a linndrum unit and replacing the real drums, just totally unnecessary shit. Singers that couldn't sing didn't have a prayer until they learned how to sing IF they bothered, most didn't.
Now you can turn shit into shinola, or can you?
It looks like you turn shit into what passes for a short term as shinola, but, when everyone can do it, there ends up being mostly shit masquerading as shinola and no real shinola around. After a bit, something begins to stink. When people figure out it's their jam, they avoid it, first they avoid paying for it, then they avoid it at all.
Rock band is heavily used and I BET one reason why is because you don't actually get judged for not being able to actually play, ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY CULTURE cultivation warning. Stressing importance of Personal score over ability is cultivating the death of civilization.
There is been a physicist who has figured out how to create a time machine to go back into the past and there is a working model of the guidance system part set up, it only goes back as far as the date the guidance system was set up, which would be in the last 4 years, it was apparently easy to make, no moving parts, just cleverly aimed mirrors. No kidding, this is real.
If people from the future figure out how to build the actual transport part of the machine, and determine that 2012 is the year that the zero accountability culture hit critical mass, they could conceivably, however far fetched or "nutso" it may sound, send an emissary back to destroy the earth for what it may do under such guidance.
And we own a great big chunk of that.
Old 13th November 2009
  #17
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memphisindie's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razorfish View Post
There are a lot of factors at play. A big one, I feel, and it isn't limited to the rock genre, is that many recording musicians these days are just simply not as skillful/original/expressive as in past years. There are more people in the recording process, ourselves included of course, that get too absorbed in minutae (e.g. a flammed drum/guitar beat) and maybe don't ask questions like--does it groove?
Or, "if I fix where it losses the groove does it lose or even destroy something?"
Once something works as is we need to ask ourselves, "does it really NEED anything more?" and when the answer is "NO" leave it alone and send it out to the next stage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
With all (clearly) due respect, I'd say that their tracks struck me back then as incredibly sloppy, and their earliest recordings are the most staggeringly shoddy sounding. Granted, they were already making a name for themselves in Hamburg when they were recorded.

But there's no lack of sloppy pop recordings from the era. At the time, I was more inclined to listening to pop, jazz and bossa nova (and, as a junior audiophile I had a perhaps unhealthy addiction to those big fat VV Command Performance records), so what passed for production precision in the rock world seemed a lot closer to me to the field and other informal recordings I often heard on the folk music shows I listened to on the radio. It wasn't just the Beales, the whole Brit invasion and a lot of the American rock and teen pop of the era seemed pretty sloppy to me. (I think that was one of the things that helped set Motown apart -- they brought a level of professional sheen to things, relatively speaking, anyhow.)
What era of motown because they had a lot of preproduction. I am not against preproduction and performers/artists/those being recorded having the "chops" to pull off their parts with flair, not just barely pull them off like they do now.
Quote:

If we go back to your no such thing as too perfect position, it's probably worth considering that perfection may not look perfect at all seen through the crude lens imposed by a lack of understanding of precisely what the tradeoffs are in terms of true harmonies vs equal temperament. Not to mention a rigid and unfeeling approach to the time grid that would have been laughed at by all but the squarest of non-swingers in the 30s.
Bang on.

Old 13th November 2009
  #18
Lives for gear
I want to no more about the time machine! Do you have a link?

Thanks
Old 13th November 2009
  #19
I think we all understand that click tracks are the problem!
Old 13th November 2009
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Funk View Post
I want to no more about the time machine! Do you have a link?

Thanks
You bet... my eyes did one of those Warner Bros cartoon eye-pop-out-on-springs things when I read Memphis' contention that there's a workable time machine out there...

Even Wired hasn't covered that one, I don't think. At least, not coming to the same conclusion...
Old 13th November 2009
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
I think we all understand that click tracks are the problem!
No... you're not thinking deep enough. Clearly, time itself is the problem... I think we're on to something here.

The ultimate time correction would clearly be to manipulate the time-space continuum to fit the music -- bing! -- no artifacts.

heh
Old 13th November 2009
  #22
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memphisindie's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Funk View Post
I want to no more about the time machine! Do you have a link?

Thanks
I wish I did, but, I saw it on the history channel. There is no link, but, the professor stated that by trapping a photon in a set of cleverly aimed mirrors you can keep it trapped forever and all others that come behind it, until you turn it off by removing all light sources. This creates a fixed point in space and time which is the marker for the farthest point back you can travel, so, if you made one today, tomorrow you could go back to today but no further back, but, you wouldn't be stuck with travelling all the way back, you could travel to any point in time trapped there between.
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
You bet... my eyes did one of those Warner Bros cartoon eye-pop-out-on-springs things when I read Memphis' contention that there's a workable time machine out there...

