Proposed Producer’s and their Production Techniques.
In this post, I have outlined a few techniques used by each of the proposed producers and (by italicizing the titles) have also highlighted the specific techniques I shall be incorporating into my piece.
Wall of Sound Technique – Spector would layer up tracks of instruments playing the same part in unison, for example acoustic and electric guitars playing the same chord and strumming patterns, which lead to a much fuller and fatter sound.
Echo Chambers – Because reverb units were unheard of in the early 60’s, the means of adding reverb or echo to a track would be to get the performers to play the piece in a hall or echo chamber and record the reverberated sound or send the pre-recorded track out through speakers in an echo chamber and record the reverb that way. (This is one of the techniques I will be incorporating into my piece)
ADT (Automatic Double Tracking) – Usually implemented on vocal tracks, this was a means for Martin to produce different takes or overdubs of the same vocal session without having to re-record it, something that came as a great relief to the singers he was recording i.e. John Lennon/Paul McCartney (The Beatles). This is done by using a short-delay unit inserted on a vocal track, for example, and then altering certain parameters of the unit, i.e. the depth and rate, which in turn modulates pitch, giving the illusion that the vocals have been double tracked.
Reversed audio – This was used on tracks such as ‘Rain’ (1966) and on various other tracks on the ‘Sgt. Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band’ album. This can be done easily in Pro Tools by simply high-lighting an audio region and clicking on ‘Audio suite – other – reverse – process’. This technique Martin used an be advanced on by adding reverse reverb to a track, creating a sucking in effect. This done by reversing a duplicate of an audio track, adding a reverb FX unit with the mix at 100%. Next send the reverb duplicate down a bus to the input of a mono aux track and record. Reverse back the original audio and the reverb track and voila, reversed reverb.
Oblique Strategies – More of a frame of mind than a physical way of working, these strategies were formulated as a guide to helping in clearing the mind in times of stress in the studio, which can often cloud judgment and hinder the overall creative process. Eno himself describes them as:
“The Oblique Strategies evolved from me being in a number of working situations when the panic of the situation – particularly in studios – tended to make me quickly forget that there were others ways of working and that there were tangential ways of attacking problems that were in many senses more interesting than the direct head-on approach. If you’re in a panic, you tend to take the head-on approach because it seems to be the one that’s going to yield the best results Of course, that often isn’t the case – it’s just the most obvious and – apparently – reliable method. The function of the Oblique Strategies was, initially, to serve as a series of prompts which said, “Don’t forget that you could adopt *this* attitude,” or “Don’t forget you could adopt *that* attitude.”
Below is a video of Eno on ‘Later with Jools Holland’ (2001) where he talks a bit about ‘Obilique Strategies’.
Xenochrony – Zappa coined the term to announce his method of heavy editing and compiling of random yet strangely related audio snippits or ‘snorks’ and planted the edits throughout his tracks. He was also known for flying in random segments of audio, particularly guitar solos, recorded on previous albums and mixing them into tracks he was working on at the time. He was also a fan of heavy overdubbing of tracks, in which he was limited. This may be another technique to attempt, the restriction of tracks to record on?!
Technology – Rezner’s music relies heavily on technology and audio software, so it is possible to argue that a Rezner style production technique would be to use Pro Tools, seeing that he has been known to use it in the past along with other DAW software, i.e. Digital Performer.
Guitar Amp Modelling – Using DI guitars or dry guitar recordings and manipulating the colour of the sound using digital Amplifier plugins.
Heavy Automation – Rezner has been known to litter his tracks with effects plug-ins and manipulate the various parameters of the plug-ins to create strange and confusing textures from his recorded sounds. He also likes to use a large amount of distorted guitars and also to automate reverb on tracks, playing a dry guitar track, for example, and then suddenly throwing it out into a huge reverb space using FX plugin automation.
Dynamics/Crescendos – With many of his tracks, and more specifically ‘The Day the World Went Away’ and the theme music for the ‘Quake’ video game, the music, and especially the guitars, are constantly increasing in volume and then suddenly cut out, leaving either solo vocals or a single riff, creating power and emotion by manipulating the dynamics of his tracks.