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  1.  
    "a good recording sounds like a faithful and well mixed version of what the group actually sound like".
    well, if that's the criteria, then i guess any record done by Wire after Pink Flag can be considered over-produced. and the results haven't been too bad, have they ?
  2.  
    Actually, Pink Flag is quite heavy in its studio work, too, but because the music centres around guitar sounds, it's less obvious.
  3.  
    My biggest gripe is that Wire have abandoned the sound of the room in their recordings. Everything from Manscape onward has sounded very direct and digital and is missing the ambiance of the space that makes the recordings in the 77-79 sound so good. That's what I mean when I say "the sound of a band playing together in a room".
  4.  
    That's really a case of 'needs must' - Wire albums are assembled at Swim studios (ie at Colin's house) which doesn't have a full "live room". It's just not possible for them to, erm, jam without incurring extra studio costs.

    Rob's drum tracks were recorded live in another studio.

    Mark
  5.  
    I still am suspicious of the notion that words such as "production" and "engineering" have become one glob and completely lost their value. If it is impossible to differentiate between them in a discussion - whether or not the above hats were worn by the same person - then I'm unclear on how an artist might describe where s/he feels things are going right or wrong in a project, or how critics will be able to look at an album and describe their perceptions, or how those funny little credits on album sleeves ("produced by", "engineered by") can possibly mean anything anymore.

    Nevertheless, if that's how we're looking at it here (that "production" is a blanket term that means everything about a recording session), then no. I don't think Wire has become over-produced.

    I do, however, think that stevethehouse makes an excellent point. It should be brought up with the artiproducengineer.
    • CommentAuthorcc says...
    • (CommentTimeJan 21st 2009 edited)
     
    "That's really a case of 'needs must' - Wire albums are assembled at Swim studios (ie at Colin's house) which doesn't have a full "live room". It's just not possible for them to, erm, jam without incurring extra studio costs.

    Rob's drum tracks were recorded live in another studio."

    so, they can't afford another studio, except that they can afford another studio? hmm... that makes half sense, in that drums obviously need to be recorded in a live room. But guitars are normally close-miked anyway, which brings little if any natural room sound to tape. So there ought to be room sound coming from the drums, but I think the compressed "production" style eliminates it from the mix. This is a choice, not a need(s?).

    7jlong, I haven't looked at a new album's credits in a long time--how many from the sub-elite level of bands have separate engineer and producer credits? Not many anymore, I'd guess. And again, the engineer would normally be engineering according to instructions from the artist or producer so, yes, it is pretty impossible to differentiate if all you have to go by is the final product.
  6.  
    "I haven't looked at a new album's credits in a long time."

    I'm not even sure what to say to that, except that I'm not much surprised.

    Anyway, this thread has run its course for me. I can not seem to establish that what I am talking about is methods of discussing a final product, not analysis of who-did-what-and-when-under-what-banner. Even if Colin did everything from playing every instrument to mic placement to mixing to mastering to shrink-wrapping discs at his kitchen table with a hair dryer, there are still descriptive terms to each component of a given process.

    The notion that these terms and descriptors have been abandoned is absurd.

    A good production decision is one thing. A poor engineering decision is another.

    Even if the decisions came from the same person.
  7.  
    I can say for certain that hair-dryers were not used in any aspect of the most recent Wire album.
  8.  
    That's a shame, it's a mental image that I've particularly enjoyed.
  9.  
    What is your definition of "Hair Dryers not being used" on the recent album?
  10.  
    shoddy production.
  11.  
    Just to add fuels to 7jlong's producer v engineer flame....

    Do you really think that in the 80's, those crazy snares with 10 second gated reverbs mixed in with samples of white noise, doubled up with a linn drum, compressed and then through another 10 AMX reverbs were the fault of the engineer, or the producer who sat in the studio half out fkd out his face on coke shouting "bigger! louder! make it sneeze! almost there! LOUDER!" 'Production' is every much to do with the finished sound of a record as engineering

    My only gripe with the latest recording of Wire is that they should have went into a studio to record the vocals aswell (maybe they did?) because it sounds like most home recordings, where you're trying to keep it down a bit not to have the neighbours thinking you have completely lost the plot...the difference in vocal delivery between live versions of Agfers, Spent, 99.9 etc. all reflect this.

    The line 6 fizzy guitars get a bit tiring on the ears too...but hey, the original poster referred to QOTSA album, and thats one of the most horribly over produce death by pro tools pieces of *** ever...
  12.  
    No flames here!

    But no zippy comeback either. Oh well.
  13.  
    "What is your definition of "Hair Dryers not being used" on the recent album?"

    The distinct lack of a guest appearance from Alex Ferguson.
  14.  
    "My only gripe with the latest recording of Wire is that they should have went into a studio to record the vocals aswell (maybe they did?) because it sounds like most home recordings, where you're trying to keep it down a bit not to have the neighbours thinking you have completely lost the plot...the difference in vocal delivery between live versions of Agfers, Spent, 99.9 etc. all reflect this."

    I've been in Swim Studios while Colin has played stuff for me so loud that I thought my eardrums would pop out the other side of my head and my brain would drip out of my nose. I really don't think the band has the slightest issue with 'keeping the noise down'.
  15.  
    Interesting! I guess its just a feel thing then, ie. the difference in being able to project the vocals with the full band behind in a live setting versus singing along karaoke style with headphones in a studio.

    However, I have always felt the vocals in the studio on the first three albums gave it more than the live stuff from that time...

    How sad is it when music is broken down like this....
  16.  
    Regarding live versus studio, I think it partly comes down to noise and projection. On stage, Colin and Graham are effectively battling the other instruments. In the studio, a relatively subtle vocal can be mixed into 'loud' backing, but such a vocal would likely be lost on stage. In a simplistic sense, Wire vocals tend to be more 'shouty' and 'aggressive' live, which certainly suits some tracks, but not others. (For me, 99.9 works far better on the CD, for example, with the subtler early vocal parts.)
  17.  
    "Pink Flag is quite heavy in its studio work, too, but because the music centres around guitar sounds, it's less obvious. "

    It has quite a lot of guitar overdubbed making a denser noise.

    "I've been in Swim Studios while Colin has played stuff for me so loud that I thought my eardrums would pop out "

    Sounds a fine place to be!
    • CommentAuthorcc says...
    • (CommentTimeJan 22nd 2009)
     
    "The line 6 fizzy guitars get a bit tiring on the ears too"

    right, I forgot about those--haven't been studying the credits!--does a Line 6 guitar go in direct? Thus whatever minimal room sound you'd get from miking the guitar amps wouldn't happen.

    the recent albums do seem to me to have been engineered/produced/mixed with headphones heavily in mind. R&B 1 was the first album I'd ever heard that sounded _more_ ferocious on the cans than through the speakers--usually the detail and spacing that headphones provide take away from the "oomph" of the overall mix. R&B 1 somehow reversed that effect. I haven't had the chance to crank the new album yet, but there's something squashed about the mix that makes me expect the same relationship. This seems to go against Craig's report above--lucky guy!--but that's how I hear it.