Like everyone in the music biz, mixers and producers have a reverence for the giants whose shoulders they stand on. We love to learn from the greats and, in this book, journalist and engineer Howard Massey sits down with 37 of them to record their hard-won insights. From Sir George Martin to Phil Ramone to Alan Parsons, we’re treated to intimate insights into how these producers makes great records and what makes each of them tick. Many of the common lessons here we knew already — such as the importance of getting the best performance over fixing things during the mixing process — but there’s real value in the way that these sentiments and lessons are articulated differently by each interviewee.
You know that wretched feeling you get when it’s 3 AM and you still haven’t begun loading out from the venue, and you have to be up in three hours to make it to your next show in Sacramento?
Tredici Bacci’s latest record, La Fine Del Futuro, released this spring, makes me feel like I’m playing a minor character in a movie about falling in love on mushrooms in a European technicolor nightmare circus. And oh yes, it’s definitely set in the 1970s. Simon Hanes is this 13-piece soundtrack-pop ensemble’s fearless leader, as well as its composer and arranger. Flypaper’s Dre DiMura asked the California-raised Brooklyn-based musical polymath to speak about his sense of humor, which is integral to the music, and Hanes said something which I think encompasses a huge part of the ethos of this interview series:
Nea grants 2019
Here’s one of my favorite on the list! One of Michael Jackson’s most uplifting melodies ever, his lyrical ramp up to the title refrain in “Man in the Mirror,” actually gets a jump start with a downward interval of an enormous major sixth gap! At 1:06, when he sings, “I’m” and “start,” you can hear how energetically it leads into the ascending melody. Top-line composers, take note!
So, just embrace what makes you unique as a guitar player. Follow your ear in the studio. If you have a preference for darker tones when playing the riffs or a solo you wrote, follow through on that. Experiment with your tone by trying pedals and amps that are unique to you, rather than using all the signature equipment of your favorite guitarists.
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Very similar tonalities used this year, as compared to 2017. The major mode gained a little ground this year, chalking one more song, but it’s those sneaky-sultry minor modes that are still dominating. Worth a shout are the upticks in Lydian and Phrygian, and it’s also interesting that harmonic minor scales doubled their representation from four songs to eight. Maybe the V chord is coming back in style after all?
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Top 10 rappers 2019
We must realize that Ligeti was working in the Hungary, in (almost) total isolation from the rest of the continent, where Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, and later Boulez and Stockhausen were using serial techniques to find a way to detach modern music from the “tyranny” of the Western tonal system. Ligeti approached the same problem from an apparently antithetical standpoint (using one note instead of a fixed series of twelve pitches), yet focusing on the other parameters of music in order to create direction and growth.
NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” is pure pop in all its youthful glory — this song brings me right back to my first celebrity crush, Lance Bass (yes, the gay one, just my luck). As soon as I hear this song, I laugh to myself and immediately do the dance from their music video.
Since house concerts are, well, in houses, the expectations set at these events are inherently quite different from those at traditional venues. While the practice of audience members getting shmammered at venue shows has become accepted and even expected, the rules are different at house concerts. These concerts are more intimate, more focused on the music — they’re likely to be quieter and the connections between the artist and audience are therefore stronger. House concerts typically won’t feature a loud, drunk, and rowdy crowd, and you won’t need to unstick your shoes from any PBR-soaked floors, either.
Vocals are the heart of almost every pop song. In fact, save for instrumental music, vocals should be the focal point of a song in any genre. Whenever listeners find themselves humming along to a song, it’s usually the top-line vocal melody they’re latching onto, so mixing that aspect of your song’s arrangement for ultimate clarity is of particular importance.
For the same reasons, isolation boxes are great options for home recording as well. With a well-constructed isolation box, you don’t need to manage the acoustics of your room (or closet, or bathroom, or stairwell — wherever you’re capturing the signal from your amp) to guarantee an excellent recording of your electric guitar performance.