Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Producers

Having watched the film Anvil, I started thinking about music production, which is very much different than film production. In Film production you just dump money into a project, but in music production you actually tell the musicians what sounds to make and you tell the mixer where everything should go.

If you think about it good producers made careers for people. Do you think Bruce Springsteen would be anywhere without Phil Specter layering 57 guitar tracks into a wall of sound? His Born to Run made it possible for him to release carp for the rest of his career and get away with it.

Kate Bush sounded like a squeaky water pump with a bad bearing before Peter Gabriel got a hold of her. David Guetta’s work gets better and better with the Black Eyed Peas. Dr. Dre raised Eminem up from the streets. Frip, Eno, Bowie and David Byrne resurrected several careers of the bland.

So when you hear some music that is really and I mean really interesting you can thank the musicians, but realize that it was the producer’s vision that fleshed out the sound to make it stand out and grab you by the ears to take notice.


Blogger Donna said...

I think the reason I like folk music is that it isn't usually over-produced. Lots of it is just one person with a guitar; what can a producer do with that?

4:04 AM  
Blogger Auntie said...

Oh, Donna..... I love folk music. It's one of my favorite genres.

5:04 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

So it's that rat bastard Dr Dre that's to blame, eh? I've been wondering who to slap for that.

veri word: ingst- Swedish angst

5:16 AM  
Blogger mark said...

I think that's why I prefer live music, and recordings of live music, over studio recordings. I can't think of much in the way of great music that's come out of a studio since Layla.

8:03 AM  
Blogger Shelly Rayedeane said...

I agree with everyone. Often times, producers do not Get the credit they deserve.

One can tell a truly great artist when they sing live without anyone to accompany them and they still have talent.

The producer should be there to add the finishing touches to the artists work, not to do all the work for the artist.

Case and point, look at how many people can't write at all and do only cover songs or look at how many people sound like shit and always have to lipsync at concerts.

The problem with music today is that there is too much emphasis on image and not enough emphasis on talent.

This is why a lot of the new music I honestly don't listen too. Image without heart doesn't do jack shit for me.

I do think Dr. Dre and Eminem are talented though, but I can't stand most rap music.

10:39 AM  
Blogger g said...

Two excellent sound producers that come to mind:
Alan Parsons
Brian Eno

Both produced and collaborated on some of the most game changing albums of all time.

7:28 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Donna,If you are talking old timey like Woodie Guthrie I agree, but to the 1960s they are all guilty: Dylan, Prine, even Dave Van Ronk. No amount of production could ever help Joan Baez.

Auntie, Though I like some as well, I still contend the reason most folk music is so bad is because it's written by the people.

Darev, Keep working where you are and your opportunity may come one day.

Mark, there is a lot to be said for the spontaneity of live music, but at the same time it can also show when musicians are sick of the songs that made them famous.

Shelly, good points on all fronts and it brings to mind how good the MTV show Unplugged was. It stripped away all the layers of production to the heart of the music. I still to this day listen to Nirvana Unplugged at least once a month.

g, Most people have no idea how much Brian Eno actually produced. Probably close to if not over 100 albums. I'm working on a future post about one song in particular.

5:23 AM  
Blogger g said...

I liked his own stuff too (Roxy Music)

6:42 PM  

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