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I'm all for professionalism in audio. In fact, I teach it, and have done so for many years. You can't get a job or win clients without having the ability to produce work of professional quality - clean, clear, crisp and having no faults.
In the course of my work I hear many recordings of all levels of professionalism from raw to polished - sometimes very highly polished indeed. But what is rare is hearing something that makes me want to put it on my iPod, or burn a CD to play in the car. In other words, I rarely hear music that excites me. And I include both home studio and commercially released music here.
Of course, some might say that at my advanced age (I've been around this business for a long time) I should be looking for something more soothing and relaxed...
"To hell with that!" is my response :-)
I wrote an article recently that touched on the topic of excitement in production. In my closing paragraphs a phrase popped into my mind that seemed to me to sum up what I am looking for...
I don't want to confuse punk production with punk music. There's a lot of punk, or new-wave, music from the 1970s and early 1980s that I love. And there's some that is a lot more recent. However, it is the punk attitude that I am interested in, putting excitement first and foremost. And if the overall sound of the recording and production doesn't make you want to pogo, then it doesn't matter how professional it is.
So punk production does not have to mean punk music. It can be any music, classical music even. From the selection of microphones, positioning, preamp choice and settings, all the way through the production process to mixing and mastering, excitement should be key. And if any stage of the process doesn't add excitement, then it needs rethinking so that it does.
In my previous article on this topic, I asked for examples. So what do you think about this one? Are there lessons to be learned that could be applied to other styles of music?
It's called Roaming The Halls by a band called Fletcher Christian Mutiny from the Isle of Man...
Lead Guitar - Nell Kneale
Drums - Stephen Quinn
Bass Guitar - Liam Birchall
Vocals - Keef Lawler
Rhythm Guitar - Justine Lewis
Recorded and Produced by Gypo Buggane for Ballagroove Records 2012 in Port St Mary, Isle of Man
Fletcher Christian Mutiny's debut Mini-LP is now available on Ballagroove Records from fletcherchristianmutiny.bandcamp.com/album/the-hill-of-difficulty