by Casey Rea
Although working on other people's music is rewarding, it's time consuming. Especially since I'm incredibly anal-retentive about audio. In fact, one of the reasons I'm loathe to release my own music — besides the fact that I invalidate even my most recent projects with new experiments — is because I can't control the listening environment once the music leaves my hands. I shudder to think of people listening to my stuff on shitty boomboxes.
That's what I like about mixing, editing and mastering other people's music. it allows me to disconnect myself (to some degree, anyway) from that level of obsessive control. And I enjoy playing George Martin or even Brian Eno on projects where I can aesthetically or creatively be involved.
Some engineer/producers like my friend Daryl Rabidoux, prefer the Steve Albini approach, where straight documentation of the band's live sound is sacrosanct.
That's why it's fun to mix bands that Daryl has recorded. I know I'll get the best quality tracks that capture the most inspired performances. He knows (I hope) that I can conjure the spatial elements that'll give the record color and character, while performing "stealth edits" to ensure the record holds up in a crowded marketplace.
It's an interesting process that usually involves a lot of discussions and sharing of ideas between band, engineer and mix geek.
So far I've had the luxury of only working on projects I'm really interested in, So I guess it works for now. But I will have to call a moratorium on outside projects this winter. I really need to record some of my own material again. Not to mention the fact that doing gear reviews for Grooves and music articles for other publications takes quite a bit of my free time.
But it'll have to wait — Daryl and Swale have begun work on the group's upcoming full-length, and supposedly I'll be involved in the mix. Yes! I absolutely LOVE working with them. They're so freaking creative.
OK — back to work.