The sound of Nirvana

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It was a big issue at that time, right? 15 years later, I'm voting for Vig & Wallace. Tired of this indie lie.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Produced by Butch Vig, mixed by Andy Wallace 25
Recorded by Steve Albini 24


Shin Oliva Suzuki, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 11:56 (twelve years ago) link

Where is Jack Endino?

Dom Cry For Me, Passantino (NickB), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 11:59 (twelve years ago) link

By "recorded by Steve Albini" I'm assuming you mean In Utero, right? because that was still mixed by Andy Wallace, and was far enough from what Cobain and Albini intended for them to include "suggested bass and treble settings" in the sleeve. So really the poll is fallacious, because we never got to hear Nirvana "recorded by Steve Albini" without at least one layer of influence added on.

Sickamous Mouthall (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:05 (twelve years ago) link

When In Utero came out, it was more a confrontation with the Nevermind 'polished' sound. That's why I left Endino out of this.

Shin Oliva Suzuki, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:07 (twelve years ago) link

http://www.bcmedicalbilling.com/RadioButton.pngProduced by Chris Blackwell

Mark G, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:09 (twelve years ago) link

Oh, come on. We read lots and lots of interviews in which Kurt said how superior was the Albini recording process and how it sounded in the end.

Shin Oliva Suzuki, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:09 (twelve years ago) link

Albini just for Serve the Servants

ABSOLUTELY NO SCRUBS WHATSOEVER, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:10 (twelve years ago) link

Scott Litt on Heart Shaped Box & All Apologies = :( though.

ABSOLUTELY NO SCRUBS WHATSOEVER, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:11 (twelve years ago) link

or :| ,rather

ABSOLUTELY NO SCRUBS WHATSOEVER, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:12 (twelve years ago) link

Oh, come on. We read lots and lots of interviews in which Kurt said how superior was the Albini recording process and how it sounded in the end.

Yes, but, Kurt then blew his head off because he coudn't stand being such a sell-out. Had Wallace not mixed In Utero, Kurt might have gone on to make interminable folk/country solo albums. THINK ABOUT THAT.

Sickamous Mouthall (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:14 (twelve years ago) link

Sounds great.

MaresNest, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:22 (twelve years ago) link

Scott Litt and Alex Coletti on Unplugged!

Jazzbo, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:42 (twelve years ago) link

Albini just for Serve the Servants

^^^^^^

legendary North American forest ape (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:44 (twelve years ago) link

But yeah, Albini for the drum sound in Milk It, as much as anything else.

Sickamous Mouthall (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:45 (twelve years ago) link

OK, I'd just heard Serve the Servants after many many many years, remembered all the fuzz about In Utero sound x Nevermind sound in the 90s and jumped in front of the computer. YOU ARE ALL RIGHT. Can we discuss how unfairly maligned was the Butch Vig production?

Shin Oliva Suzuki, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:55 (twelve years ago) link

I read that the rough mixes from Butch Vig sounded much closer to natural Albini-style production than the final product.
Someone post link to "nevermind sessions"? This is supposedly Nevermind without the Andy Wallace hi-gloss-ery.

I remember dubbing CD of nevermind to cassette with volumes maxed out to get even crazier sound. My production is best! Hi-hats sound like car crashes! Bass sounds like napalm!

Philip Nunez, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 17:25 (twelve years ago) link

I love how people still talk about Nevermind with disgust as if it's late period Ratt or something

ecuador_with_a_c, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 18:58 (twelve years ago) link

I remember dubbing CD of nevermind to cassette with volumes maxed out to get even crazier sound. My production is best! Hi-hats sound like car crashes! Bass sounds like napalm!

― Philip Nunez, Wednesday, March 25, 2009 1:25 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

wanting to hear this

I, Contrarian-Ass Mutha (some dude), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 19:07 (twelve years ago) link

I love how people still talk about Nevermind with disgust as if it's late period Ratt or something

nobody rides for free.

