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Steve Albini & Dublin bands
Last Post 27 Mar 2002 09:27 PM by tobble. 14 Replies.
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tobbleUser is Offline
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tobble2

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27 Mar 2002 09:27 PM
    Can somebody explain to me what's going on with Steve Albini? Why has the, indeed, "legendary" producer suddenly got this big interest in producing albums by a bunch of - let's be honest - not really truly great Dublin bands? The results of these recording sessions have really been unexceptional (with the exception of the Frames album). Dublin bands it would seem have been queuing up at the Dublin-Chicago Aer Lingus check-in desk by the bucketful the last 2 years for a chance to record with this apparently suddenly easily accessible producing "legend". Why is there such an open door to Albini for so many mediocre to okay acts on the Dublin scene? Surely a man who twiddled the knobs for seminal works by PJ Harvey and Nirvana can tell these 2nd rate turkeys from the real heavyweight artists? The Joan of Arse album was just okay, the Steve Fanagan album was - to be frank - too often embarrassing, the Adrian Crowley album was dreary and the Berkeley guys are not exactly redefining music, even on the local scene. I am perplexed by Albini. Maybe somebody can shed some light on what's going on in his head. thanks, tobble
    whaxUser is Offline
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    whax

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    28 Mar 2002 12:10 AM
    you seem to have a very demented notion of Albini's role in the making of these albums. quite antequated. first off, Albini is *not* a producer. he simply records bands. his personal opinion comes into it very little, if at all. he just knows how to get very particular sounds from particular instruments. the rooms in Electrical Audio have been built especially to achieve this 'sound'. he records hundreds of bands a year, the majority of which you will never hear of. so what if 4 of these were irish? as far as i know, he refuses to deal with major labels anymore. he just deals with bands (although i'm not *100%* sure about this) it is relatively cheap to record with him. all you have to do is ring him (his number is relatively easy to get a hold of). if he has spare time and doesn't figure you for a bulls h i t artist, simply someone who cares about music, you're pretty much dead set for recording with him. most bands who record with steve albini do not write or *create* albums in the studio. they have their s h i t down BEFORE coming into the studio. there's no time for f u c king around. he will simply record the band with brilliant mics and a brilliant ear, getting that great drum sound, that 'raw' feel, the sound of a good band playing in a room together. he has asked bands to leave his name off their releases, feeling it insignifigant. most, however, do not. so, hope that might've answered yr question. although, it doesn't explain a mite how the f u c k these 'berkely' characters got around to it....
    tobbleUser is Offline
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    tobble2

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    28 Mar 2002 09:40 AM
    Whax, Thanks for the explanation. I don't think my view is 'antiquated' as you say - I would say it's more a question of me being un-informed - that is, of course, before reading your informative reply ;o). My perception was just based on the fact that all these acts choose to put (what I consider) a very VERY heavy emphasis in their PR materials on the Albini side of their recording. Many also talk of Albini 'producing' them which - on the basis of what you are saying - is not technically the case. So the question now is why is there such a dependency for these acts on emphasising Albini's role in their albums? After hearing the respective recordings I would offer that it was a case of trying to compensate for a meidocore to just okay material (with the exception of 'For the birds'). Allow me to state the obvious but no producer (or recording engineer) can compensate for that. Anyway, many thanks Whax for clarifying the situation. tobble.
    figsUser is Offline
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    figs

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    28 Mar 2002 02:02 PM
    quote:
    The results of these recording sessions have really been unexceptional (with the exception of the Frames album
    What is it with people on cluas and bad grammer? That's the best example yet!
    quote:
    My perception was just based on the fact that all these acts choose to put (what I consider) a very VERY heavy emphasis in their PR materials on the Albini side of their recording.
    Many bands, not just Irish, mention the fact that they have worked with a famous producer (not just Steve Albini) on their new album. If my album was recorded by Albini, or anybody famous for that matter, I'd probably be highlighting the fact...
    quote:
    Many also talk of Albini 'producing' them which - on the basis of what you are saying - is not technically the case.
    Have you actually read promotional material released by the bands, or merely what is mentioned in magazine / newspaper reviews? I imagine some journalists dont see a difference between "recorded by" and "produced by" when written on some promotional material. Looking at the websites of some of these bands there is no mention of Albini "producing" their work (I dont have their albums here to verify what it actually says on the sleeve notes...) from www.stevefanagan.com there is hope an eight track album recorded april 2001 with steve albini from www.adriancrowley.com For anyone who may be curious, 'when you are here you are family' was recently recorded in Chicago with Steve Albini. from www.joanofarse.net Sound Captured By Steve Albini at Electrical Audio I couldnt find anything on the frames site
    markyedisonUser is Offline
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    markyedison

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    28 Mar 2002 09:32 PM
    Oooo, Mr. Touchy. Tobble was only asking a question and explaining why the question had popped into his head. It's not like it was intended as a draft resolution for the UN or anything. Relax, Mr. Figs. Please, Mr. Edison, won't you invent a machine to stop these monsters?
    babaUser is Offline
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    baba

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    28 Mar 2002 10:56 PM
    Forgetting about your main point for a minute (assuming there was one) I thought Adrian Crowley's album was top-class! One I'm sure Mr. Steve Albini would be honoured to have his name associated with!...just checked Cluas review of Adrian Crowley's album and guess what?....no mention of Steve Albini! It's not a tumor
    BrautiganUser is Offline
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    Brautigan

