Aesthetics of home recording

Get that song on tape! Errr... disk?
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mbene085
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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by mbene085 » Mon Dec 21, 2020 11:53 am

Yep, totally agree.

I, however, am still in a place where I sometimes make the wrong call when tracking. I'm working on it.

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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by jorri » Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:45 am

Ive definitely found use of both the ways.

Re-amping with a band playing live is how ive done it a few times. The band just play and then can affect the sounds after, through any amp.
Plus of course drums, vocals and etc reamping js required if doing things the 'real way'.

I track in decent environments. The rehearsal studio i use is a large live room or an old ex-school hall. I realise many arent available for people as in the city all the rehearsal studios are 6x smaller for the same cost!
But in terms of performance i find it distracting especially bring equipment band packing down.

At home sometimes its ok, but i dont know about these isolation boxes, ive heard they are...boxy. and some point of a 'good room' is 'good reflections' including a room mic, not 'no reflections.' so it doesnt really give me the genre-appropriate "right sound" even if it may for some.

The idea of DIing it all then taking it to be reamped by someone is some idea. I shall see what the virtual amps can do and perhaps with some feedback some elements may be improved.. In their case you get the recording right simply out the pedalboard. The result is you stop thinking "how do i mic the amp" and instead "how do you build the song" then the plugin can be changed whilst all elements are there so better decisions can affect the 'whole'. Better changing an amp model than destroying with mixing eq.

Also, sometimes i dont even use the amp sim. DI sounds can work well sometimes. If the aim is not having a guitar be a guitar, such as pad-like reverbs or ambient loops.

Likewise perhaps some heavily distorted rhythm guitar or a clean lead or a dirty breakup sound benefit differently from real amps vs simulations.

There are also other reasons perhaps, such as how i dont have a wall of Fender tube amps. I have a cheap solid state and i have it because its more ideal live to handle fx and loops.

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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by jorri » Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:52 am

**
The solution in such situations to reamp ime have been that a rough-micced amp is used for monitoring purposes. For sure, if this whole responding to the amp sound is necessary and is useful?

I tend to respond more to my fx. Im a shoegazer. But sometimes the feedback could be important. But more often the amp is like a barrier to the fx.

Most other styles of guitar may respond to amps. Of course i do a bit of that sometmes.

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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by Professor Bill » Wed Dec 23, 2020 9:35 am

I'm intrigued by the idea of setting rules as you mention – it reminds me of Eno and David Byrne using “Oblique Strategies” for creative decisions (which is available as an app). It's also, a little bit, like the way we surrender some control in a collaboration with other humans, to the end of creating something we couldn't do alone. The technology and the system becomes willful collaborator (or we can imagine is as such -- the scholar writes about this in terms of “actor-network theory” – sorry, I'm an academic – wherein the relationships between humans and the social/natural/technological world are credited with innovations (he writes about scientific method) rather than individual humans. All the other pieces (the room, the DAW, the instruments) are “actants” alongside the human.

I'm also intrigued by what happens in the decision to work entirely “in the box.” It can be a solution to a problem (i.e, a poorly treated or untreated room) or it can be a limitation that is embraced, sparking new creative solutions.

All this reminds me of Spencer Tweedy's observation in his book “Mirror Sound” that, in home/self-recording, writing, performing, engineering, mixing, rewriting, retracing, and remixing can all happen simultaneously, which can produce a different kind of end product. In some instances, I have attempted to recreate the sound of a “real band” (to greater or lesser success) and in others, I'm interested in seeing what else is possible when that is no longer the referent.

***

seenoevil II wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 9:54 am
Word vomit warning.

With the music young people are making, actual live performance (in recording) is nearly extinct (edit: experiencing a marked decline) outside of certain genres. And I'm talking about arty indie heads. In pop music it's been 99% protools, logic, and ableton for decades now.

It's a cycle. You start with imaginary bands out of expediency, but then you actually like it and other people like it and want to copy it.

