Interesting articles

I was scouring through a bunch of saved news articles in my phone and found this one from August 2017. I'm sure you're all familiar with the subject matter.

"The click": Drummer Greg Ellis says this music production tool is the reason why all new music sounds the same — Quartz

Had not read that before...but yeah, it's basically about how technology is ruining music production and turning it into an assembly line process, parts-is-parts...and all that.

I don't know why he kinda starts off by blaming "the click"...since click tracks have been used in the studio looooong before there was any digital technology in the studio....but, it was used a bit differently, and everyone just played with it, not to it, and they played through the whole thing, usually as a group, though punch-ins were also used long before digital...but only when really needed, because punching in with tape had to be a well orchestrated maneuver.

The bits-n-pieces approach to much of digital audio production has definitely become a craze and a norm for many...from the home hobbyist to the pros. The desire to make every measure, every note perfect...has caused this type of production approach, though sometimes it's also used to make the process "easier" for the "artists" who have a hard time doing entire songs non-stop without too much trouble.

Also...people use this approach as a compositional tool in many cases. There's often no completed song or worked out pre-production...rather a small idea is recorded...even a few measures...and then bits-n-pieces are added, sometimes over long periods of time, and multiple it's more of an assembly of small parts, that eventually becomes a bunch of tracks...and then finally the song is realized simultaneously will the production takes place. Not to mention...there's always a bunch of alternate versions of every bit-n-piece, so that the final selection of parts isn't made until the actual mixing process...and even then, there may be multiple alternate mixes...etc.

So when everyone works in that manner...there will be a certain feel, sometimes even sound, that is common from one song to another, even when they are from different artists done in different studios. It's the feel and sound of digital audio production.
Of course, there are still many who don't use digital recording in that manner, and who follow the more traditional process of song writing and pre-production and recording and mixing.

Much of it can be avoided if people focused more on the song writing and arranging away from their computers...and then also spending a good deal of time on pre-production, practicing and planning the recording of individual tracks and the sound they are after...etc...but too many simply find that process "unproductive" and/or that it requires too much decision making up front, and of course, commitment...and they're thinking that by doing the bits-n-pieces approach, it's more creative and liberating...but that's something for everyone to decide for themselves. :)

I'm glad for many reasons that I still cling to my multi-track tape deck and do most of my recording to it before dumping the tracks to digital...but not getting caught up in that bits-n-pieces style of production is certainly a key reason. With the tape recording, you're kind forced to do some pre-production planning, and most tracks are done start to finish, with very rare "punch-ins".
Oh...I'll still track the drums to a click track...but once they are recorded, the rest of the tracks follow the drums, and the click is turned off usually.
That way there is a more free feel...though honestly, a click doesn't force anyone to play everything perfectly, on the beat, all the time. You can play in and around a click, same as you can with a drummer or other players. It's only because a lot of people think perfect time is perfect for everything that they quantize and kill all the life out of their rhythm. :D
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I love to fire up the click track then ignore it:D I think that another homogenization issue is the copy cat mentality. Which has always been a part of the music industry since it became big business. But I hear a cool guitar tone and suddenly the exact same tone is on 20 different releases, like they all used the same $&^*()^#$ plug in preset. I admit to seeing if I can match a particular tone using just a mic and an amp, with maybe a pedal , but I also find myself tweaking to something else once I've figured a way to reproduce it.
So Ellis is a session drummer. I wonder how different he sounded on different recordings? I bet if you studied his sound, his drumming would be noticed regardless of who he was recording with. The only difference from then is, they used different session musicians.
When I go out to see bands I prefer a human drummer over watching a drum-machine play. The thing is the human drummers move and make faces like the guitarists do, where the drum machines just sit there.
I have mixed feelings about this article. The first is that I do agree that recording to a metronome can limit your freedom. Sometimes when I'm recording, I sometimes turn off the metronome if I want the song to have a more "live" feel to it. Secondly, I don't think the metronome is a bad tool on every song. Not every song we create needs to be open to whatever the recording artist wants to play on that day. Occasionally, we need a more processed sound for some songs.
I have about 5 years worth of Home Recording magazine back issues that are regular reread for tips. That and Recording Magazine back issues are great go-to's if you are looking for inspiration or advice and a lot of the old articles are available online :Recording Magazine The Magazine For the Recording Musician and of course the ever popular Sound On Sound | The World's Premier Music Recording Technology Magazine I haven't located any of the Home Recording Mag stuff online yet. I actually got on this forum after a search for "Home recording Magazine":guitar:
I get a kick out of the old magazines as the old technology was so hyped then, 1 GIG HARD DRIVES!!!
60 MHZ CPU!!! lol
Dude I started with a 486 processor with a 540 Kilobyte hard drive and Passport pro 4 midi sequencer and a four track portastudio. had the super fast 28 kbs modem. took only 10 minutes to load a web page
hilarious...I remember the first dude I saw downloading a song and it took like an hour

