Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Sound of Young America

Drives home for me are things of beauty when accompanied by the sounds of The Sound of Young America. I subscribe to the podcast and always love listening to it on my iPod.

Recently featured on the show, comedian Hannibal Burress, whose style of delivery reminds me of the late and wonderful Mitch Hedberg, had me fighting the urge to smile broadly while trying to maintain bored coolness while shopping at Food Lion after midnight a couple of nights ago. There's not much more suspicious than a solitary shopper buying 12-items-or-less with a huge grin upon his face in the wee hours of the morning. Nonetheless, Hannibal had me cracking up. He's at the end of this podcast and his website is here.

Tonight's listen educated and warmed this music lover's heart. Host Jesse Thorn, self-proclaimed "America's radio sweetheart," interviewed musician and producer Steve Albini. His approach to producing and engineering is refreshingly free of ego and "devoid of any trace of tarnish."* When asked why he still charges a modest day rate at his studio instead of the much larger sum that most super-producers demand, he answered as only a true music fan could. Steve replied that while the alternative would certainly be possible, it would likely result in him making a couple of albums a year with not much chance for experiencing the multitude of fresh and organic opportunities found in working the way that he does. Awesome.

From Wikipedia:
On [Nirvana's] In Utero one can find a typical example of Albini's recording practices. Common practice in popular music is to record each instrument on a separate track at different times; see multi-track recording for more information. However, Albini prefers to record "live" as much as possible: the musicians perform together as a group in the same room. Albini places particular importance on the selection and use of microphones in achieving a desired sound, including painstaking placement of different microphones at certain points around a room to best capture ambience and other qualities.
Why in the world is this guy's approach to recording music such a rarity in the industry?

Thanks to The Sound of Young America for bringing their wonderful shows to my humble ears. Listen often and support the program when you can.

*"Devoid of any trace of tarnish" is a line from Peter Himmelman's Skin CD entitled "Clean." I just love how it feels to say that.

1 comment:

Ron said...

Steve Albini is my favorite producer working right now, just because the difference between his sound and some other producer's sound, even with the same band, is palpable.