STEVE ALBINI

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and actively resisted anybody trying to press the point

press what point...they don't like punk or noisy stuff, so what

what exactly is there to resist, I wonder

Master of Treacle, Sunday, 13 May 2012 04:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

resist engineers making bad brains sound like foghat, which apparently was going on a lot at the time.
(this is apparently still going on)

Philip Nunez, Sunday, 13 May 2012 06:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

i can't imagine steve really respecting anyone who didn't have a chip on their shoulder

10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Sunday, 13 May 2012 06:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

I think one reason Albini has mellowed is that at just about 50 he's made it over the sell-out hump. That is, he's secure enough and successful enough that at the stage many of his peers must be scrambling to support the second half of their careers/lives, he doesn't need to hustle. He's made it this far without doing anything stupid, he's in a committed pseudo-marriage, he's got a good business, a good reputation, and he's done it all (cue the music) his way. I'd be pretty sanguine, too.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 13 May 2012 12:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

surfer rosa & tweez, albums that would not be as good as they are if albini hadn't imposed his vision on them - I would think that this might cause him to question the aesthetic he arrived at ("hands off") tbh

cosi fan whitford (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Sunday, 13 May 2012 12:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

I dunno, as a sort of aesthete I can imagine him finding flaws in things that "work" because they deviate from his standard.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 13 May 2012 12:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

Josh, can you elucidate on his 'pseudo' marriage? Intrigued.

Dick Move's Wardrobe (MaresNest), Sunday, 13 May 2012 13:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

Oh, nothing special. He's just been in a committed, very long term relationship with someone who he is not married to. But she is practically his wife, common-law stylee.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 13 May 2012 13:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

But what it boils down to is I actually think marriage matters. I actually think being married to somebody is important. And doing it out of some sense of momentum or nonchalant sort of obligation seems silly to me. It's the sort of thing that you should undertake quite seriously. And I don't think it's the hallmark of a relationship that it's "marriage-worthy." I think relationships can exist inside or outside of marriage, and I feel like the marriage can -- the wedding can occur at any point in a marriage as far as I'm concerned, you know? And if you gave people the option, everybody would ask for one of those really good fifty-year marriages. That's the kind of marriage everybody wants; they want one of them grow-old-together marriages. But you can't order 'em like that. You get a marriage and then you wake up fifty years later and realize you got one of the good ones. And I just see that as a continuous process, and I don't see any real rush to have a ceremony. I feel like the ceremony can happen anywhere along the line.

fit and working again, Sunday, 13 May 2012 15:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

From interview with Mark Prindle.

fit and working again, Sunday, 13 May 2012 15:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

(Quite sure they're married since that interview.)

caro's johnson (Eazy), Sunday, 13 May 2012 15:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

2009, I guess:

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 13 May 2012 17:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

The interesting thing afaic is his repeated insistence to "make music for yourself, not for others" which is some strange dogma that I can't comprehend

This is 100% true gospel dogma whatever you want to call it. You HAVE to make music for yourself. I mean it's kind of a selfish thing and kind of an ego trip but so is getting in front of a group of people and saying "Stand right there and watch me make these sounds for an hour!" At the end of the day, the only audience you have is you. Your popularity will go in waves, there will be shows where you are playing and nobody gives a shit, or nobody shows up, and you have to be able to deal with it. And if you are not making music for yourself then at that moment you will feel a psychic shock of worthlessness and you may as well just be working in an office, at least you'll be making some decent money.

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Sunday, 13 May 2012 17:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

Super looking forward to those interviews, btw! Thanks for the link.

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Sunday, 13 May 2012 17:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

adam otm, all you can really do is trust your gut and hope a few other people have somewhat similar guts

some dude, Sunday, 13 May 2012 17:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

i love that photo.
he looks sooo happy.
he played the game his way, and he got what he wanted.
lucky b*stard.
re the cancer post : well, i could not read it for a few days for obvious reasons, but yesterday i did, and i'm glad.
our situation was very different, but still, was wonderfully open and honest.

mark e, Sunday, 13 May 2012 17:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

I always read about him talking shit about the Pixies but ive never really read any of those old interviews. Does anyone have any links? I'm pretty curious, all the interviews i can find are more recent.

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Sunday, 13 May 2012 18:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

In the 1960s and '70s, the left began to recognize that internal political debate was being hampered by crippling "revolutionary" circumspectness -- couching every "he" as a "he or she," Referring to mankind as "humankind," trying to be inclusive in every way to everyone. It was ridiculous -- to the left -- and so the phrase "political correctness" was coined to make fun of this awkward, stilted, revolution-speak language.