3 acts that really inspired me to go full drum machine were:

They Might Be Giants (first 3 records). For them, it's definitely a sound. They had pretty rudimentary tech even for 1990 standards. Apollo 18 is fascinating to me as it seems to be as far as they could take the midi band concept.

Toro Y Moi. This guy seems to vacilate between live performance and the machines. Underneath the Pines is a masterwork of live bedroom music. It's all real instruments (including a Nord), all played by him with the only mics being sm57s (supposedly). The charming roughness was obscured by a thick fog of echos and verbs and modulation. Then the very next record was a masterful electronic album of samples and curated drum machine sounds with a very hi fi sound. By this time he had a live band for some years. So for the next record, he took them in and tracked live (though probably quantized).

Chairlift had one album I really love. 2011's Something. That album really inspired me make music fully in "the box." It changed the way I thought about making music from a efemoral thing that you capture then polish, to a static, almost tangible work that you can infinitely manipulate. From a photo, to a painting. Idk why on earth that particular album did it for me when there are infinite other examples of the same thing.


In 2015, I started a project that performed solo. I really liked the idea of a drum machine being brought to an art rock, punk setting. Like Psycho Killer in stop making sense, or if Peaches made loops for Jonathan Richmand or something. The recordings would be pretty similar too. Just those same drum machine tracks, the guitar part, vocals, and a quiet synth bass that can only play roots (by law). IDK if it's been a success really. For the 2nd and 3rd releases, I learned enough about drum synthesis to stop relying on a 909 patch in Logic and make my own samples with analog modeling synths. But while they sound really good solo, they lack the depth and impact of the real thing. The result being that those recordings sound a bit high-passed and tinny.

There are people out there who turn up to gigs alone with a laptop and have a whole symphony emerge from the PA. They bug me somewhat as they'll use AI drummers. I'm a drummer, and I've worked with drummers, so I respect them by programming that midi to be realistic, but also obviously fake. Advertising that this is a janky, electro zombie drummer and not the real thing.

There are other people who show up with an iPod and 100% of their weird weird sound comes from that.

Lastly, there was this lady. She's really cool and sweet. She makes this bit pop, chip toon music that is very expansive and beautiful. She performs with a laptop running ableton and a midicontroller with all sorts of pads. I've watched her play live several times now. I swear to God, the controller is doing nothing. I've never heard a wrong note, or seen something that she definitely triggered with the controller. I swear, she's up there just hitting keys and buttons as her finished track plays. Nobody calls her on it, because her pantomime is really committed, but I find it hilarious.

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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by seenoevil II » Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:40 am

Professor Bill wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 9:35 am
What I'm really into is the level of abstraction that occurs when you go all digital (or even analog). The concrete drummer with the infinite variability of performance, the physics of sound etc. become the abstraction of the drum machine. Time keeping, which was previously a purely biological phenomenon agreed upon by humans, becomes an arbitrary function of a clock chip. Still further, when you emulate or sample the drum machine, the cultural unit that was once physical object becomes a prototypical abstraction of that object. The bass drum becomes the sine wave, synth becomes the Tr-808, becomes the 808 patch, becomes the symbolic meme in the minds of producers and, at a subconscious level, the layman listener.

The same thing happens to every aspect of recording. Especially analog gear. The physical pedal that you physically plugged-in becomes a abstracted "plug-in" that lives in the metaphorical realm of the DAW. The tube screamer was abstracted into a prototypical circuit that was first cloned in the physical realm, then in the digital realm. Rhodes pianos, Wurlitzers, mic preamps. They've all become elements of hypermedia. When all are made available through digital emulation and the listener and producer have access to a corpus of recorded material to relate and refer to, these digital abstractions of gear become words in a language of expression.

I'm really into this concept. Just don't take it without citing me.

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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by Professor Bill » Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:50 am

Absolutely, all credit to the source and to your line of thinking. I'm fascinated by it, as well, even if, for my own projects at least and for now, I've been more interested in songs than in sonics. Both are cool.