Even Wired hasn't covered that one, I don't think. At least, not coming to the same conclusion...
The guy who invented it is one of the most highly respected physicists of out time, but, there is no link.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
I think we all understand that click tracks are the problem!
I bet you thought I was going to bring this to being your own grandpa.
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
No... you're not thinking deep enough. Clearly, time itself is the problem... I think we're on to something here.

The ultimate time correction would clearly be to manipulate the time-space continuum to fit the music -- bing! -- no artifacts.

heh
Oh, that's good, if I can also be my own grandpa, I'm in, all the way in.
Old 13th November 2009
  #23
Shy
Lives for gear
 

It's funny that people think artificially "accurate" and sterile tracks should be considered "perfect". Since when is monotony and pure pitch considered perfection? It's considered crap in most circles, believe it or not. The performance has to have feeling or it's worthless. That's how it is in all non-pop crap musical genres, from real rap, to classical, to Indian ragas.
Old 13th November 2009
  #24
RTR
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RTR's Avatar
...The people on here bitching about it are the same ones making/recording/mixing the crap...Hey I'm going to go build a house but then turn around and complain about everyone else doing it
Old 13th November 2009
  #25
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTR View Post
...The people on here bitching about it are the same ones making/recording/mixing the crap...Hey I'm going to go build a house but then turn around and complain about everyone else doing it
Not anymore, thank you. Couldn't stomach any more shinola games myself.
Old 13th November 2009
  #26
Gear Addict
 
RBowlin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by steelyfan View Post
I never had a problem, and still don't, with Steelydan's music sounding so perfect because it was a perfection to be admired, it is just fantastic music wonderfully recorded and performed . The human element in their work outshines the perfection, the accuracy of the production adds value to the sound.

But today's computerized music production makes even Steelydan sound like a "loose groove". LOL. ...... I don't know anyone who can just use a computer to capture, and not be tempted by it's other OPTIONS.
I fully agree. But being tempted is one thing; succumbing to that temptation is something else.

-Rich
Old 13th November 2009
  #27
Gear Guru
I guess there's a first time for everything, so I'm going to disagree with Mr. Olhsson.
The "imperfections", the things that rub a bit, are at the heart of the emotional appeal of music.

Knowing the difference between "feel" and "mistake" are crucial. Ringo lagging in "Rain" is a great example. I would hate to hear that get "fixed".
Old 13th November 2009
  #28
Here for the gear
 

I think that what a majority of those here are more disappointed with is not that use of technology to create identical polished turds in pop music but the fact that a majority of the listening public now has been so dumbed down that they refuse to accept what we consider to be "artistry" in dynamic range.

A friend of mine always said during our recording sessions "let it ride, imperfection is art." I've always said "the sign of a true artist is knowing when to stop." I find these to be true in all forms of expression.

There are still plenty of artists making music with dynamic range, slight imperfection indicative of expression, and truly beautiful arrangement and production. They just won't attain "pop" status. I think that's just fine.
Old 13th November 2009
  #29
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PRobb View Post
...Knowing the difference between "feel" and "mistake" are crucial...
That is actually my point. I just refuse to call them imperfections or mistakes because they aren't.
Old 13th November 2009
  #30
On the aforementioned time machine...
Quote:
Originally Posted by memphisindie View Post
I wish I did, but, I saw it on the history channel. There is no link, but, the professor stated that by trapping a photon in a set of cleverly aimed mirrors you can keep it trapped forever and all others that come behind it, until you turn it off by removing all light sources. This creates a fixed point in space and time which is the marker for the farthest point back you can travel, so, if you made one today, tomorrow you could go back to today but no further back, but, you wouldn't be stuck with travelling all the way back, you could travel to any point in time trapped there between.

The guy who invented it is one of the most highly respected physicists of out time, but, there is no link.

I bet you thought I was going to bring this to being your own grandpa.

Oh, that's good, if I can also be my own grandpa, I'm in, all the way in.
Oh... don't you mean the Bogus History and Imaginary Science Channel? heh

I think I remember a time when the History Channel wasn't chockablock with unfounded historical theories, silly conspiracy fantasies, and bogus documentaries... but that was a long time ago.

Maybe if I had that time machine I could go back and check... heh

Seriously, it's degenerated to a sort of tabloid-TV, National Enquirer level of pseudo-journalistic malpractice, it seems to me.
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