The new album “Vestiges and Claws” from Jose Gonzalez –
See: just grab the mic and press record!
Recording Artists spend a lot of time and effort trying to capture nice clean audio and that’s normally a pretty sensible investment. Whole decades have been dedicated to the elimination of distortion and other noisy intrusions and no doubt many careers. Some of my favourite albums are testament to this, towering examples of the technical prowess and massive expense invested in them.
Dunno about you, but there is a problem with these kind of records. It’s the same feeling I get when watching some virtuoso 5-year-old crash effortlessly through a Bill Bruford drum solo. I just wanna chuck my sticks out of the window and cry. The same can effect the recording artist but in this album, we have a great example of why we have the option to shake off the burden of technical quality and perform – however, wherever, and with whatever kit we might be able to cobble together.
OK, so I suspect there was a team of highly trained Engineers making sure there was plenty of lo-fi atmosphere in these productions, Jose must have earned a pile from that TV advert after all. The argument stands though – don’t fret about bit rates, jitter, or signal to noise ratios too much. The beauty and freedom we all now enjoy in the digital world has democratised art but technical snobbery can still hold us back. You could make this album on an old 4 track Portastudio and a pair of SM58s.
Of course, you’ll still benefit from a little help from your local (or virtual) production studio, but in the meantime: go forth and record!
Caveat: Once you have gone forth and to your horror, realised that your recordings actually sound really nice and clean even with your non-professional kit, you might need to dirty them up. I recommend a free plug-in from Softube in that case:
Listening notes: Taking track one “With The Ink of a Ghost” 2 Things stand out for me:
- Distortion of the saturation kind very prominent especially in the lower frequencies. Yummy. The lows in any composition carry much of the emotion and here, they are enhanced beautifully with the addition of harmonic fuzziness
- Carefully crafted but simple reverb. It’s a combination of very open and diffused space with a lovely delayed reflection that blooms softly in the spaces in between vocal phrases. A reminder that reverb combined with controlled delay (or echo) is fab. Reckon you’ll need a convolution reverb to create these levels of “naturalness” though.