Fuck the Heck

Monday, August 06, 2007

The horns in Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga are mixed really quietly and placed way out in the margins; this seems disingenuous when you say this, but when you listen, it works incredibly well, maintaining the clarity and integrity of the horns. I picked up Gimme Fiction too, and it’s alright, but nowhere near as compelling as Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga yet; the first two tracks are too full-on, too throttle-driven, too squashed, and they lose me a bit. When they wind back in and do the line-by-line R‘n’B assemblage of “I Turn My Camera On” it works incredibly well, though; because everything’s falling in on different beats to each other, nothing’s competing for direct space.

Rob’s just told me about two rappers, Eyedea and Abilities, decrying the mastering of modern hip-hop and pop records on the Rock the Bells DVD. Abilities says “shit, the way records are mixed and mastered today, it’s just like… one sound… it doesn’t feel like music, it feels like robots… you go back and listen to old records, to Coltrane, and there’s so much… variance and frequencies and dynamics”.

When I was first researching and talking about this, people were asking whether it affected electronic music, hip hop, pop. Well the simple answer is that it affects everything. It’s about the crispness and impact of a beat when you turn it up, the spark and life of an instrument, the space between that makes the clarity. The most exciting drum is the real one that’s in the room with you, not the big, whoomphing, invisible spread under a 50 Cent tune. Fuck the heck.

Edit. Addition.

Just been pointed towards this piece of text on Six By Seven's website.

Please note: to keep the dynamic of this record, we have not compressed the final mix. This means that your CD will probably be a bit quieter than most other cd’s. We think that too much of the dynamic is sacrificed in order to push the volume up on most CD’s nowadays and leave it up to you to just turn the volume up on your system. We are not in competition with anyone else on the jukebox. When it goes from quiet to loud, we really want you to feel the difference, like you would at a gig!


Monday, August 06, 2007

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Nick Southall was born in southwest England at the tail end of the 70s, and is the youngest of three brothers. He has a degree in popular culture and philosophy and has written about music for Stylus Magazine, The Guardian and Drowned In Sound, amongst others. He likes red wine, expensive headphones, spicy food, and the Hungarian national football team of the 1950s. His favourite record is the last one he listened to. You can contact him by email via sickmouthy @ gmail dot com should you so wish.

All material copyright Nick Southall 2006/2007/2008

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