And all this seems very much in line with media theory in general, as it develops from theorizing of the postmodern (Baudrillard, Eco, &al) signs become free-floating, unmoored from their referents (and we've been living with this in politics for some time, too of course, although not all uses are nefarious).

I guess an interesting question could be how this shift (analog to digital) differs in fundamentals or in degree from the shift from live performance to recording of any kind, in which microphones altered the experience of sound in space, and when even 4-track recording created new possibilities. Is digitization an evolution or a radical break?

Cheers.


seenoevil II wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:40 am
Professor Bill wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 9:35 am
What I'm really into is the level of abstraction that occurs when you go all digital (or even analog). The concrete drummer with the infinite variability of performance, the physics of sound etc. become the abstraction of the drum machine. Time keeping, which was previously a purely biological phenomenon agreed upon by humans, becomes an arbitrary function of a clock chip. Still further, when you emulate or sample the drum machine, the cultural unit that was once physical object becomes a prototypical abstraction of that object. The bass drum becomes the sine wave, synth becomes the Tr-808, becomes the 808 patch, becomes the symbolic meme in the minds of producers and, at a subconscious level, the layman listener.

The same thing happens to every aspect of recording. Especially analog gear. The physical pedal that you physically plugged-in becomes a abstracted "plug-in" that lives in the metaphorical realm of the DAW. The tube screamer was abstracted into a prototypical circuit that was first cloned in the physical realm, then in the digital realm. Rhodes pianos, Wurlitzers, mic preamps. They've all become elements of hypermedia. When all are made available through digital emulation and the listener and producer have access to a corpus of recorded material to relate and refer to, these digital abstractions of gear become words in a language of expression.

I'm really into this concept. Just don't take it without citing me.

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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by Professor Bill » Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:54 am

Or for that matter, amplification and processing of any kind... That pedal, which becomes an instrument alongside and in some cases more important that the guitar, the amp, or even the player...
Professor Bill wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:50 am

I guess an interesting question could be how this shift (analog to digital) differs in fundamentals or in degree from the shift from live performance to recording of any kind, in which microphones altered the experience of sound in space, and when even 4-track recording created new possibilities. Is digitization an evolution or a radical break?


seenoevil II wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:40 am
Professor Bill wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 9:35 am
What I'm really into is the level of abstraction that occurs when you go all digital (or even analog). The concrete drummer with the infinite variability of performance, the physics of sound etc. become the abstraction of the drum machine. Time keeping, which was previously a purely biological phenomenon agreed upon by humans, becomes an arbitrary function of a clock chip. Still further, when you emulate or sample the drum machine, the cultural unit that was once physical object becomes a prototypical abstraction of that object. The bass drum becomes the sine wave, synth becomes the Tr-808, becomes the 808 patch, becomes the symbolic meme in the minds of producers and, at a subconscious level, the layman listener.

The same thing happens to every aspect of recording. Especially analog gear. The physical pedal that you physically plugged-in becomes a abstracted "plug-in" that lives in the metaphorical realm of the DAW. The tube screamer was abstracted into a prototypical circuit that was first cloned in the physical realm, then in the digital realm. Rhodes pianos, Wurlitzers, mic preamps. They've all become elements of hypermedia. When all are made available through digital emulation and the listener and producer have access to a corpus of recorded material to relate and refer to, these digital abstractions of gear become words in a language of expression.

I'm really into this concept. Just don't take it without citing me.

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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by FrankRay » Wed Dec 23, 2020 11:43 am

seenoevil II wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:40 am
Professor Bill wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 9:35 am
What I'm really into is the level of abstraction that occurs when you go all digital (or even analog)......
I'm really into this concept. Just don't take it without citing me.
This strikes me as mistakenly believing an analog recording to be truthful. A drum machine is a recording of drums being hit. So is the drum track in a Beatles record. Ditto every other element of sound.
I mean, the very act of recording is a distortion. Baffles overdubs compression reverb and EQ even more so. You might think that drums sound like that, for instance, by a recording of drums doesn’t sound anything like standing next to a real drum kit. All recordings are to some extent Pavlovian.

