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Thread: Question on the last 2 Bowie/Visconti productions, The Next Day and ★

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    Question on the last 2 Bowie/Visconti productions, The Next Day and ★

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    I figure that this is the best forum for this question, because I think it was the mixes and not the masters that I'm asking about.

    In Bowie's last 2 studio albums, The Next Day and , there was a particular "sound" or "vibe" that encompassed both albums and I'm not sure how they did it. I remember listening to The Next Day for the first time, and my wife commented that "all the songs sound the same". Now she didn't mean the obvious, she was referring to the "sound" that Bowie and Visconti achieved. Every song, whether it was a rock song or a ballad or the jazzy numbers on has that same smooth sound to it.

    I've searched the web and haven't come up with much, only that they worked on a vocal delay together that is on most songs.

    Unfortunately, I don't have the words to describe what I'm referring to here but I think that some of the more experienced folks here would be able to chime in if they've heard either of the albums on CD in their studios.

    [edit]Of course, in writing this I thought up a better search term and found "vinyl mastering" which may account for what I'm hearing.[/edit]

    Thanks,
    Timbo
    Last edited by YellowDwarf; 01-10-2017 at 08:36. Reason: cuz I'm dumb
    Dwarf - check out the new album: Timbo the White's Album


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    I'm pretty sure he used a carefully selected, well rehearsed, band for both productions.
    (state the obvious )
    They were different bands but still, I think that's a big part of it.
    As you say, whether it's a rock song or a jazzy number, there's a consistency there.

    With Next Day it sounds like someone chose to smash the shite clean out of it and make everything exactly the same volume from start to finish too, which 'helps'.
    It's a shame, in my opinion. I really like that album but genuinely struggle to listen to more than a few tracks at a time.

    Interesting that you mention the vocal sound. I don't know what they did but it does sound like there's a very particular and consistent space around David's voice.
    It's very distinctive. Quite tight, like a lot of early reflections? I don't know...it may simply be the sound of the room he used.
    I mean, I know there is still a lot of variation in there but across the board there is a sound.
    The regular double tracking and harmonies are a bit of a trademark too, I suppose.


    So many albums have that continuity and consistency simply because they had the same guys in the same room with the same kit and the same chains for every track. Even if you deviate musically, that comes across.
    Last edited by Steenamaroo; 01-10-2017 at 20:01.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grawlf View Post
    That's a tad too much terminology. What do you mean by 'mix'?
    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    No VST can emulate that smell.

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    Thanks Steenamaroo,

    Maybe what I'm talking about is done on most modern recordings these days - it's just that I don't listen much at all, only to some of the songs here and these 2 cds at home. If I listen, I imitate and I'm trying not to.

    Anyway, if I could get my voice to sit like David's did in these mixes, I'd be plenty happy.

    Timbo
    Dwarf - check out the new album: Timbo the White's Album


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    Quote Originally Posted by YellowDwarf View Post
    Thanks Steenamaroo,

    Maybe what I'm talking about is done on most modern recordings these days - it's just that I don't listen much at all, only to some of the songs here and these 2 cds at home. If I listen, I imitate and I'm trying not to.

    Anyway, if I could get my voice to sit like David's did in these mixes, I'd be plenty happy.

    Timbo
    Haha, wouldn't we all.
    There's quite a lot of information floating about now since his death, and some revealing documentaries.
    I mean, there's no in depth production breakdown by any stretch, but I watched one last week which covered the last five years of his life,
    and did have some moments in the studio with visconti soloing and discussing the vocals and some other parts.

    He talked about being able to hear Bowie's agitated and erratic breath in some songs - not to do with his health...Just how much he was getting into it.
    Also they ran a lot of the visuals with vocal only throughout quite a lot of the show. I was enjoying that.

    I put the link in there. BBC iPlayer is a free server to UK residents who pay a TV license fee. I doubt it's available outside of the UK but who knows..maybe you can do something with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grawlf View Post
    That's a tad too much terminology. What do you mean by 'mix'?
    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    No VST can emulate that smell.

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    There are a couple of songs on where you can hear the breathing, didn't know it was Bowie playing drums on the second song "T'is a Pity She Was a Whore" ...

    Thanks!
    Dwarf - check out the new album: Timbo the White's Album


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    Oooh, nor did I!
    Quote Originally Posted by Grawlf View Post
    That's a tad too much terminology. What do you mean by 'mix'?
    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    No VST can emulate that smell.

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    Well, if the breathing on the album was all Bowie's, and to me it was the drummer's breathing in that song, then it follows ipso fatso (as Archie Bunker used to say) that it was Bowie. I'll have to find my glasses and look at the liner.
    Dwarf - check out the new album: Timbo the White's Album


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    Oh sorry, I see now. No, I maybe mislead you a bit.
    When the breathing was being discussed, he was listening to an isolated vocal track.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grawlf View Post
    That's a tad too much terminology. What do you mean by 'mix'?
    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    No VST can emulate that smell.

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    I understood. There is another track on the album besides where you hear really raspy breathing on it as Bowie exhales. I thought it odd.
    Dwarf - check out the new album: Timbo the White's Album


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