May 25, 2024

Solid State Lighting Design

Find latest world news and headlines today based on politics, crime, entertainment, sports, lifestyle, technology and many more

The legendary product was more than just a simple product.

The legendary product was more than just a simple product.

There’s a quote by legendary producer Steve Albini, whose death of a heart attack at the age of 61 was announced earlier Wednesday, that stuck with me for many decades until it was paraphrased beyond recognition, or at least accessible. search engines. It sounds vaguely like this: There’s nothing better than the sound of a drum kit in an empty room.

As a producer, Albini has recorded albums for Nirvana, PJ Harvey, the Pixies, the Breeders, Hundreds more, became famous as a symbol of punk rock purity, someone who approached the process of making albums and the business of selling them with the same uncompromising approach. When Nirvana was overwhelmed by the massive success of their debut, It doesn’t matterThey turned to Albini to follow up, In the womb, hoping that his abrasive style would help reduce their fan base to a more manageable level. Instead of jumping at the chance to work with the most important band in the world, Albini responded with Long message Determining the circumstances under which he would and would not make an album with them. If they wanted to “make a record in two days,” that was it. On the other hand, if there was a risk that the record company would interfere in the process, “you’re in an awkward position and I don’t want to be involved in it.”

That same year, Albini, whose association with the alternative rock boom made him a household name, or at least a shared bedroom name, wrote, “The problem is with the music“, a scathing attack on the privatization of music that, even three decades later, still has enough heat to soften your eyebrows. It starts like this:

When I talk to a band about to sign with a major label, I always end up thinking of them in a certain context. I imagine a trench, about four feet wide, five feet deep, and perhaps sixty yards long, filled with decomposing dirt. I imagine these people, some good friends, some he barely knows, at one end of this ditch. I also imagine a faceless servant of industry at the other end, holding a fountain pen and a contract waiting to be signed.

It ends like this, in bold in the original:Some of your friends have probably already had sex.

See also  Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter, 18, 'has a raucous party in the Hamptons that are closed by police'

What impressed me at the time was Albini’s sincere hostility, his refusal to make excuses for an industry he considered to be irredeemably corrupt. He didn’t even take a traditional production credit for the albums he made, insisting on “recorded by” instead, preferring the physical description of his work to the vague idea that he somehow “produced” something. He believed that the music belonged to the musicians, as did the money it made, which was why he refused to take “points” – a percentage of the profits – on the songs he created. In his letter to Nirvana, he said he wanted to “be paid like a plumber” for the work he did and nothing more. Anything else, he wrote, was “morally indefensible.”

But Albini’s rejection was also a yes, he looked beyond the sonic trends of the moment and the recording industry craze that coaxed superstar musicians into contracts that boosted their short-term visibility at the expense of their long-term existence. When I read it now, I’m struck by the extent to which “The Trouble with Music” is not just a hymn—though it is, in every bitter statement, that is—but a warning. Albini doesn’t just rage against the machine. He names names: musicians-turned-big-scouts whom he casts as glorified pimps, and underground icons, like Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, who get vanity production credits on other people’s albums. He lists the numbers, and breaks them down, one line at a time, on how a seemingly generous recording contract can end up making everyone rich except the artists themselves. By the time he’s finished with his example, a band signed for a quarter of a million dollars ends up making just over $4,000 apiece. “Each band member got about a third of what they would have made working at 7-11, but they had to ride a tour bus for a month,” he concludes.

See also  'Big Sky' star Catherine Winick says Zelensky is the leader of Ukraine that needs to win the war

Albini was sometimes confrontational—in the late 1980s, he led a short-lived noise band called Rapman—but he softened in his final decades, choosing his targets more deliberately. Inadvertently, he became a model for an aging Generation He was also an unexpected and unlikely delight on Twitter, taking issue with pundits’ recent embrace of Steely Dan, whose music he said was “”They were made for the sole purpose of allowing the wedding band to stretch a littleBut he also used his novel to reflect on his earlier characters, especially the outright provocative ones.Shit “edgelord”.“From his previous band. “I Was A rude person at that“It helps to question yourself and try to figure out why you do things the way you do,” he said in a later interview, in which he called the band’s old name “unforgivable.”

Although the music he made himself was as harsh as his reputation –For all trains, the first album in 10 years by his Shellac trio, is due out next week – Albini’s simplicity was never the whole story. Listen, for example, to Joanna Newsom Yes, whose lush arrangements seem more lively because of the way his recording gives each instrument breathing room. But I always go back to those drums. On PJ Harvey Get rid of me, you can hear the way the sound of the snares travels through space, not only maintaining the rhythm but also describing the universe you are invited to inhabit. Most contemporary recordings are so compressed and enhanced that they could have been recorded in orbit around a distant planet, but with Albini’s recordings, you are right in the room, enjoying the music the moment it comes into existence. At that moment, there is nothing better.

See also  People throw chicken nuggets at Harry Styles parties