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Thread: Lo~fi or just poorly recorded ?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    That's a really great song!
    I remember when I first heard it. Late 70s, my uncle's girlfriend did me a tape of 60s stuff and that was on it. It takes me back to the front room of the house we lived in in Nigeria and my plans of trying to raise the money to run away and get back to England.
    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    I think the distortion adds to the feeling of despair he's singing about
    It does. This was around that time when a few English engineers were involved in cutting American discs {that used to be part of mastering} and they were trying to work out how the Americans got such great and punchy bass, loud recordings that blew one's face off but never skipped on the vinyl and distortion that actually sounded cool and they eventually caught up. I believe "Go now" was part of that chain of discovery.
    Funny thing, at that time, Birmingham bands were overtaking the Mersey bands and rivalling the London bands, the mellotron was being developed in Birmingham and one of the Moodies worked at Streetly electronics and was later instrumental in turning the Beatles onto the mellotron. And I had my humble beginnings in the city and all this stuff was going on and all I cared about was chocolate and playing !
    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    Denny Laine did a great job with it...I was a fan during his years with McCartney and Wings.
    He was really inventive. When he left the Moodies in the mid 60s, he formed an electric string band, complete with violin. Years ahead of its time but unfortunately they bombed.

    Quote Originally Posted by TalismanRich View Post
    Honestly, I had never heard Bessie Banks' version
    I'd never seen her. She was hot. But she had an old woman's name ! Sounds like some old headmistress from some 1940s film with Alistair Sim in the lead role.
    Quote Originally Posted by TalismanRich View Post
    Still, you would think Decca would be somewhat like EMI in wanting to have quality recordings
    Interesting you say that, I've always thought the Rolling Stones' 60s output, while magnificent and containing some of my favourite songs ever, were really shittily recorded and they were Decca's premier act for a while. I know a lot of them were recorded in the USA but they did use quality engineers. I don't know how much Andrew Oldham actually had to do with the mixing but as the producer of their stuff until '68, he was among the 60s worst { along with Kit Lambert}.

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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    Are you thinking of doing some of that yourslef...or just curious about the opinions people have of it?
    Curious. I'm trying to get as far away from lo~fi as it is possible to get. Because I transferred a lot of my cassette portastudio stuff over to my Akai DAW, I've been mixing a lot of stuff over the last 16 months that, frankly, was poorly recorded. I've done a number of salvage jobs that I'm actually quite pleased with, considering. But I've been ever conscious as I was mixing that "these would probably be counted as lo~fi or even worse, subterranean~fi."

    Quote Originally Posted by mjbphotos View Post
    I often wonder if that's true. The distortion and muddiness...
    Back in the day {we're talking 90s, early 2000s}, I wasn't averse to recording hot, even though the Manual of the Tascam 488 said don't set the fader above 7. At 7 the signal never looked strong and when I'd play back, it was so quiet with little definition, especially on my mono drums. Whereas 8 and 9 got healthy signals. Too healthy. Obese, actually. And of course 8 tracks on a cassette became too limiting so I did so much bouncing {combined with track sharing} you'd think I sold speed.
    But I love so many of those songs and I learned to record and mix and having to tidy things up has taught me a whole lot more. I don't think it applies to a lot of lo~fi but mine was certainly badly recorded and it wasn't an artistic choice but lack of experience and impatience mixed with the desire to get songs that were in me, out.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gtoboy View Post
    My understanding is that the kids coming up found what we consider harsh, like digital clipping, is cool. I have heard a some modern stuff that is obviously purposefully distorted. A group called Sleigh Bells does this a lot. I have also hear roots rock type outfits doing the same type of thing. To me if the arrangement seems ok, I figure it was recorded that way on purpose.
    This is what mainly got me thinking about the topic though. My older son has been listening to a lot of both indie stuff and rap stuff and while I have a relatively open head musically, I think a lot of what he plays me sounds awful. There's clipping of all kinds, utterly overdoing it on effects and deliberately so. He'll play me something, I'll be rolling round the room scratching myself like an old time junkie and he'll be like, "I love that guitar !" or "that's a lit beat" when what the artist has done is sampled some keyboard and a bit of drum, wobbled the keyboard sound until it's like jelly, turned the phaser and chorus up full on all settings and then applied the same to their out of tune warbling.
    I hate much of it. But he loves it and wants to get into making some of it. It would be churlish of me to say it isn't music because it is and actually, I like it conceptually and crib ideas/concepts that bleed their way into my stuff, but not in a discordant way {I hope}.
    Come back Andrew Oldham, all is forgiven !

