photo manipulation by nacrowe
with the advent of YOUTUBE there is a whole host of record producers that realized maybe the salad days of the recording industry are over and that one possible new avenue for revenue is creating videos about music production. producers RICK BEATO and WARREN HUART both come to mind immediately as they utilize their trained ears to inform the public about things like composition, tracking, mixing, panning and the various tricks of producing professional, well-recorded music.
i'll leave BEATO for another entry, focusing instead on an impressive sub-series HUART conducted on his PRODUCE LIKE A PRODUCER YOUTUBE channel where he interviewed prominent producers about noteworthy records they produced. this sub-series was called INSIDE THE SONG. the majority of what HUART does on his channel are long-form videos about the innards of recording studios and why owners chose various outboard gear and how producers go about utilizing such. the INSIDE THE SONG series is more accessible to a non-techie crowd and gets into how songs evolved throughout the recording process and what particular techniques are favored by each producer/engineer at the time. you also really get the sense of the amount of play involved in recording and how ideas evolve over time. super interesting stuff even if you are not a confirmed studio rat. especially such if you are a music junkie like i am.
participants to date include producers/engineers DAVE JERDEN (JANE'S ADDICTION, ALICE IN CHAINS), MICHAEL BEINHHORN (SOUNDGARDEN, MARILYN MANSON), ULRICH WILD (STATIC-X), BRADLEY COOK (FOO FIGHTERS), SHELLY YAKUS (TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS, BLUE OYSTER CULT) and JACK DOUGLAS (AEROSMITH, CHEAP TRICK). definitely worth watching.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
ECHO IN THE CANYON (MIRROR FILMS, 2019) is a documentary about the mid 1960s LAUREL CANYON scene located just outside the SUNSET STRIP in the hills above LOS ANGELES that served as a sanctuary to FOLK-inspired ROCK AND ROLL musicians. musician JAKOB DYLAN of THE WALLFLOWERS conducts the interviews with luminaries such as BRIAN WILSON, ROGER MCQUINN, DAVID CROSBY, RINGO STARR, ERIC CLAPTON, GRAHAM NASH, STEPHEN STILLS, TOM PETTY, JOHN SEBASTIAN, MICHELLE PHILLIPS, LOU ADLER, JACKSON BROWNE and most compellingly, reinterprets the songs himself of BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD, THE BEACH BOYS, THE BYRDS and THE ASSOCIATION with a roster of modern musicians including FIONA APPLE, CAT POWER, BECK, JADE CASTRINOS and NORAH JONES. as i will discuss shortly, this continuing of the cycle of interpretation and experimentation is a genius stroke as that passing of ideas is at the core of how the scene developed and was nurtured by artists back in the day. very cool stuff indeed.
what i found most interesting about this period of music history was the atmosphere of experimentation that defined it with songwriters cross-pollination and contextualizing the sounds of peers in new concoctions, moving everyone forward together.
prime example: THE BEATLES inspired THE BYRDS to take FOLK chord progressions and play them in a ROCK AND ROLL setting, which found them reinterpreting PETE SEEGER in a cover of his "THE BELLES OF RHYMNEY" which, in turn, influenced GEORGE HARRISON to interpolate that chord progression and 12-string RICKENBACKER sound in "IF I NEEDED SOMEBODY." just a cycle of ideas being ping-ponged back in forth across the pond by like-minded artists.
and for me that is the crux of any healthy scene, irrespective of outside distractions like business, fashion and aesthetics. at its core this scene nurtured artists to spread their wings and take chances. as BECK points out in the film, this may be why most of these bands have multiple singers and songwriters. they are in fact supergroups in a sense channeling the best of what they have to contribute. just take the songwriters in two of the most prominent groups: BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD (NEIL YOUNG, STEPHEN STILLS), THE BYRDS (ROGER MCQUINN, DAVID CROSBY). its pretty amazing they stuck together as long as they did.
its a complete 180 now in terms of the media landscape where artists are afraid of being explicit about their influences for fear of being sued in the aftermath of the 2013 PHARRELL/ROBIN THICKE case concerning an interpolation of a MARVIN GAYE song. or maybe im wrong in that, maybe with the internet there is a bevy of experimentation going on beneath the surface, producers trading files with musicians and rappers, songs being remixed, ideas being shared in the same way those house parties in LAURAL CANYON helped spark such a rich tapestry of music from 1965-1967 at the outset of that scene (including others not interviewed like FRANK ZAPPA, JONI MITCHELL and JIM MORRISON) which obviously blossomed in the 1970s with acts such as CAROLE KING, JACKSON BROWNE and FLEETWOOD MAC among othes. something to consider. great film.