Wednesday, December 10, 2008

TVD's 70's | 1970

Mick and I were having a bit of a back and forth in the comments a little while ago in reference to Phil Spector's production work on The Beatles' 'Let It Be'. Mick's of the opinion that Spector schmalted up the recording and he's hardly alone. McCartney's been unequivocal in his dismay regarding Phil's 'contributions' to the LP and the 'Let It Be - Naked' collection, stripped of Spector's flourishes, was released to set the record straight as it were.

At the time I reluctantly agreed with Mick's opinion. . .but now I might be reconsidering. Just TRY singing 'The Long And Winding Road without the "...dum dum..." right before "...thaaat's leads/to your dooor..." cuz you can't. When I put on the 'Naked' LP I actually miss that bit right there. Phil was onto something. Dare I go out on a limb and suggest that the initial release is truly the definitive release--regardless of Paul's misgivings? I just may...

A note about the updated hand-colored cover to the rerelease of George's 'All Things Must Pass'...normally I'm averse to such retooling. The criteria here at TVD tends to favor the original releases...but this charms me for some reason. Maybe it's because George himself was behind the reimagining of the cover. Maybe because George was AROUND when this came out.

...All things must pass indeed.

The Beatles - The Long And Winding Road (Mp3)
George Harrison - My Sweet Lord (Mp3)
Carpenters - Close To You (Mp3)
BJ Thomas - Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (Mp3)
Partridge Family - Think I Love You 70's (Mp3)

Mix Magazine Talks With Bob Ludwig, Longtime Mastering Engineer

In the December issue of Mix, mastering engineer Bob Ludwig chats with editor Sarah Jones about changing technologies, the loudness wars, and more than four decades of musical inspiration.

One focus of our December mastering issue is preparing for a variety of release formats. Are you seeing an increase in particular formats, such as vinyl?
I did vinyl mastering my whole career. Several years ago I sold my lathe; I sold it to Sony, and now I’ve heard they’ve just sold it to Sterling.

Gateway was the first independent mastering studio to be open without a working lathe, because we didn’t need it. In ’93, when we opened up, it really looked like LPs were just going to die completely. And then it was kind of hanging in there, so at some point we assembled the lathe that we had bought, and we cut a bunch of records. But back then, the record companies weren’t quality-controlling it. We did this one record, and I never got a test pressing or anything like that, and Michael Fremmer, who’s an analog vinyl guy, called me up and said, “Gee, Bob, I’ve got this pressing that says you did it, and it doesn’t sound like you did it; it’s kind of dull sounding.” I said, “Wow, well, I never heard what happened,” and I got a copy of the pressing, and sure enough the thing did come out dull. That’s the problem with vinyl; lots can go wrong with it. So I called the record company and said, “Who approved this?” and she said, “We don’t even have a turntable in our A&R department.” I said, “So nobody listened to it before it was pressed?” And she said, “No, the UK department listened to it,” and I said, “Well, what were they comparing it to?” And she said, nothing, it “just sounded good” to her. Literally, at that moment, I decided to sell the lathe. Because vinyl’s so difficult, as far as quality control goes, that I didn’t want something with my name on it out there that wasn’t quality controlled. Now that there’s been this kind of funny resurgence in vinyl, the record companies are paying more attention to it.

When we do vinyl projects, we just send equalized masters to whomever the record company is using or to certain disk cutters that we like—with the approval of the record company—so they cut from high-resolution files. So, theoretically, the vinyl releases of most of our stuff should have another octave of top end on them that the CD doesn’t have, even though it’s in a supersonic area. [Laughs]

What do you think is driving the resurgence in vinyl? I’d like to think it’s a backlash against…
Supercompressed MP3s?

I’d like to think it is.
Well, I think part of it is. The kids who have grown up in this generation have never experienced having a vinyl record in their hands, with that big artwork; it’s so tactile, so physical. It’s really such a different kind of a creature than a cold MP3 file. You know, if it’s coming over an Internet connection and it goes in your ears; there’s nothing to feel with your hands. A lot of it might be that.

(Read the rest with the Mastering Master right here.)

TVD First Date With... | Carrigan

This week TVD sits down with Brooklyn-based experimental noise rocker Carrigan (aka Zack Martin) to get the story behind the tracks he's selected for his turn here at TVD. And wouldn't you know, he's got vinyl on his mind as well.

"'Valladolid' was a staple of the ever growing two-piece live set. I had many lyrical changes until I settled on those that were inspired by a trip through Mexico. Valladolid is a quaint little town in the Yucatan, just outside a group of impressive Mayan ruins, The lyrics were inspired by the drive through the sierra mtns, on route to the Yucatan, sipping on cheap Mexican beer in the back seat with my head out the window which eventually led to a stay in Valladolid literally cut out of the jungle.

'Sunshine Through the Waves' was written long after most of the songs from 'Young Men'. As a predominately acoustic song we decided to use it to give some dynamics to the record.

Since, roughly, grade school I have had a love for vinyl. It is the only format that has held it's unique personality through the many changes in music format. Nothing sounds like it and nothing ever will. My first two records were a Pavement album, I had heard on the UVM college radio station, and an old Corrosion Of Conformity album that some grizzled ex punk told me to buy. "It's fukin raunchy man" he said and I was to embarrassed to put it back on the shelf in front of him. So it goes..." - Zack Martin

Carrigan - Valladolid (Mp3)
Carrigan - Sunshine Through The Waves (Mp3)

TVD's 70's | 1976

So, earlier in the week I was bemoaning what really is a very common occurrence, the sheer lack of time--free time, that is--to ...I dunno for pleasure ...organize my records that DVD that's been on my shelf for ages (a great JAM video compilation, or so I'm told.)

But it seems that it's very possible that I'm alone with that quandary when I read stuff like this:

Japanese DJ software offers perfect excuse for buying a second iPhone
As the club DJ transition from vinyl turntables to CD turntables to dual iPods has progressed audiences have become more accepting of the changing dynamic. But some DJs still long for the old school vinyl aesthetic. Japanese design and software group Delaware has unveiled a solution to remedy such longings called Record001 for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.

The application allows you to backspin, pause and scratch records as you would with a tradition record player and even allows you to pick up and drop the needle anywhere on the record while it's playing with complete accuracy. You can see video of the app in action. . . and pick up your copy of the app on the iTunes store for just $1.99. . .

On your PHONE. Sheez.

So, what's next? "Japanese Software Perfects Masturbatory Techniques" ...because THAT we ALL have time for, riiight?

Now, where was I? Oh, yea--'76:

Peter Frampton - Do You Feel Like We Do (Mp3)

Elvin Bishop - Fooled Around And Fell In Love (Mp3)
Hall & Oates - Sara Smile (Mp3)
Starbuck - Moonlight Feels Right (Mp3)
Al Stewart - Year Of The Cat (Mp3)