The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

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The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby colombo117 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:15 pm

Good Article on the current state of popular music. Talks about how digital recording technology and big business have made sure to make music as perfect as possible, and by doing so, they have created an industry that makes stale, uninviting crap.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monitormix/2009/11/the_death_of_mistakes_means_th.html?sc=fb&cc=fp
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Re: The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby black udder » Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:24 pm

bah. one person's opinion. there is lots of perfect pop out there, but real musicians still avoid using pro tools 100%. They have improved recording but it's like any tool, it can be used or overused and the best artists don't overuse.

Read enough interviews by musicians and you'd here similar stories and also quite the opposite :)

Edit: The story wouldn't have quite the same pizazz if it said "Some people use digital recording tools really well though and there is still spontaneity in the music, but the production is so much better!"

You gotta have an angle for the article - showing both sides of an argument is just boring and "truthful".
Last edited by black udder on Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby Leopard » Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:26 pm

Meh.. dude did some research and learned what a compressor is. He's got a point, but the point is: certain tools when used poorly and uninspiredly result in an inferior product.

Those tools are amazingly powerful, and it takes soul and restraint to use it properly. The right artists, engineers, and producers will rock out in digital. It's the user's creative limitations at work in this guy's scenario.

Same thing as photoshop.. it can look horrible and cold in the wrong hands. Me, I use it to allow a more chaotic drawing performance and get more expressive input. Digital audio has the same potential for me.. if everything about the sound making is fluid and variable, you have more opportunity to capture and celebrate - not edit out - all the human character of the performance. If I were working in analog, I would be missing expressive tools and processes.

This is a guiding principle for me in art and rock: the imperfect character is where the power is. A uniform clean straight line says nothing, but scratchings are expressive and psychically charged. Same with a nasty guitar tone, an off note, a lagged hit, etc etc. Every tiny decision is a statement -- using your tools to seek out and celebrate a natural performance is wise creating.

Best example for me -- I'll auto-tune my vocals in a demo for a new song, like in the stages of being written. I'll listen to that corrected vocal for weeks to help me with my performance, so that my naturally performed pitch is more pleasant. Then I'll record final vocals with full expression, with little conscious regard for improved pitch, and no correction. Comes out to be my best possible recording, and it's because I approached my system with the right mindframe.

Pixies / Beatles / Zep -- can be done in a digital realm.


That said, my scribbles are done and I'm heading out to the studio :mrgreen:
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Re: The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby Golf-Distance » Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:30 am

I'm inclined to agree. Auto-tuning has gotten so advanced that people use it live now. (like Reba MacEntire). It's just silly.

But, people go the other way to. I saw this show on pbs about modern music/autotuning and this band (on the show) had paid thousands of dollars to have the album recorded on reel to reel tape. So the producers of the show made a mix of one song where certain parts where just as it was recorded and some parts where an mp3 they had 2 paddles to hold up (a "tape" paddle and an "mp3" paddle). They didn't have a clue when the tape started and the mp3 stopped. So that was a ton of money wasted. . . . . kinda like "this 64 stratocaster is way better than you're stupid 67" it's like Q.F.T. already. Go get a Porsche and everybody will know you have a teeny weeny.

But, yeah over all I agree. Modern songs literally just repeat the chorus, so it's the same thing every time like a drum sample. That's pathetic. . . . But, like black udder was saying if you took a real band (like mudhoney) into a studio with pro-tools they wouldn't turn into Weezer because of technology. Kurt Cobain wouldn't autotune but he would love a Line 6 POD. Gotta take the good with the bad.
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Re: The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby colombo117 » Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:48 am

Ted Damson wrote:Meh.. dude did some research and learned what a compressor is. He's got a point, but the point is: certain tools when used poorly and uninspiredly result in an inferior product.

Those tools are amazingly powerful, and it takes soul and restraint to use it properly. The right artists, engineers, and producers will rock out in digital. It's the user's creative limitations at work in this guy's scenario.

Same thing as photoshop.. it can look horrible and cold in the wrong hands. Me, I use it to allow a more chaotic drawing performance and get more expressive input. Digital audio has the same potential for me.. if everything about the sound making is fluid and variable, you have more opportunity to capture and celebrate - not edit out - all the human character of the performance. If I were working in analog, I would be missing expressive tools and processes.

This is a guiding principle for me in art and rock: the imperfect character is where the power is. A uniform clean straight line says nothing, but scratchings are expressive and psychically charged. Same with a nasty guitar tone, an off note, a lagged hit, etc etc. Every tiny decision is a statement -- using your tools to seek out and celebrate a natural performance is wise creating.

Best example for me -- I'll auto-tune my vocals in a demo for a new song, like in the stages of being written. I'll listen to that corrected vocal for weeks to help me with my performance, so that my naturally performed pitch is more pleasant. Then I'll record final vocals with full expression, with little conscious regard for improved pitch, and no correction. Comes out to be my best possible recording, and it's because I approached my system with the right mindframe.

Pixies / Beatles / Zep -- can be done in a digital realm.


That said, my scribbles are done and I'm heading out to the studio :mrgreen:


I totally agree with what you and udder are saying. Its all about who's using it and how they use it. Pro tools is very effective. When I recorded years ago we made sure to not over produce our sound because we wanted a rougher sound. Its hard to do and most pop artists have little control over what the studios and big money want.