Blackout Crew are the Beatles of donk (jim), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 19:10 (twelve years ago) link

But yeah, Albini for the drum sound in Milk It, as much as anything else. - OTM. I love the raw menace Albini is able to conjure from drum sounds. See also: Seamonsters by The Wedding Present.

2 ears + 1 ❤ (Pillbox), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 21:12 (twelve years ago) link

the albini mix of In Utero was floating around the internet this month, it sounds like total dogshit

otm morello (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 21:27 (twelve years ago) link

is this the one with the light saber guitar solo on heart shaped box?

Philip Nunez, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 21:32 (twelve years ago) link

i guess so?

otm morello (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 21:45 (twelve years ago) link

the guitar solo sounds pretty dumb and sabery

otm morello (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 21:45 (twelve years ago) link

albini here, no question. i'm basically seeing this as "nevermind" to "in utero". i always liked "in utero" better. IU is just, i don't know, so much heavier. rougher. the drum sound is awesome, esp. on 'milk it.' that tune's outstanding

mark cl, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 21:51 (twelve years ago) link

yeah, this poll should really be "Which record sounds better"

otm morello (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 21:54 (twelve years ago) link

in utero is rougher but also brighter, i think it makes better use of cobain's voice, among other things. i definitely do not hate (or hate on) nevermind, i just think in utero does better justice to the sonic idea or ideals of nirvana.

paper plans (tipsy mothra), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 22:13 (twelve years ago) link

Chris Blackwell produced their best work. :)

Geir Hongro, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 22:14 (twelve years ago) link

:)

Nasty British and Short (hmmmm), Thursday, 26 March 2009 02:03 (twelve years ago) link

in utero sounds great

ice cr?m, Thursday, 26 March 2009 02:15 (twelve years ago) link

nevermind is not really butch vig's best work imo

in utero probably the best sounding albini recording after the low records he did. but yeah his mixes are, uh, inadequate

not being a fan of roomy drums myself i don't warm to albini's mixing all that much

Bad, Bad Memories of a Good Time (electricsound), Thursday, 26 March 2009 02:41 (twelve years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Wednesday, 1 April 2009 23:01 (twelve years ago) link

Oh well. Whatever.

Kings of Lygon (SeekAltRoute), Thursday, 2 April 2009 03:07 (twelve years ago) link

Really all three of their studio albums sound pretty good, especially Bleach since it cost like $300 bucks to record.

earlnash, Thursday, 2 April 2009 04:02 (twelve years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Thursday, 2 April 2009 23:01 (twelve years ago) link

Whoa, close.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 2 April 2009 23:04 (twelve years ago) link

I wonder if watching these 'behind the scenes' videos would have changed anyone's vote one way or the other:

Philip Nunez, Thursday, 2 April 2009 23:49 (twelve years ago) link

paraphrasing, "Kurt really wanted it to have only one guitar track on the song. But I didn't. So I tricked him into recording the same part a bunch of times so I could layer them over each other and make everything sound like shit. Now it's sounding like a rock song."

I f'd up the word rear (Z S), Friday, 3 April 2009 00:10 (twelve years ago) link

this was from that poker forum where albini started the 'Ask a music scene micro celebrity' thread

ON WHETHER THERE IS A FULL ALBINI-MIXED VERSION OF IN UTERO IN EXISTENCE:
"The version of the album in the stores is the version the band wanted people to hear, and I respect that. Any 'alternate version' floating around out there is either totally bogus or a generations-removed copy of a cassette dub, and not worth your attention."

but this is on wikipedia:
"In 2003 what is believed to be the original Albini mix of In Utero was issued as a vinyl-only release by Universal Records in the UK. This is believed to be the result of a mistake at the factory when the wrong master tapes were used to have the album recut."

6335, Friday, 3 April 2009 16:18 (twelve years ago) link

as an album i prefer In Utero but i am happy that Vig won.

cavemen who laugh at traffic lights beware (some dude), Friday, 3 April 2009 16:21 (twelve years ago) link

i overwhelmingly prefer in utero/albini, but butch has the hometown cred (nevermind was recorded at smart, right?)

