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Behind the recording studio walls

Updated: Oct 19, 2018

My name is Matthew Hall and i formed The Meteor Shower in about 2000, although I had been writing songs for decades before this - in fact as long ago as when I got my first guitar in the 1970's... Over the years, the sound has changed - partly in response to the times, and partly in response to my improved songwriting and production techniques. Recording started out on a four-track Fostex portastudio, then moved on to a hired desk and 8 track reel-to-reel, then on to digital recording via ADAT (great machines although the tapes would get chewed up from time to time), then to a Fostex 24-track digital recorder, and finally to the present direct to disk system using Apple & Logic systems.


You can obviously do everything better and more efficiently than ever before, but I personally feel this has not always yielded better results in the round. We have lost a lot of dynamics (literally, as it happens) and music can become homogenised if not very careful. By all means use Tibetan Choirs if you wish but try not to use them in the way everybody else uses Tibetan Choirs. And make stuff as loud as possible without sucking all life out of it by over compressing or over-mastering.


I am not saying BTW that I am not guilty of these things because I doubtless often am guilty - but it is a danger to be aware of nonetheless. We must also continue to look out for good melody. The 60's was full of melody and harmony and none the worse for that. Let this be the norm, not just the exception. We also want edge to our music, rhythm, lyrics and a host of other things. The music lovers in all of us deserve no less !



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matthallslw
matthallslw
Nov 19, 2018

Yes I see that

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I think he was getting at something deeper than just chucking in variations of ideas, that in the actual playing one of the instruments, someone other than yourself is going to be maybe infinitesimally less tight than yourself playing it, and this produces a quality of depth. He's arguing against the supertight processional feel from an individual playing all the parts themselves.

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matthallslw
matthallslw
Nov 18, 2018

Yes, I acknowledge the benefit of artists working together and putting their own stamp on a recording, As you say different timings, melodic concepts all add to the abstract mix and make the entire thing feel more organic. I find co-writing more difficult - perhaps that is because I am fundamentally selfish or vain, I don't know. I have tried joint recording ventures in the past, and have ended up having one song with two entirely separate sections (logically it says the co-writer must have been the same frame of mind as me...)

Having said that, many bands in the past have thrived on co-writing - whether it is co-writing of tunes and melodies ; or music and lyrics. The…

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The Presono people, who made the Studio I’ve just bought and the Studio One software, also have this site going. This is a social media platform for releasing and selling music, and is a true direct to fan thing for the independent musician. It’s a free account, you just upload your piece and if it’s a great record, millions by it and you get that swimming pool after all.

http://www.nimbit.com/

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I think Jon Perry’s little book about Electric Ladyland ls also very strong on the whole business of making records. In particular, I like what he says about the richness and depth in a record which comes from the input of different musicians, different consciousnesses, which are all going to interpret things in slightly different ways. He says that when the same person plays all the tracks on a record, the result can sound like a procession. I agree with this, I think you get records that are obviously very tight, but they’re too supertight, they need to be looser.

Jon evens extends this to one of his and one of my favourite records ever, Jimi Hendrix’s All Along the…

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