So, when someone would speak normally, and one of the forbidden language forms or pronouns was used, someone else -- as a joke -- would chime in with "that's not P.C."

It was a way for the Left to make fun of itself in a way that it needed to and deserved. Most importantly, it recognizes overtly that the trivia that dogmatists might criticize are unimportant. It was a joke that made a moderate, sensible point of critique within the Left.

The Right took hold of the term, using it to ridicule earnest attempts to make discourse more civil or policy more responsible, painting them with the same brush as the myopic, dogmatic revolution-speak it was originally intended to make light jest of.

It is now assumed by the general public that this notion of "politically correct" speech was a serious one, and that the left tried to impose it on others, and that it is an example of the Left overreaching in social areas. This is patent bullshit, and I am disgusted that nobody who wasn't around at the time recognizes it. Using the term reinforces the success of this right-wing propaganda move, and I hate it.

I hate orchestrated right-wing propaganda moves.

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Sunday, 13 May 2012 19:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

I love the Shellac song "Ghosts". Did anything in particular inspire it or is there anything interesting about it you can share with us?

Just had the idea that if you could conjure ghosts it would be a pretty terrible power. Like you could just make somebody dead and a ghost just like that. Or take a regular dead person and make him a restless specter forced to roam the earth forever. And if the person with that power was a little girl, just amusing herself by making ghosts like she was making paper dolls or whatever. How cute and also horrible that would be. And then what kind of people would she do that to? Maybe a historical figure she learned about in school or another kid from the neighborhood or somebody from TV...

^^^love this, probably my fav shellac lyrics and i appreciate the insight

call all destroyer, Sunday, 13 May 2012 22:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

surfer rosa & tweez, albums that would not be as good as they are if albini hadn't imposed his vision on them - I would think that this might cause him to question the aesthetic he arrived at ("hands off") tbh

― cosi fan whitford (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Sunday, May 13, 2012 8:25 AM (10 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this is sort of interesting to me--i think steve is still imposing his vision tbh, you can recognize his recordings instantly. maybe it's more like these days you know what you're getting if you record with him?

call all destroyer, Sunday, 13 May 2012 22:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think he's just more inclined to slip his vision in through the back door when no one's looking

10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Sunday, 13 May 2012 22:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

It's a little like the Dogme 95 folks not imposing their vision with recorded music, fake lights, etc.--when of course you can spot a Dogme 95 movie from a block away.

caro's johnson (Eazy), Sunday, 13 May 2012 23:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

to be honest i can't hear any sonic difference between surfer rosa and doolittle -- maybe it's the MP3s?
the stooges album sounded like a regular high-gloss rock album.

Philip Nunez, Sunday, 13 May 2012 23:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

In a way yeah he seems more like an engineer, someone who knows how to get a good sound and use the right mics. He says thats lots of times producers are responsible for you know, hiring a saxophone or crafting the arrangement or basically co-writing the song as recording. On Surfer he suggested a tempo change and pushed for the in-studio sounds ("You effing die!") but you get the sense he thinks of his job as simply getting the best sonic representation of a song/band. This is why he doesn't take royalties, I'm sure with his work ethic, if he was laying down synth patterns and extra instruments and stuff, he'd want credit.

The difference is between scaled-down multi-track analog and like a far more expensive 24-channel digital system. If you can't tell the difference then I'd say he did a pretty terrific job!

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Monday, 14 May 2012 03:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

it also matters a lot who mixes the record and who they're answering to/who they feel their obligation is to (label vs. artist vs. themselves vs. idk "posterity" or something) -- mix is 1) an entirely different discipline from recording/engineering and 2) absolutely as important as the recording itself. I don't know who mixed those Pixies records but that'd be where I'd look most for differences.

cosi fan whitford (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Monday, 14 May 2012 03:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

surfer rosa was all albini. doolittle was a gil norton production but some other dude mixed it

our love will change the world (electricsound), Monday, 14 May 2012 03:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

http://thequietus.com/articles/13250-steve-albini-interview-rapeman-shellac

The most amazing thing is that he says he tried to get Bill Withers to play ATP...BILL WITHERS!!...The guy has gone up a billion fold in my estimations...just too bizarre...my mind has been blown...

