photo manipulation by nacrowe
RICK BEATO is a trained engineer and producer of nominal fame, having mentored and produced minor bands in the 1990s, mostly out of his studio in ATLANTA, and before that was a instructor at ITHACA COLLEGE in upstate NEW YORK. nothing particularly noteworthy but he did make a living as an engineer and producer with CHRISTIAN artists from what i could find online.
however, what i find compelling about BEATO is his YOUTUBE series of videos called WHAT MAKES THIS SONG GREAT where he basically dissects popular music utilizing the stems from the original recording. it is super interesting because the guy gets into the weeds about MUSIC THEORY and it is completely wonky. i may only understand a third of what he's talking about technically, as i am not a trained musician, but what you come away with is the complexity and depth of thought involved with constructing compelling ROCK AND ROLL music.
even songs by bands i thought i had a handle on (AC/DC, NIRVANA) are unwrapped and presented in a way where the tricks of PRODUCTION and SONG CRAFT are revealed. and example of such is how KURT COBAIN in terms of his singing voice will complete and alter chords that are evoked with the guitar, essentially creating haunting melodies that transcend their individual parts. you get the feeling that COBAIN did this innately, but its still cool to know that in technical terms what he did is of interest to scholars that have the ability to inspect his work on a purely compositional level.
this series, along with WARREN HUART's related INSIDE THE SONG YOUTUBE series, gives you a deep dive into MUSIC THEORY and RECORDING TECHNIQUES within the context of specific songs, which is such a gift. its like learning MUSIC THEORY through osmosis and i am a fan. his actual engineering/production career not so much.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
when i discovered the band FAILURE in the 2000s when i was in college, years after their demise, i could not believe that i completely missed out on such a great band during their heyday. it made me reconsider my MOUNT RUSHMORE of great bands from that ALTERNATIVE ROCK era (JANE'S ADDICTION, FAITH NO MORE, TOOL, ALICE IN CHAINS, NIRVANA, SOUNDGARDEN, etc) to include one more. specifically the sounds found on their respective second and third releases, MAGNIFIED (SLASH, 1994) and FANTASTIC PLANET (SLASH, 1996) are HUUUUUUGGGGEEE.
almost PINK FLOYD-ish without the literary pretensions. just huge rock riffs with lots of space. in fact whenever i listen to their records now, even the releases post-reunion, i just feel like i am experiencing a defined space with lots of DEPTH and WEIGHT. its amazing that FAILURE mastermind KEN ANDREWS produced and mixed those records back in the 1990s. since their demise he has been an in-demand mixer that has worked with NINE INCH NAILS, PARAMORE, A DAY TO REMEMBER, TENACIOUS D, THE ICARUS LINE, JIMMY EAT WORLD, and M83 among others.
started before the quarantine, he created a YOUTUBE channel where he goes over his mixing techniques and utilizes the FAILURE back catalogue as examples. even if you are not a musician or studio rat, just a fan of his band then this is a real treat. its next level that a dude that went the DIY route (even with regard to their stylized, futuristic music videos) was able to track and mix content that held up to professional standards of the time. its also cool to get a sense of his writing process, which is layered and methodical.
if you haven't heard MAGNIFIED or FANTASTIC PLANET, please stop reading this and just go find a comfortable place and zone out on SPOTIFY for the next two hours. you can thank me later.
thank you to FAILURE for retweeting out posting! so cool.