The bands I tend to listen to don't fall into what this article was talking about, I thinks it has more to do with the main stream acts that I wouldn't even consider artists.
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Re: The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby black udder » Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:50 am

I think what it does allow is people with less talent to be able to make recordings that aren't horrible - they might be a tad too perfect, but some people enjoy it. Add some reverb to a mix and up the other instruments and you can create a pop star.

Who am I to say that technology shouldn't help them achieve something they want? As a consumer, I vote with my wallet.

A lot of the technology just makes old mundane, time consuming tasks easier (like having to splice tape) and that ease can lead folks astray.

One huge benefit that's not mentioned is the capability of general every day folks to be able to hook up musical instruments to their computer and actually create music. Music is becoming more approachable by a wider amount of people due to electronic developments. Auto sync, auto tune, etc. Not everybody does everything. I was surprised to realize that a friend of mine who plays guitar and sings is really a songwriter, not a guitar player - while I'm a guitar player and not a song writer. He gets nothing from walking into a music store and seeing all the guitars - it's merely an instrument to accompany his songs. For me, I can't put a song together with words/vocals for nothin'. but I do love me some playing of lots of guitars :)

Same with the new tools. They open the doors for so many more people to express themselves musically. They can bring down production costs, make distribution easier, etc. In the hands of the right people, it's a huge perk.
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Re: The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby Leopard » Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:19 pm

Interesting perspective here ... The Downward Spiral, now 15 years old, was made using a 4-track digital rig, an early Pro Tools card with Studio Vision. Most of the channels came from a pair of tape machines.

Sure, tons of sampler work and digital manipulation, but in the end it was tape feeding an analog desk and outboard processors. Their sound hasn't changed nearly as much as the
process. I hear they edit more in audio than in midi now.
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Re: The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby JohnnyB » Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:38 pm

Then you have the people who use all these tools to make something completely different than anything we're used to.
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Who would get rid of this just to go back to analog?
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Re: The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby masterbeato » Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:35 pm

digital has no tone, nothing like a pure solid screaming Peavey Wolfgang plugged straight into a cranked to shit (11) 5150 or Marshall Plexi.

what ever happened to the days where some dude breaks his shit the night before a big gig and gets great tone with a really shitty beat to crap 1960s Fender with a cracked headstock and a broken pickup with an amp he bought at a garage sale for $7 so they can make it to the show?

someone does that kinda shit these days, he gets laughed at by everyone, not because he has talent but they wont pick him up cause of the equipment he uses. if Eddie Van Halen started in this era, he would not have made it in music because he got his tone from a broken magnet in his pickup. that shit wouldn't fly these days, you have to invest in big time ultra mega equipment for people to want you in their OMG.....BIG TIME BAND!

you see the point.

i mean shit i bought an amp from Blake that will crush a drummer at level 6 no matter how hard he hits and has awesome tone and i cant get in a band because it looks old and i have a beat up guitar......f'd up stupid retard world we live in.
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Re: The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby JohnnyB » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:22 pm

You should sell some driving lessons and buy some new equipment.
I know I'd pay to get your kind of D.
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Re: The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby Leopard » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:01 pm

Mr Bungle!
That was my first CD, I got it in like 4th grade, totally by chance. Last year I got really into them, and mainly California.
Fun fact there, California was done analog with digital editing.. tracking and mixing were analog. And that one's on par with MB for complexity. However all that warm production such as Sweet Charity and Retrovertigo, that coulda been done digital. Beautiful album though, I love it.


What cracks me up about this is that I learned that principle of not overworking something, not from protools rock disco but from freakin charcoal drawing. If you leave a charcoal piece at a certain stage it looks incredible. You touch up or work in enough on it, and it can turn awful. Totally loses soul. So when I have the options of a digital studio, I'm lookin for ways to make it immediate and gestural, and manage the captured sources.
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Re: The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby garublador » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:55 am

I know when I want cutting edge opinions on the state of any sort of rebellious sub culture the first place I go is "NPR." ;)

I also couldn't help notice that there was no evidence given and no effort given to disprove counter arguments. It's been a while since I've taken a rhetoric class, but IIRC both of those aspects are important when making an intelligent arguments. Without supporting evidence and without addressing the counterarguments it's just whining.

Sure, it's easier to make crappy music before, but it's also easier to make good music. The whole argument that being a crappy musician means you're making better music (which seemed to be the whole point of his argument) is silly. Good musicians play in tune and don't make tons of mistakes. Those songs aren't good becasue of those mistakes, they're good dispite those mistakes.
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Re: The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby what'shisname » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:10 am

masterbeato wrote:
i mean shit i bought an amp from Blake that will crush a drummer at level 6 no matter how hard he hits and has awesome tone and i cant get in a band because it looks old and i have a beat up guitar......f'd up stupid retard world we live in.


Are you trying out for boybands or what? Shit. I can't imagine a rock band getting all upity about how your gear looks as long as you can play.
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Re: The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby Leopard » Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:34 pm

Post pics of the amp!! :mrgreen:





(no photoshopping!)


Let's see if it's prettier than my teal-face Bandit :)
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Re: The Death of Mistakes Means the Death of Rock n Roll

Postby chiggins » Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:39 pm

what'shisname wrote:
masterbeato wrote:
i mean shit i bought an amp from Blake that will crush a drummer at level 6 no matter how hard he hits and has awesome tone and i cant get in a band because it looks old and i have a beat up guitar......f'd up stupid retard world we live in.


Are you trying out for boybands or what? Shit. I can't imagine a rock band getting all upity about how your gear looks as long as you can play.


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