Mixes: art or product

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Re: Mixes: art or product

Post by awjoe »

Radiophonic wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 4:58 pm I find it to be particularly offputting (conceptionally) when the music is supposed to leave the listener with the impression that he is listening to a coherent performance.

In my world, the concern is not to 'leave the listener with an impression', but to provide the listener with an experience. Not conceptual, but experiential. I don't care about a coherent performance; I want an effective performance, which means inhabiting the music so completely and powerfully that the listener is pulled in and carried along. If by 'coherent' you mean the music has a structure and plan, then yes I want that because I find music without structure and plan pretty boring (think jazz noodling), but structure is only half of the necessary polarity, the other half being improvisation, changing things up in the moment (in the context of the structure and plan). So maybe you and I speak different languages when it comes to music. That's okay - some people speak Italian, some people speak Spanish. Play the kind of music, and play it in a way, that moves you and moves people who hear it. I doubt very much that intellectual analysis of the factors involved helps achieve that. But... different strokes...
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Re: Mixes: art or product

Post by RichardT »

Radiophonic wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 4:58 pm
Watchmaker wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 4:26 pm What about this collage notion - how does it play out in your work?

It is a part of my work for practical reasons. I try to avoid it if possible. An uncut performance with a capable musician that stays focused I feel has a different quality than something cut and put together. I feel that sampled instruments make the whole situation even more awkward. I am wondering how the accumulation of these practices impacts quality of art and the lets say spritiual well being of the populus.

I find it to be particularly offputting (conceptionally) when the music is supposed to leave the listener with the impression that he is listening to a coherent performance. I understand that.in certain situations there is the need to make things just work, but I personally prefer to at least start with the ambition to get things right in the performance aspect. Would like to hear your experiences and thoughts.

I think the main things is - do what works! There can be something very special about a complete performance, but sometimes patching things together and editing them can give a result that is actually more moving.

Complete classical recordings quite often include edits where a dodgy part is replaced - and in the past some of these edits were very crudely done (according to my mastering engineer, who used to be a classical recording engineer). Not so much with modern technology, to be fair.

The other angle is - most people don’t have access to the very best musicians, and so comping / editing is often necessary.

In modern pop, vocals are almost always comped and highly edited, sometimes with note by note changes in level, pitch, reverb sends, EQ etc.

Sometimes I think an ethos of sticking with the original performance can take away from the music. A good example is Yellowjackets’ album Jackets XL, which is a great album, but suffers from having some very dodgy notes in solos. There are 3 of 4 places where I really wish someone had said ´we've got to fix that’ - they are real ‘ouch’ moments!
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Re: Mixes: art or product

Post by Radiophonic »

awjoe wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 6:18 pm I want an effective performance, which means inhabiting the music so completely and powerfully that the listener is pulled in and carried along.
[...]
Play the kind of music, and play it in a way, that moves you and moves people who hear it. I doubt very much that intellectual analysis of the factors involved helps achieve that. But... different strokes...

Only because my way of presenting my ideas may or may not come off to you as intellectual, does not mean there is no emotionally felt concern behind it.

What has motiviated me to reflect on this topic was the current developement of smartphone cameras. There are very invasive steps smartphones take to output the 'photos' they do. Some of them can not be turned off or the user isnt even informed about this. Things like moving the eyes to look directly into the lense, taking parts of one instance and combining it with elements of other instances (to make everyone smile in the picture at the same time) etc.

There is so much going on that I could list many more things, but I think the idea comes across. The consequence is that smartphone cameras(+AI) are so far removed from what a camera is that photos dont serve as documentation, for example as proof of something. Im a bit troubled what being confronted with so many pictures that are so far removed from what a human evolutionary encountered has negative consequences in the long run.

To be consistent in my concern, taking a critical look at mixing practices is cannot be left out. An one take performance can potentially be more effective than any collage of performances. The direct/honest/real (call it however you want) nature of one performance can not be replicated by a collage.

Another topic that makes me view it so dramatically is the work of Weston Price and Pottenger:

Pottengers cats (to keep it short watch from 10:50):
https://youtu.be/OvQ5F6GCfgI

Weston Price (to keep it short watch 3:20-3:50)
https://youtu.be/_ti3xNltlsM

As is documented here, in the case of diet technical advances (post industrial) have degenerating effects on humans(/cats).

Maybe the developement of post industrial culutral artefacts are no trivial matter? I would like to hear your thoughts.
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Re: Mixes: art or product

Post by Radiophonic »

RichardT wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 6:48 pm Complete classical recordings quite often include edits where a dodgy part is replaced - and in the past some of these edits were very crudely done (according to my mastering engineer, who used to be a classical recording engineer). Not so much with modern technology, to be fair.

Thatcis interesting. Do you know when this was first done and when it became common practice?

RichardT wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 6:48 pmThe other angle is - most people don’t have access to the very best musicians, and so comping / editing is often necessary.

