Saturday, March 26, 2016

Classic Tracks and the Mix

Like a whole lot of other people, I've spent the last weeks playing a lot of David Bowie, and watched the BBC documentary "David Bowie: Five Years".   A lot of musicians have passed this year, but some have much more impact than others.  Bowie was one.  Jon English was another.

The comments from Robert Fripp and Tony Visconti have been food for thought on the making of some of Bowie's tracks. It all means more now that I have done this recording thing and have my own small project studio.

But listening hard to the actual track "We Can Be Heroes" doesn't give a lot of insight. It all seems very murky.  Eno's synth stuff isn't very audible.  Fripp's feedback main part isn't clear either.  Not the way you can hear it in the Tony Visconti YouTube video where he points these things out and solos the parts.

Yesterday I came across Sammy Hagar's interview about the 30th anniversary of Van Halen's 5150 album from a Guitar World Facebook post, and pulled that CD out for a listen too.  Eddie was a real hero of mine at the time. A real innovator, but I've come back to this again looking at the mix.

In Metallica's Black Album on tracks like "Enter Sandman", there are multiple guitar parts playing the same thing to produce a thicker sound, panned across the sound stage.   This isn't what you find in 5150.  You will have Eddies guitar panned leftish, then a plate reverb on it panned hard right. And then a single over dub with the solos.  Of course Eddie's playing is so interesting it doesn't need embellishing.  Most of the early Van Halen albums have this minimal production.

I don't play like Eddie, but was playing with this left guitar, right reverb, minimal production  yesterday afternoon on a little thing. It was the first time in about a year and a half I plugged in my J-Bass too, so not a bad way to spend some time on an Easter Saturday.

Something to unwind with...   and it sounds ok to me.  The Jet Flanger on the Lead Guitar is over the top though and the progression is .... very basic, shall we say.  It is more about the sound with just 5 tracks.

We have an Audio Technica AT2020 Condenser Microphone and run that through a Behringer MIC100 phantom power Tube Preamp, directly into our Audio Interface.   All the instruments are DI'ed.

This is the link on SoundCloud of this minimally produced clip.  It isn't at all serious in any of it's 1 min 13 second length!

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