Ømår Littel (Jordan), Friday, 3 April 2009 16:38 (twelve years ago) link

oh, apparently only the demos were recorded at smart, of which only "polly" made the album :(

Ømår Littel (Jordan), Friday, 3 April 2009 16:45 (twelve years ago) link

"So I tricked him into recording the same part a bunch of times so I could layer them over each other and make everything sound like shit"

watching that video, it really supports the idea of nevermind as plasticky constructed manipulated sounding (and therefore "bad"), but on the other hand, watching him drop out tracks with the faders/flyers? looks like fun! like a reverse-guitar hero or something.

didn't someone leak the individual tracks of in utero some time back? I'd be curious to hear what people who think they could improve in utero's sound would come up with with those.

Philip Nunez, Friday, 3 April 2009 17:24 (twelve years ago) link

Those results are LOLZ

billstevejim, Friday, 3 April 2009 17:28 (twelve years ago) link

that video is great

Ømår Littel (Jordan), Friday, 3 April 2009 17:34 (twelve years ago) link

Missed this poll. Prefer Steve Albini production by a mile.

Music production as a whole seems to have followed the path laid our by Butch Vig since then , so I guess WTF do I know?

Moodles, Friday, 3 April 2009 17:39 (twelve years ago) link

laid out, that is...

Moodles, Friday, 3 April 2009 17:40 (twelve years ago) link

awww c'mon, the songs on Nirvana are basically hooky, well-written pop songs, part of the job of the producer is to do justice to the material, and to not let the band shoot themselves in the foot. Also:

Wallance and Vig are quick to note that, at the time, in 1991, the band members loved the mixes, and the group signed off on the finished product

- they only became disillusioned when, y'know, uncool people started buying the album.

ecuador_with_a_c, Friday, 3 April 2009 18:40 (twelve years ago) link

here's Drain You from an earlier demo that is also Butch Vig supposedly. do you guys prefer/dislike this version?

http://www.mediafire.com/?wtmuy3y4jkm

Philip Nunez, Friday, 3 April 2009 21:18 (twelve years ago) link

nevermind is not really butch vig's best work imo

don't remember what this meant, probably 8 way santa

don't ask me why i posted this (electricsound), Tuesday, 13 January 2015 03:38 (six years ago) link

a bad quality Nirvana boot on Youtube is news?

MaresNest, Tuesday, 13 January 2015 11:29 (six years ago) link

six years pass...

new one I just heard on sports talk radio: the beginning drum fill in “teen spirit” was ripped off from the gap band’s “early in the morning”

brimstead, Saturday, 3 July 2021 00:10 (two months ago) link

I don't buy it, the kick drum is totally different

change display name (Jordan), Saturday, 3 July 2021 00:17 (two months ago) link

dave grohl said it himself on his tv show episode with Pharrell

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 3 July 2021 00:42 (two months ago) link

video here, cant figure out how to link wout linking to rando’s tweet

Super dope. Respect to artists that give their inspirations a shout. Pharrell is really big on that so it's dope that he got the exclusive. lol pic.twitter.com/3N3POZ9Sg2

— Factions2BetaTester (@CR00K__Gaming) June 30, 2021

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 3 July 2021 00:44 (two months ago) link

the Gap Band DNA is probably in that drum fill, but the sheer number of outraged people on Twitter complaining that no one ever gave disco the credit it deserved for influencing Nirvana is a little silly.

Mr. Cacciatore (Moodles), Saturday, 3 July 2021 00:57 (two months ago) link

Dave Grohl is deluding himself idc

change display name (Jordan), Saturday, 3 July 2021 02:11 (two months ago) link

I was foot tapping that “likes to shoot his gun” one earlier

calstars, Saturday, 3 July 2021 02:27 (two months ago) link

finally, disco gets the credit it deserves for dave grohl's drumming

dave grohl does dodge ram commercials

Z_TBD (Karl Malone), Saturday, 3 July 2021 02:33 (two months ago) link

it's times likes these you learn to lease a dodge ram!!
it's times likes these you learn to lease a dodge ram!!, i said,
it's times likes these you learn to lease a dodge ram!!
it's times likes these you learn to lease a dodge ram!!, i said, whoa-oh-oh!

