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 Post subject: Listening philosophy
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:32 pm 
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I was listening to some old David Bowie this morning as I drove Lizzie to school.

It dawned on me that some of the coolest sounding older tunes have some crappy sounding (by todays standards) individual parts......but.....those parts sometimes define the song and work perfectly within the mix.

Listen to the acoustic guitar break in Bowie's "Space Oddity". It sounds kinda buzzy and a little distorted, yet it sounds soooo gooooood in the song.

This made me wonder if our listening can sometimes be "too critical" of individual instrument parts???? I think I've been guilty of this when providing feedback in the Share Your Music section and certainly with my own material.

Sometimes a song needs a crappy sounding acoustic or a cheap, cheesy sounding keyboard part or rattling bass strings.

So I have a question for ya'll.

When you listen to a song in the Share Your Music section, what is your listening philosophy? Do you listen to the total song? Lyrics? Music only? The vibe? The groove? Do you tend to hone in on individual parts? Can you segregate your "critical listening" of a mix from general listening for enjoyment?

I am interested in your thoughts.

Gary


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:47 pm 
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I tend to listen to the whole song, but more due to practical constraints. When I get a chance to listen it is usually very time constrained. Thus, I listen once for an overall impression and move on to getting ready for bed. :oops:

Second, when I listen it's after the kids go to bed. Given that the only PC is right in the middle of the house (i.e., darned close to their bedroom doors), I tend to listen on cheap walkman headphones, making critical listening kind of impossible. :roll:

You bring up a good point, though. The charming human elements are what make many of my old faves unique. I sometimes think that on today's music fora there is a bit of hypocracy in this regard. People hold everything they hear up to "modern FM radio" production values, while going on about how awesome those records of old sound.

I sometimes think I could nail the elusive "Bonham" drum sound, post it somewhere, and have people suggest I might try close miking the toms cuz there's too much room sound. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:51 pm 
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I usually initially listen for the "vibe" or feel of the cut.

If I am "hooked" by that, then I start breaking it down, listening for individual parts, interesting surprises (chord changes that I wouldn't expect, interesting sounds that emerge, lyrics)

Then, I listen for the "technical aspects" -- how did they do this?, where are things mixed on the "stage"?, what EQ is used?, etc)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:14 pm 
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JM wrote:
I sometimes think I could nail the elusive "Bonham" drum sound, post it somewhere, and have people suggest I might try close miking the toms cuz there's too much room sound. :D


So true! My point exactly.

To me, Penelope Cruz is hot because she has a weird looking nose and mouth, not in spite of it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:25 pm 
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when deciding if i like it or not i always listen for the vibe - the sum of the parts.
some times a screwed up sound is just the thing.
i used to enjoy coming up with goofy sounds.
i haven't done that lately, tho.

when i heard the vox on my shaking ground tune i heard the f'ed up distant sound, but convinced myself it was kinda cool.
but as it turns out it really isn't right for that tune.
however, i know now how to get that f'ed up sound....

but yes, there are different ways to hear recorded music.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:41 pm 
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I listen to discover how much a song touches me, which has hardly anything to do with the technical quality. Of course, a really bad mix can destroy the songs potential, but it does not have to be perfect.

Nowadays technology enables us to be perfect in the technical realm. That means that if we make a liiiittle mistake playing, some unpolished part is audible and, in some peoples perception, ruines the song.

There's another aspect. Space Oddity was recorded decades ago, and I've heard it dozens of times ever since. I became used to that particular sound. If David Bowie were to re-record the song using 2007 technology, playing the parts exactly the same, he would remove some things of the sound that we got used to. It would not meet our expectations anymore. Therefore, Space Oddity SHOULD sound like it does.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:59 pm 
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that's right.
popular production techniques are created with whatever modern tools are available.
a record becomes popular and everyone wants that sound.
phatt bass, loud guitars, whatever.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:13 pm 
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Excellent points all.

Keep the replies coming.

Interesting.....when I go back and listen to some of my very old Yes, Genesis and ELP music I can remember the young Gary "hearing" those songs as massive, dense, lush...sometimes almost orchestral in sound.