The Pastiche Liberation Front (sonnyboy), Monday, 2 September 2013 22:18 (1 year ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

http://m.imgur.com/a/p0tKn

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 26 September 2013 17:16 (11 months ago) Permalink

^^^Must read bit o' epistolary history.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 26 September 2013 17:18 (11 months ago) Permalink

I heard about Albini's admiration of Bill Withers several years back. It makes sense, with Withers' mostly stripped-down production (at least on early albums), his down-to-earth demeanor, posing for the covers with his lunchbox on break from work. There's also a great story in the James Brown book about how Brown was having a diva fit on a small plane on the way to the Rumble In The Jungle concert in Zaire, until Withers pulled a gigantic hunting knife on Brown to tell him to STFU. Badass!

Fastnbulbous, Thursday, 26 September 2013 17:27 (11 months ago) Permalink

his description of the overwrought nature of bad recording processes reminds me a little too painfully of a recording I made, where we somehow turned what we thought was great material into a mediocre record by (1) the engineer not really getting our live sound and (2) way too much drawn out tinkering and rejiggering

#fomo that's the motto (Hurting 2), Thursday, 26 September 2013 17:46 (11 months ago) Permalink

awesome letter. so much respect for albini, especially that last bit about the money.

Z S, Thursday, 26 September 2013 19:35 (11 months ago) Permalink

There's likely a bit of an underlying sales-tactic angle to all that though, don't you think?

xpost

Evan, Thursday, 26 September 2013 19:38 (11 months ago) Permalink

love the spirit of the letter, and many of the details, but who says a recording has to sound like a live band? there are so many other things a recording can be.

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 26 September 2013 19:38 (11 months ago) Permalink

albini is such a joy to read, and a great dude all around.

marcos, Thursday, 26 September 2013 19:54 (11 months ago) Permalink

I think albini's point is that if you're recording a rock band, it should sound like a rock band

also maybe it's the cynical in me but weird that this is circulating the week of the in utero reissue

a hard dom is good to find (Edward III), Thursday, 26 September 2013 20:23 (11 months ago) Permalink

uh, i think it's explicitly part of the promo (included in the box set)?

also <3 beau and his twitter.

festival culture (Jordan), Thursday, 26 September 2013 20:25 (11 months ago) Permalink

the fugazi session he mentions was scrapped though, and, ironically, he kind of failed to make them sound like themselves. Everyone has their artistic failures I guess.

#fomo that's the motto (Hurting 2), Thursday, 26 September 2013 20:29 (11 months ago) Permalink

it should sound like a rock band

which sounds like what exactly?

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 26 September 2013 20:32 (11 months ago) Permalink

There's likely a bit of an underlying sales-tactic angle to all that though, don't you think?

― Evan, Thursday, September 26, 2013 12:38 PM (55 minutes ago)

Not really as Kurt had approached Steve about recording the follow-up to Nevermind... not the other way around.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 26 September 2013 20:35 (11 months ago) Permalink

the fugazi session he mentions was scrapped though, and, ironically, he kind of failed to make them sound like themselves

Nah, they sound like themselves on it

you are kind, I am (waterface), Thursday, 26 September 2013 20:37 (11 months ago) Permalink

Albini made good records in part because he had an approach that he believed in and stuck to. He talks about it dogmatically as though it is *the* approach, which it isn't, but the fact that he was so adamant about it made him a better engineer/producer imo.

#fomo that's the motto (Hurting 2), Thursday, 26 September 2013 20:37 (11 months ago) Permalink

This sounds like ass:

the drums are all pushed out and the guitars, which are what really drive the band, are kind of crushed

#fomo that's the motto (Hurting 2), Thursday, 26 September 2013 20:39 (11 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, they definitely didn't sound like that live. Weird choices on Albini's part. And arrg weird panning on the drum kit. Hate that.

punt cased (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 26 September 2013 20:44 (11 months ago) Permalink

Yeah it doesn't sound that different than the Kill Taker version to me.

you are kind, I am (waterface), Thursday, 26 September 2013 20:45 (11 months ago) Permalink

Keep in mind those are DEMOS

you are kind, I am (waterface), Thursday, 26 September 2013 20:45 (11 months ago) Permalink

sounds way different from Killtaker

#fomo that's the motto (Hurting 2), Thursday, 26 September 2013 20:47 (11 months ago) Permalink

i don't like the slint stuff with albini because it sounds too albini. and yet i don't mind the same albini touch on the breeders/pixies stuff. sometimes it works for me and sometmes it doesn't.

scott seward, Thursday, 26 September 2013 20:48 (11 months ago) Permalink


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