Recording: What is it?

I went around eight o’clock on a Tuesday to return an ex-boyfreind’s various belongings. Sweatshirt, framed picture of his neurotic dog, Nightmare Before Christmas bobblehead doll (valentine’s day gift…in retrospect, I’m still confused as to its significance) etc. You get the drill (I promise I will get to a relevant point soon, but whats a blog post without a little dramatic analysis of the past?). With honorable intentions, I chose to keep his copy of the FooFighters Wasting Light on CD, as a reminder of the poignant rites of passage that I experienced on my journey through puppy love…

OK, thats a lie. I kept it because its a darn good album and my car doesn’t have an iPod dock.

Perhaps right now you’re thinking,

“Yes, Lauren, it is a rocking (though some might argue borderline generic machismo) album…but how exactly do the FooFighters play into your view of recording as a business and artform”?

Why, reader, thank you for asking! The album in question is, in my opinion, somewhat of an odd duck in relationship to other modern rock albums. Although being an extremely successful band who I’m sure had access to state-of the-art equipment, the band chose to make the album on anolog tape in Dave Grohl’s garage. I remember being so fascinated by this album upon its release. It was raw and gritty, yet impeccably arranged. Relevant and interesting, yet grounded by the band’s past experience(s). It was immediately appealing to all my metal-head freinds because of its driving energy, but upon further digestion, I felt like there was an element of craftmanship that is so often missing in many of today’s digitally manufactured one hit wonders. There was no way I was going to miss the Wasting Light tour when it came to Minneapolis. Their music, old and new, was exhilarating to experience live. A truly great mix captures the same energy and intent of the artist that is felt at a live performance in the recording. Perhaps this is why charismatic performers such as Elvis or Frank Sinatra were so successful even during the songwriting-factory era. They performed such that people identified with their music even through a radio.  To me recording is about communicating an aesthetic. We already mass manufacture everything from canned tomatoes to barbie dolls. I argue that it is our job as musicians to continue using music as a way to truly express the human condition. Which isn’t to say bubble-pop isn’t a ton of fun (Lets face it, Call Me Maybe is our generation’s Sweet Caroline…No Shame!!). However, as an artist and someone interested in the recording arts, I hope to extend my belief in artistic authenticity to the industry. At the risk of sounding cliche, we live in a time where it is all too easy to hide behind computer screens, simple lyrics, and catchy loops. Art is made when a recording captures the human experience in order to make it accessible to the people in the world that need to hear it. I have no idea how these ideas will contribute to my future livlihood, but I have learned that passion has a funny way of leading to amazing adventures.

So that is what I’ve got for today, people of earth. Forgive my blatant overuse of parenthetical side comments (or just leave negative comments about it in the comment boxes below).

Best wishes of wildflowers, sunshine and giggling unicorns,

Lauren

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