A friend of mine reckons Rudy van Gelder’s jazz recordings go through 7 compressors and they’re about as naturalist as you can get.

On the side, modern recording techniques echo the sound of fifties records like Fever or Tell Laura. Same sense of compressed sound and silence. I guess She Loves You changed the paradigm, to emphasise the mid frequency fog of a loud band. Modern pop led the way refuting that paradigm and rock has (unwillingly) followed.

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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by mbene085 » Wed Dec 23, 2020 11:46 am

FrankRay wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 11:43 am
Image

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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by seenoevil II » Wed Dec 23, 2020 11:51 am

mbene085 wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 11:46 am
FrankRay wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 11:43 am
Image
Cela n'est pas une pienture!

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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by mbene085 » Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:01 pm

seenoevil II wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 11:51 am
mbene085 wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 11:46 am
FrankRay wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 11:43 am
Image
Cela n'est pas une pienture!
Image

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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by jorri » Wed Dec 23, 2020 2:25 pm

Sometimes its all the means, not the ends.
The medium is the message/massage for sure, but it is finding a certain process that excites within that particular medium (by which- a DAW, a band rehearsal, an analogue desk.). As some comparison to Oblique Strategies was made it is finding the way to twist, explore, interrupt the process. Whilst modelling software may be associated with copypasting pre-made sounds, or its limitations, in fact it does offer more intrinsic freedom.
Sometimes all the process talk is because vision is not there, but maybe its important for when it is there. Then it becomes praxis- ways to ensure better outcomes without thinking much about them.

Simulacra aside, what is not a simulation in art? ART is the process of simulating, so why hang-ups over whether the tools to make it itself are simulations?

The interaction between a band is one thing that is impossible to replicate, the creative collaborative process....
...and yet then many bands track separately multitracked and to a click.
I value that 'liveness' a lot more than "analogue gear", and i value natural reverb a lot more. But, ideal collaborators are rare, outweighing any gear or medium.

So the question is does the intrinsic possibility of getting any possible "end" suit my process as human interacting with technology? Some times its as much as staring at a screen vs. going somewhere to do it. Sometimes, as like taking a bit from Eno, its an intentional collaboration with tech: not a tool, nor an oppressor. An exploration or modification.

*If something that sounds like a band in a room its probably a Steve Albini recording. That takes many mics, a lot of fiddling, but not much mix processing i guess. its a high fidelity process to achieve a "apparently raw" sound though (because it is a mostly live process+natural verb). In garageband you can kind of do a low effort artificial process and get a shiny sound.

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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by jakeisjake » Wed Dec 23, 2020 6:43 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 3:04 pm
, only Logic's Drummer breaks one free of the piano roll/step sequencer. It's fast and easy and I wish that other DAWs would just rip that functionality off already.
I have a zip folder of loops from the Loop Loft that can only be used in Logic. I don't use Logic and I mistakenly bought them. I'll be glad to send them to some one who would use them.
If I was a byrd, I'd be mighty sore every time they shut the door and I don't think I'd sing...

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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by marqueemoon » Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:23 pm

I’ve found that recording to a click has a profound influence on the feel of my home recordings, and not always for the better. Like, invariably when I program drums or play a keyboard part a lot of notes land ahead of the beat. Sometimes regardless of tempo things have a rushed feel. Anyone else deal with this? How do you work around it?

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Re: Aesthetics of home recording

Post by Telliot » Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:20 pm

If I might take a moment to address the literal aesthetics of home recording, I’ve been reworking my studio the last 3 weeks. I pulled in all apart and put wood up on the walls. It feels sooo much better now — much less of a ‘bedroom’ feeling. The sound is better too, by a lot. I still have the ceiling to do. Huge job, but totally worth having a more inspiring work space. Like always, this was done on a shoestring budget, with 1X6 boards, sandwiched by 2X2 ribs, Liquid Nails, and a nail gun.

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