Z_TBD (Karl Malone), Saturday, 3 July 2021 02:34 (two months ago) link

imagine kurdt cobain leasing a dodge ram. gtfo

Z_TBD (Karl Malone), Saturday, 3 July 2021 02:35 (two months ago) link

Has Grohl ever mentioned a disco influence before?

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 3 July 2021 02:56 (two months ago) link

Atm I think I agree with Jordan that shifting the kick to the "e" and "a" instead of the "&" seems like a significant difference.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 3 July 2021 03:00 (two months ago) link

Could imagine long grey haired grizzled kurt

calstars, Saturday, 3 July 2021 03:11 (two months ago) link

but that chorus beat is straight Madchester...

Mr. Cacciatore (Moodles), Saturday, 3 July 2021 03:15 (two months ago) link

xp i think it would be like "you know you're right" crossed with modern day dave grohl. on the + side, grohl would be the drummer instead of the front man in this scenario

Z_TBD (Karl Malone), Saturday, 3 July 2021 03:24 (two months ago) link

Has Grohl ever mentioned a disco influence before?

not the same thing but he was vocally stanning for electronic music on the first Foo Fighters promo stuff, iirc. his TV show, which I think was pretty good and entertaining, made it clear he has a broad palate.

burnt hombre (stevie), Saturday, 3 July 2021 08:07 (two months ago) link

The gap band is more funk than disco

《Myst1kOblivi0n》 (jim in vancouver), Saturday, 3 July 2021 08:12 (two months ago) link

Funkmaster Dave Grohl

《Myst1kOblivi0n》 (jim in vancouver), Saturday, 3 July 2021 08:12 (two months ago) link

That drum break is also close to « Funky Cold Medina » with its Funkadelic sample

AlXTC from Paris, Saturday, 3 July 2021 08:23 (two months ago) link

But yeah the Nirvana one is obviously different on the kick

AlXTC from Paris, Saturday, 3 July 2021 08:26 (two months ago) link

not the same thing but he was vocally stanning for electronic music on the first Foo Fighters promo stuff, iirc. his TV show, which I think was pretty good and entertaining, made it clear he has a broad palate.

I mean, there's having a broad palate and there's drawing deeply on Gap Band, Cameo, and Chic for the rhythms of every song on Nevermind? Just seems quite possible that his 30yo memory is being coloured a tad by the lens of the person he's talking to, the current trends, and his most recent project. It's not like people failed to make the connection wrt RHCP's funk influences or NIN's disco and synthpop influences.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 3 July 2021 10:39 (two months ago) link

he does a variation on the kick pattern but that doesn’t make it not a homage

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Saturday, 3 July 2021 12:04 (two months ago) link

The most disco-ish beat on “Nevermind,” and it’s not even particularly disco, is “In Bloom,” and Chad Channing wrote that drum part.

On the other hand I can believe Grohl listened to Tony Thompson - one of the things that initially drew me to Chic’s sound, before I was much of a funk or disco fan, was that the drummer grooves with the best of them but also hits the skins like he’s playing for Led Zeppelin (which he eventually did, of course). Grohl rarely essays a great groove, but that combination of muscle and precision is right there in his playing.

thewufs, Saturday, 3 July 2021 14:44 (two months ago) link

It’s also like the beginning of “hopscotch” by Gwen Guthrie

brimstead, Saturday, 3 July 2021 16:35 (two months ago) link

as grohl played the smells like teen spirit beat, it used up his last remaining store of coolness. he's been post-cool ever since

Z_TBD (Karl Malone), Saturday, 3 July 2021 17:02 (two months ago) link

the drum intro to teen spirit always vaguely remind me of a syncopated version of motown, a la “ain’t too proud to beg”

maybe that’s what the gap band was doing too, idk

the mai tai quinn (voodoo chili), Saturday, 3 July 2021 19:46 (two months ago) link

