On the high horse

Some 20 years ago, I had my first experience in music production. I attended a workshop of the “Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Rock Niedersachsen” – a government supported group to further musicians into studio technique.

A first encounter with a mixing desk, 24 track tape machine, high end microphones etc in a real life recording studio! Wow.

Apart from many-a fascinating impressions during that weekend, I was baffled by the following:

In a break,

studio owner and instructor Wolfgang played us a few examples of -in his mind- excellent productions. One of them being a Whitney Houston ballad, which at that point of my life I deemed “schmalzy”. In early 90s (and possibly still today), that kind of music was impossible to be found “cool” for any aspiring young “rock” musician. Such music, for lack of a better term was the enemy.

Instructor Wolfgang pointed out with high praise several production tweaks and perfomance highlights of that song. For instance, how much insight and intention had gone into the vocal performance. Or well the sounds had been carved out. To sum it up: He was over the moon, smitten by this song which didn’t do anything for us musos. While we rolled our eyes and thought to ourselves “yeah, right…nothing there that can teach me anything!”

Over the years

not only perspectives and horizons will extend as well as tastes. Over the course of time, I won’t allow personal taste to keep me from learning from different genres.

You may find a certain band boring, their music ridiculous or some artist’s song unworthy. If you are not ready to analyze and to appreciate arrangement-perks for instance …you stand the chance to miss quite a few lessons.

It’s not about copying the hot and happening sound of the day. Popular songs lead the way, however. If after hearing it once I still remember a sound detail half an hour later or I’m even still humming the hookline…somebody did their job well.

When after being amazed by a song you discover that the artist was on your “hell-no” list …it is time to change your attitude.

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