In modern pop, vocals are almost always comped and highly edited, sometimes with note by note changes in level, pitch, reverb sends, EQ etc.

Sometimes I think an ethos of sticking with the original performance can take away from the music. A good example is Yellowjackets’ album Jackets XL, which is a great album, but suffers from having some very dodgy notes in solos. There are 3 of 4 places where I really wish someone had said ´we've got to fix that’ - they are real ‘ouch’ moments!

Yes, there are styles of music that can not be reproduced by a 'raw' performance. There is certainly no clear answers to this. Some styles need to be edited, like those new obiviously autotuned vocals (why this became a thing is beyond me). Other times it is better to do the audiance the service ironing out some bumps. Other times an off performances is working, or it simply must be done in a on point take.
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Re: Mixes: art or product

Post by RichardT »

I don’t know when editing of classical recordings started. I would imagine that as soon as magnetic tape came into use as a recording medium people would have begun editing. But I don’t really know.
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Re: Mixes: art or product

Post by awjoe »

Radiophonic wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 7:02 pm Maybe the developement of post industrial culutral artefacts are no trivial matter? I would like to hear your thoughts.


No trivial matter at all - they are monumental, inevitable and constantly a matter of 'it's how you use the technology, and not the technology itself, that makes the difference between the devil and the saint'.

But sticking to the topic of recorded music, I would say, now that you've elaborated your concerns enough for me to understand them better, two things. First, the new tech is going to doctor and modify recorded music inevitably and extensively. My advice here is to join in the fun (which includes blowing the whistle on stuff which is distressingly fake). Second, go for live performances (both live and recorded). In the case of recordings of live performances, maybe we could have a declaration by the mixing engineer which is similar to the sticker I get on my apples and bananas assuring me that this food was organically produced, something along the lines of 'no digital jiggery-pokery was employed in the making of this recording'.
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Re: Mixes: art or product

Post by Radiophonic »

awjoe wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 7:56 pm No trivial matter at all - they are monumental, inevitable and constantly a matter of 'it's how you use the technology, and not the technology itself, that makes the difference between the devil and the saint'.

Yes, that is a good point. If you are of an evil spirit, the stuff you can do by bringing 'distorted media' constantly to the masses is beyond my imagination.

awjoe wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 7:56 pmFirst, the new tech is going to doctor and modify recorded music inevitably and extensively. My advice here is to join in the fun (which includes blowing the whistle on stuff which is distressingly fake).

Another good point. I think this is a noble cause. I can imagine a future where even this will get heavily supressed.

awjoe wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 7:56 pmSecond, go for live performances (both live and recorded). In the case of recordings of live performances, maybe we could have a declaration by the mixing engineer which is similar to the sticker I get on my apples and bananas assuring me that this food was organically produced, something along the lines of 'no digital jiggery-pokery was employed in the making of this recording'.

I was pretty late to the party in learning that most of what you get of big liveproductions is that there is actually alot of post production going on. That was quite disappointing for me to learn. I think what is critical is, as you said, critiquing/joking about the state of things as well as disengaging. I believe culture to be a crucial part in establishing (dis)order. If we disengage the powers that be might not even try to get us back with things like you mentioned, but will introduce more hard power. (Just speculation on my part)
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Re: Mixes: art or product

Post by Radiophonic »

Another point that came up in this thread and is worth elaborating in this context is the limitations set by the musicians themselve. The topic discussed above works under the assumption, that you can choose what kind of performance you end up with. In most cases you cant just get amazing performances.

I really like the videos Sam Inglis does in general. I think they are all worth watching and a good time. Here he discusses a relevant (to this discussion) point:
https://youtu.be/624Iy_H_GDw

Suprisingly to me he recommends considering recording inexperienced musicians live together.
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Re: Mixes: art or product

Post by Arpangel »

Watchmaker wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 3:28 pm
All thinking is an abstraction. Judgments about the relative quality of that activity are what I quibble with as it is inherently loaded with bias, conscious or not.

Personal judgments about quality are made all the time, you don’t necessarily have to agree with them, I’m always very wary of those who are too certain about what they talk about, bordering on proselytising.
Nothing is certain, no way is right, all I know is that you can always smell a turd.

:)
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Re: Mixes: art or product

Post by zenguitar »

Arpangel wrote: Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:11 am
Nothing is certain, no way is right, all I know is that you can always smell a turd.

:)

Unless you have Covid-19 of course :)

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Mixes: art or product

Post by Arpangel »

zenguitar wrote: Mon Jan 17, 2022 9:34 am
Arpangel wrote: Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:11 am
Nothing is certain, no way is right, all I know is that you can always smell a turd.

:)

Unless you have Covid-19 of course :)

Andy :beamup:

That would be interesting, a virus that affected our taste and judgement, making us unable to make up our mind about anything.

:D
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Re: Mixes: art or product

Post by ManFromGlass »

Ah yes, the FollowTheHerd 19 virus . . . .
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