Grohl's best drumming is on Songs for the Deaf by QOTSA

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 3 July 2021 19:48 (two months ago) link

that was also one of his favorite albums to drum on iirc

not up to Aerosmith standards (Neanderthal), Saturday, 3 July 2021 19:49 (two months ago) link

lol, Gap Band. He could have just as easily said, like, Not Just Knee Deep or something.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 3 July 2021 19:51 (two months ago) link

Gap Band rule

not up to Aerosmith standards (Neanderthal), Saturday, 3 July 2021 19:54 (two months ago) link

Grohl's best drumming is on Songs for the Deaf by QOTSA

― Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, July 3, 2021 8:48 PM (fifteen minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

^^^^^^^^

burnt hombre (stevie), Saturday, 3 July 2021 20:07 (two months ago) link

I'm sort of confused, so Grohl said he adapted a little drum fill from a Gap Band song and this is bad or a big deal why??

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 3 July 2021 20:10 (two months ago) link

Skimmed this revive, but I think the answer is that it means ... nothing.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 3 July 2021 20:14 (two months ago) link

Skimmed this revive, but

― Josh in Chicago, Sunday, July 4, 2021 6:14 AM (eleven minutes ago)

lol, Gap Band.

― Josh in Chicago, Sunday, July 4, 2021 5:51 AM (thirty-three minutes ago)

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Saturday, 3 July 2021 20:28 (two months ago) link

i just like calling him uncool because of his longtime cool guy standing

xp

Z_TBD (Karl Malone), Saturday, 3 July 2021 20:28 (two months ago) link

xpost I skimmed the revive while out and about, saw Grohl cited the Gap Band for "Smells," and made fun of that. But I didn't read any further, per UMS, to see if this was a big deal or bad. You nerd.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 3 July 2021 20:37 (two months ago) link

I’m bloom riff drummage would have been a good follow up to the argument but as wufs points out above , it’s not grohls

calstars, Saturday, 3 July 2021 22:27 (two months ago) link

I'm sort of confused, so Grohl said he adapted a little drum fill from a Gap Band song and this is bad or a big deal why??

Bc he is using his white male privilege to perpetrate epistemic violence through cultural appropriation.

Seriously, the Gap Band fill was one example he gave of what he was describing as a broader influence throughout at least that album - this isn't a bad thing in any way but I think it's also fair for listeners to discuss the extent to which we hear this.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 3 July 2021 23:01 (two months ago) link

So where else can we hear it on the album

calstars, Sunday, 4 July 2021 00:34 (two months ago) link

EVERY ONE OF THOSE SONGS

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Sunday, 4 July 2021 00:35 (two months ago) link

I’m really sorry for this revive, I didn’t know it was an internet memey thing, I honestly just thought was two guys on the radio riffin on a Friday afternoon

brimstead, Sunday, 4 July 2021 04:31 (two months ago) link

Nah, it was fun to think about.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Sunday, 4 July 2021 15:54 (two months ago) link

Honestly, had Cobain lived they should have done a remix album.

KEEP HONKING -- I'M BOBOING (Boring, Maryland), Sunday, 4 July 2021 18:19 (two months ago) link

A taste of what could have been...

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/73/Deconstructed.jpg

blue whales on ambient (C. Grisso/McCain), Sunday, 4 July 2021 18:31 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98O3osLqZ74

Maresn3st, Sunday, 15 August 2021 16:03 (one month ago) link

three weeks pass...

Interesting exchange at 37", hard not to read something into Kurt's look.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqlocVZrKyw

Maresn3st, Thursday, 9 September 2021 15:57 (one week ago) link

Christ, that is a somber look.

peace, man, Friday, 10 September 2021 18:57 (one week ago) link

just love the sound of Nirvana, sounding as good as ever 30 years later

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRdc0OxUmYg

edited to reflect developments which occurred (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 10 September 2021 19:27 (one week ago) link


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