I was just looking at a 2005 Fender Frontline...the Squier 51 came out, great guitar...and Stings 50 bass signature looks just like the Squier 51...I never knew than. 2005....

fast forward to today at GC I look up and see P-bass for $1900...and others for $1600...and MIM STrats of $799? wtf?
My first music computer (actually, my first computer) was an Atari 1040ST and the original Cubase, when it was just a sequencer program, but I it was advanced enough that I was able to synchronizer it with my Fostex G16 1/2" tape deck, and have complete control of the tape deck from within Cubase...which was pretty cool back then. The G16 being one of more advanced "prosumer" deck with an onboard sync card (it was an option) and MIDI capability...and the folks at Steinberg wrote a driver for it almost as soon as the deck came I had the add-on Midex peripheral that connected to the side of the Atari, and gave me the extra communication options.
I was also using the Atari to directly communicate with all my MIDI synths and rack gear.

I remember when I first got the 1040ST, driving somewhere in to NYC, maybe it was Queens, to this small computer shop where they had the knowledge of being able to retrofit a WHOPPING 4 megs of RAM!!! This required some soldering, and swapping out of the OS chips....real WOW factor at the time.
I also had a MASSIVE 30 Meg external hard drive!!! I didn't know what to do with all that hard drive space!

"Ram". Pfft. You kids and your modern devices.:laughings: First computer was a Tandy T1000(?). With 2, count 'em 2 floppy disk drives; one for the program, the other for storage. I remember the first time I saw Sound Tools up and running on the ol' green screen apple at the local music store . Man , I thought that was the coolest thing ever. I read somewhere that technology is one of the few things that evolves exponentially instead of linear fashion(with occasional large leaps). It definitely has with computers and software
You guys don't know what you had. I used to just chisel the notation into stone when I wanted to create music.

it reminds me reading the past history of the EMI book and how they wouldnt let the Beatles & Engineers use both Altec Monitors, they could only playback on one speaker of the two....they were saving the other for serious music only.

I think my first computer was like $1800 for a pos.... it was at least some hard drive type.
the DAW world started around 2005? and I would watch my system freeze up when one-too-many plugins were turned on. lol pos..
Yeah, It's incredible to think of what's changed in a relatively short space of time.
Being serious, my first 'proper' computer was an original pentium 75mhz.
I 'fondly' remember having to wait for quite a while for it to apply any slight change to a reverb, for example.
Commodore 64 here with a tascam 246 for me.
The commodire liked to freeze up a lot, with a reboot bring the only fix. Of couse what wasn't saved was lost. :D

That thing got thrown off my deck onto the ground. (A 2O foot drop ) There went my interest in digital recording.

Took years and years to even be willing to approach it again.

Thank God for modern technology.

Lol :D
Any equipment that doesn't survive the "drop test" has to go! ' Course that might be an excessive drop:D