Thursday, January 29, 2004

Rehearsal for the Southern Backtones are really getting me excited. Hank, Mike, John, Todd, and I had a great time grooming the songs and discussing productive minutia at the famous Sterrett Street Studios on Tuesday. Hank blew me away with a new song that I liked better than all of the other contenders so far for our 5th song. It is so cool to have prolific and gifted writers like the guys in this band.

John Griffin reminded me how much I want a ZVEX SuperHardon Pedal. ( John got this cool modified boss pedal and it reminded me of the ZVEX stuff. Check it out.

I got a really cool letter from a young man, Brenden S. regarding modern day mixing techniques. I am very impressed by this young (?) man's curiousity and intelligent comments, so I am going to post the exchange here. If you have anything to add, email it to me, and I will see that it gets to Brenden

thelove, Dan


Your letter is intriguing. I have read it several times and I am going to respond to specific sections, in color, below. I am curious as to why you chose to email me (I�m flattered, actually), and I would love to know how you tracked me down. Finally, I�m curious as to where you are in your schooling.

On 1/28/04 6:39 PM, "brendan ess" wrote:

> Hi.
> I've sent this letter to you not only because I feel that you're someone who
> is most likely to have answers, but also because I believe you're a person
> of true talent in your field of work.
> It is 2004 and it seems that music creation is now something just about any
> intelligent person can master due to the availability of such programs as
> Pro Tools, Reason, Cool Edit Pro, and Fruity Loops. Mixing has apparently
> become but a simple task in the music creation process for lots of artists.

Yes, the tools have become inexpensive and ubiquitous, however, I get more production/engineering/mixing work than EVER before as a result of the �leveling of the technological playing field�. While this might seem to be a paradox, it�s not. Here�s how it works: I�m a pro. I spend all day, every work day, learning better ways to use the tools everyone now takes for granted. I�ve gotten to the point that my work has a certain character, and people pay for it. Many of them pay far more willingly in this time of �cheap tool�s � simply because they bought all of that newly accessible gear and found that they needed expert help to get their project to sound world class. For the people who cannot hear the difference, or are as talented as I think I am, they are happy and I never meet them as clients. Everyone else who comes to me is now �process-wise�; they appreciate what I do all the more because they realize my work sounds better than they could get themselves on that very same equipment. They are grateful, and I don�t have to talk them into believing that my work is worth it. Everybody wins.
> I am not contacting you in regard to these forms of music making. I am
> contacting you in regard to a sort of mixing that is so tedious and
> time-consuming that it may still produce a result far more original than one
> found with these modern easy-to-use programs mentioned above.
> I'm curious about mixing music in nothing but a wave editor. To simply begin
> in a stereo waveform editor and "cut & paste" every little thing until the
> song is finished. Presently, wave editors are meant to act as something for
> "perfecting" or "finalizing" a product other than actually creating the
> product itself.

Well the fact that this idea would no doubt be very boring,
> tedious, time-consuming, and somewhat miserable is probably what makes it so
> great. To make music in such "bad conditions" may build the artists
> character in conjunction with his or her creative abilities to the point
> where the music ends up being something much more interesting than the stuff
> we all hear every day.

On a more recent note, Walter Becker and Donald Fagan were rumored to have created solos on their first two albums by physically splicing individual notes together from individual performances (on the 2� master tape!!!) Is this the type of creation you are talking about---using the editing process, not to groom performances, but to create wholly new �performances� from disparate source material? I know that the last example fits under the category of normal editing to polish a standard performance, but it was TOTALLY over the top for it�s day, and their critics bashed them for such perfection-driven belly-button diving.>
> With experience, I think it could be a much greater way to find originality,
> at least for some people (such as those able to pay closer attention to
> detail for extended periods of time). And I am very interested in knowing
> about any information regarding this or of any artists or people known or
> unknown who have had their music created this way. Is there a known term to
> describe it? Is there even any record of it being done commercially or
> non-commercially? Is it something worth mastering?

Look up William Burroughs, and the words �cutups, or �cut ups� in google.
> Finally, I've contacting you not only for your help on getting information
> on this, but also for your thoughts on the subject. Please reply with
> absolutely anything that may be of interest to me.

You are really on to something, Brendan. On a final note, my band Culturcide, was involved in these types of experiments in the very early 1980�s. I find it totally intriguing that you have written me about this. It has been a long time since I have enjoyed talking about editing as a form of music creating.
> Thank you!
> -Brendan S. of Bar Harbor, Maine. Student


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