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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    "Nights in White Satin"
    One of my faves and one of 1967's defining mellotron songs. I dig every part of that song but the way the vocalist sings the third "aahh I loooovvve yooouu" always cracks me up. Even when I'm listening to it as I swim, I'll be spluttering because I'm laughing away. The other swimmers probably think I'm off my head and doing water therapy !

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    Back in the early 70s, I worked at the college radio station. The station ran from 3pm to 1am. My shift for 2 years was 9-1am on MW, so I had to do the sign off for those days. We had a little spiel "WXKE now terminates it's broadcast day. WXKE is owned and operated by the University of Louisville...etc." For my sign off, I would alternate between playing the Moody Blues "The Night" and Beatles "Good Night". On the Moody Blues, I would do the little speech just as they hit the gong at the end, and let it fade out. For the Beatles, I would do it during the little orchestra section at the end, with the last thing being Ringo say "Good night everybody.. everybody, everywhere." With a bit of practice, I could hit the post perfectly.

    We were so cool back then!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TalismanRich View Post
    We were so cool back then!!!
    Wadda ya mean "were"?

    Gotta keep the cool vibe going to the end!

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    Often "new acts" didn't get the royal treatment from record companies.
    Off hours,time constraints,junior engineers and treated like demo sessions.
    Lets see if we can make some money off these weirdos.
    Arrangement and performance often trumped mediocre engineering.

    G

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    When I was examining - students got marks for avoiding noise and distortion, then would process their masterpiece for the current low fi sound, and throw away their grades, because the examiners couldn't;t tell what was intentional distortion, or accidental distortion, or worse, a terrible candidate Aho justified their rotten project by claiming it was meany to be lo-fi. Madness. Why strive for quality in recording to then mess it up - but I might well be too old.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    Why strive for quality in recording to then mess it up - but I might well be too old.
    I think it is possible to strive for a high quality distorted sound.
    Seriously...we work with distorted guitar sounds, and we also have situations where you want a vocal to have a lot of grit-n-grind, or a nice Hammond organ that growls and spits...because it demonstrates a certain emotion associated with the song and its meaning...but those things can still be recorded at high quality.

    That was kinda my point about the vintage recordings...that they have a certain lo-fi vibe, but in realty, the engineers often tried as best as they could to get good quality. I don't believe there were many engineers thinking at the time..."we should do this lo-fi"...or something like that.

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    I doubt any of them were. Really, up until the advent of digital technology, the overwhelming desire of engineers everywhere was to get the sound they were after {be it grit, distortion, muddy/swampy or whatever}, but captured "cleanly." Digital recording was a blessing for engineers in the sense of not having to battle with what tape was perceived to have added all those years that so many had been trying to get away from.....until some found it was "too" clean for their tastes and that they actually preferred what they'd been fighting for 30 years. Although it was an ironic case of being careful what one wished for, engineers didn't deliberately make lo~fi recordings, for the most part. In the UK, before the 8 track machines became plentiful, reduction mixes {ie, bouncing} were the order of the day and pretty much everyone moaned about that because of the generation loss. Lo~fi used to drive Mick Jagger up the wall. He complained about how good things sounded when the original recordings were done and how they became a mush once bouncing had happened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    When I was examining - students got marks for avoiding noise and distortion, then would process their masterpiece for the current low fi sound, and throw away their grades, because the examiners couldn't;t tell what was intentional distortion, or accidental distortion, or worse, a terrible candidate Aho justified their rotten project by claiming it was meany to be lo-fi. Madness. Why strive for quality in recording to then mess it up - but I might well be too old.
    I would grade this kind of thing the same way I would grade a writing course. Yes, it is valid to break any rules of grammar, punctuation, and spelling you want for artistic reasons; but you're taking a course so that you can learn the "rules" as they are and break them more intentionally and effectively. If there isn't a specific reason that you're allowed to add distortion to a project, record it clean.

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