parodies by nacrowe
there is something REFRESHING about the manner in which RECORDING ENGINEER STEVE ALBINI goes about his business. too often people, me included, lionize PRODUCERS as if they are MOSES navigating clueless bands through the RECORDING PROCESS and to the promised land. at best, some producers have HUMILITY and perceive themselves as COLLABORATORS or vehicles for artists to utilize in realizing their vision. with ALBINI he strips all of that pomp and circumstance to the core, instead viewing himself as a COMMON engineer attempting to capture the live sound of the band with no input or outside manipulation. being a musician himself as a founding member of the SEMINAL CHICAGO noise rock band BIG BLACK and later projects such as SHELLAC and RAPEMAN, ALBINI wholeheartedly believes in enabling the artist. as a RECORDING ENGINEER (he scoffs at the title and never refers to himself as a "PRODUCER"), ALBINI believes in a STRICT division of LABOR whereby creative decisions are the sphere of influence of the artist and the tracking of which is his.
he is known for recording quickly with MINIMAL if no overdubs altogether, which leads to music that has an IMMEDIATE, UNVARNISHED quality such as CELEBRATED albums like PJ HARVEY's RID OF ME (ISLAND, 1993), PIXIES' SURFER ROSA (4AD, 1988), HELMET's MEANTIME (INTERSCOPE, 1992), NEUROSIS' TIMES OF GRACE (RELAPSE, 1999), THE BREEDERS' POD (4AD, 1990) and arguably most famously NIRVANA's IN UTERO (DGC, 1994). he also charges a SET RATE with NO FUTURE POINTS on the album. in this way he sees his work as a form of LABOR akin to a plumber or electrician. he comes in, completes his SERVICE, and lets the artist keep the results with no strings attached.
what is AMAZING is that there is almost FANATICAL PURITY to that WORKINGMAN ETHOS as ALBINI has refused time and again to leverage his position to create FINANCIAL WINDFALLS for himself and his family. again, as an artist himself, such GAINS would be perceived at the EXPENSE of his clients and result in a COMPROMISED DEBASEMENT of the RECORDING PROCESS. in his perspective, such would be a blaring CONFLICT OF INTEREST. for him, his experiences and IMMENSE abilities are a resource for use by the creative community with NO ELITISM or expectation attached. the more i think about it the more REMARKABLE his BUSINESS ETHICS are.
ive made no qualms about hiding the fact that i am currently enrolled in business school pursuing an MBA. everything there is seemingly done with the end objective of extracting as much ECONOMIC VALUE from any product or service as mathematically and ETHICALLY possible, with an emphasis on the former. it is not that ALBINI's method is an anomaly in the music industry, it feels like an outlier in general. i cant even begin to imagine how much MONEY he left on the table with IN UTERO alone. but thats kind of the point.
FINANCIAL CONCERNS will come and go, but art lives on forever. best to maintain and ensure the PURITY of that PROCESS and let the other matters come to its own equilibrium and conclusion. ALBINI is someone i am continually FASCINATED by both musically and ETHICALLY and i find myself coming to terms with his since of BUSINESS ETHOS all the time.
embedded below is the second DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC, which originally aired a little over three years ago. the playlist includes music from throughout STEVE ALBINI's 'PRODUCTION' catalogue. enjoy!
SPOTLIGHT | LEVITATION SESSIONS
photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
the pandemic obviously killed the ability of bands to tour and generate income. the LEVITATION SESSIONS is an ongoing livestream series of live performances by various EXPERIMENTAL and PSYCHEDELIC INDIE ROCK bands that has the extra benefit of being committed to vinyl for posterity. its a pretty cool concept since it reintroduces that bit of DANGER that comes with live music that seemingly is lost with crowd-less performances. give the fact that bands are on sound-stages means that PROFESSIONAL recording standards are in play and the sound quality here is pretty STELLAR.
past participating bands include OHSEES, ACID DAD, RINGO DEATHSTARR, SLIFT, NIGHT BEATS, FUZZ, POST ANIMAL, FRANKIE & THE WITCH FINGERS and DEAD MEADOW among many others. since the pandemic has wained these sessions have transitioned to NONTRADITIONAL locations and performance venues in front of actual audiences. definitely worth checking out.
CHECK OUT THIS BAND | BORIS
FEEDBACKER parody by nacrowe
one of my regrets from my time living in JAPAN a few years ago was never getting to see the experimental SLUDGE METAL band BORIS in concert. i think they may have played at some point right when i arrived and i was still adjusting to my new living situation. oh well. my plan was always to stick around for a few years but that didn't happen.
BORIS is a sonically adventurous three piece outfit from TOKYO that doesn't conform to any common sense of song structure or keep to any regular tempo. their songs are more likened to an extended walk in the woods where you eventually come back to some semblance of civilization but in the meantime you are hopelessly and blissfully lost and at the mercy of your surroundings. to my ears their music is always unfamiliar in a good way, like listening to ORNETTE COLEMAN or FREE JAZZ. you are definitely taken along for an unexpected ride, but you are in good hands.
they are most definitely worth checking out.