When I listen to the same tunes now I still love them, but.....relative to modern music they don't sound nearly as massive.

Old Hendrix recordings on the other hand....still frickin blow my mind.

Gary


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:21 pm 
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I've been listening to some old Yes recently, and have had similar thoughts. However, I'm amazed at how "human" it sounds compared to how I remember it.

If I had more time to listen and critique, as well as decent speakers hooked up to the PC, I would approach things similar to Carey - overall tune first, moving to song elements and performances, then digging into the details of the recording itself - tracking and mix quality.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:25 pm 
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JM wrote:
I've been listening to some old Yes recently, and have had similar thoughts. However, I'm amazed at how "human" it sounds compared to how I remember it.


We think alike. Are ya' scared Jonny?

Those old Rick Wakeman synth sounds were very "of another world" back in the day. Now they seem very "common".

Gary


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:34 pm 
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Bartman wrote:
We think alike. Are ya' scared Jonny?


:shock: I'll just consider myself in good company. :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:04 pm 
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Quote:
"of another world"


you try and duplicate something like that then tell how "common" it is
:wink: :lol:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:10 pm 
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mcnewsxp wrote:
Quote:
"of another world"


you try and duplicate something like that then tell how "common" it is
:wink: :lol:


(In a three stooges voice) "Wise guy, eh? Well I outta?" You know what I mean.

Besides, it would be very easy for me to duplicate the exact sound of Wakeman's synth. .......I would sample it. ha!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:05 pm 
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well, "close to the edge" and tales from topographic oceans" *still* sound "other wordly" to me - so spread out.....
howe's guitar sounds and technique included.
howe-ever, i'd never even think of putting anything like that together myself these days.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:29 pm 
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mcnewsxp wrote:
well, "close to the edge" and tales from topographic oceans" *still* sound "other wordly" to me - so spread out.....
howe's guitar sounds and technique included.
howe-ever, i'd never even think of putting anything like that together myself these days.


Ya' know, when a man is right, he's right......gotta bite my tongue and give ya' this one.

I thought to myself about one of the synth parts in "Close To The Edge" after my original post and said "self....Mac's gonna bring this up". Did it make me go back and edit or clarify my post? No, it did not.

Ya' hadda bring up Close To The Edge, din't ya', DOH! That dang synth, is it before or after Jon Anderson's "I get up, I get down....seasons will pass you by....?"

Gary


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:37 pm 
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Definetely the vibe, or the intention.
U can always tell when an artist has a great idea or at least an interesting one
even WITH sub-par recording(if you're comparing ir to something like vertical horizon):lol:
Even VH has that one hit thats real hooky.

sometimes, or i should say A LOT OF TIMES-clean and loud music is nothing more than a polished turd.

if a song has honesty, a little melancholy and a good dose of adventure with a ray of hope, it's a good song in my book.

Bruce springsteen comes to mind. So does willie nelson.

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 Post subject: Close to the Edge
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:05 am 
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Listening to Rick Wakeman's organ and synth playing on title cut "Close to the Edge". The synth part at around the 14 minute mark.....yes, the 14 minute mark, is incredible......as is Bruford's drumming, Howe's guitar playing, Squire's bass playing, Anderson's vocals, the harmonies and everything else.

Magical and inspiring still.....


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 Post subject: Re: Close to the Edge
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 5:00 am 
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Bartman wrote:
Magical and inspiring still.....


How true, but after all these years I still don't get the lyrics. :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:22 am 
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Being a blues , jazz , country fan , I always listen to new stuff with an open mind. It either grabs me or it doesn't. If it does not , then I study it closer to find out why. Sometimes a song will grow on me. A case in point is one of Gary's songs I'm working on , I really didn't care for at all in the beginning. I thought he had several much stronger songs. After learning it's mostly on the black keys (my favorite) and it's impecible timing I became more interested. The more I played along , the more I felt qualified to intelegently critique the arrangement and performance. And also , the more I actually liked the song. I rarely critique a song anymore which I havn't tried to play along with.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:16 pm 
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mrskygod wrote:
I rarely critique a song anymore which I havn't tried to play along with.


Ain't that the truth,

I have been surprised too many times trying to play along with a song I had initially dismissed.

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