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    29 Mar 2002 01:10 PM
    Frames go to Albini. Come back with great album (even though he only pushed the play and record buttons for a couple of tracks). Release album. Play some cracking gigs. Become "scene" leaders. Other acts want to be like them. To follow the leader as it were. Go to Albini (who reaps the benefits). Terrible albums like Steve Fanagan's are the result. Everyone goes back to Cork or Dublin or bedsits to record follow-ups. Bank balances considerably weaker. The end.
    JupiterUser is Offline
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    Jupiter

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    30 Mar 2002 09:22 AM
    hehehe... well it certainly turned me off. once i saw joan of arse and fanagan...it was time to walk away. www.minerva.vze.com
    monkeyUser is Offline
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    monkey

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    30 Mar 2002 10:14 AM
    "scene leaders"? I'm not sure about that I don't know about Steve Fanagan and Adrian Crowley but Joan Of Arse going to record with Albini had nothing to do with the Frames going. http://www.kaboommusic.cjb.net
    joedolanUser is Offline
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    joedolan

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    31 Mar 2002 08:15 PM
    not sure about that actually monkey.the bearded lady actually said in interview that steve fanagan suggested it to them, and that he convinced them it would be cost effective.they really seemed nonplussed by his "legendary" status. I think this recent trend really boils down to a few things:steve DOES produce these bands(if he doesnt actually touch the recordings after the performance,that in itself and his recording setup is a production decision)and he's fucking great. he's also (by all accounts) relatively inexpensive.the band also gets to include his name on the sleeve(would we know who berkeley were without him?).and lastly , u get to go to chicago for a nice short holiday, accomidation provided courtesy of steve albini, have a good time and collect a few nice tales of rock n roll debauchery(or something).i think people didnt realise how attainable all of the above were before the frames went, its not that the other bands want to emulate them,they just kinda said:"good idea!"
    monkeyUser is Offline
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    monkey

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    01 Apr 2002 11:40 AM
    "Other acts want to be like them. To follow the leader as it were." - what I meant is I'm quite sure this isn't true for Joan Of Arse. http://www.kaboommusic.cjb.net
    monkeybombUser is Offline
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    monkeybomb

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    01 Apr 2002 02:16 PM
    Here's something from http://www.thingsyouremissing.com Recording Diary: Joan Of Arse - Distant Hearts, A Little Closer (slab4). By The Chocolate. First time in a proper studio, 4 days to record and mix an LP, time is costing us roughly £100 an hour and the engineer is Steve Albini. Nothing like being intimidated, is there? First off, anyone can book Electrical Audio (Albini's studio in Chicago) with or without Albini. Just a phone call and a 450 euro plane ticket away. It costs roughly $600 per day plus $250 for Albini, plus tapes, accommodation and anything else that crops up. The studios, in a converted warehouse, are lovely. Studio A has two marvellous live rooms and an automated analogue desk. Studio B has a live room with a 30 foot ceiling and a dead room with carpeted walls. It's also cheaper, so we recorded there and mixed in Studio A. There are 2 grand pianos, loads of great guitars, amps, drums and other instruments. The temptation was to shovel loads of extras on, but considering how short we were for time, that couldn't happen. Quite how Steve Fanagan got his LP recorded and mixed there in 2 days beggars belief. 4 days wasn't nearly enough for us, but we managed to claw an LP out of it, keeping poor ol' Albini working til 6am twice. So the drums were set up in the Live Room with its polished floors and high ceiling making the little 60s Ludwig kit sound enormous. Each drum was miked individually, sometimes on both surfaces. There was a big overhead above the ride cymbal, nothing on hi-hats and 2 rejigged wartime mics that looked like small bombs were used as ambient mics roughly 2 yards away on the floor. When we were mixing the songs the ambients were brought down for quiet parts, then as the song grew louder, they were brought in and immediately gave the drums the big naturally reverbed sound that Albini is known for. Bass and guitars were recorded in the Dead Room behind glass doors. It took us a day and a half to get decent basic tracks for 12 songs to 2" tape. Albini was already saying we should cut it down to 7 or 8 songs but we were too stupid to heed him as yet. The next day and a half was spent overdubbing vocals, guitars, grand piano, wurlitzer keyboard, saw, violin and Gumbo's scream. Each day we worked (if you can call it that) from 12/1pm until at least 3am and we still needed a few extra hours on our day off to get it finished. With one day left, we had 12 unmixed songs; a total of 80 minutes of music. We had only intended making a 45 minute LP but had neglected to time our songs. There wasn't a hope of us getting it all done since we were out of time and money, so finally we had to decide what to finish. Albini said we weren't leaving without an album and he put in a 17 hour day to make sure of it. So, by 6.30am, 7 songs had been mixed, clocking in at exactly 45 minutes. They were put in sequence later that morning just before we caught our train to the airport. Six hours after having finished with us, Albini was busy in studio with an 8 piece ska band who intended to record a 14 track LP in two days. Some people have all the luck. What we learned: Work out exactly what you have to do and plan for it. While we were mixing someone came in. "Tim Kinsella has booked 7 days to record an LP." "How much music?" "10 songs, 35 minutes." And there we were with rolls of expensive unmixable tape. Albini is a wizard with positioning mics, chopping tape, getting the feel for a song, mixing and sarcasm. His Irish accent is not so good. It's unlikely we'll break even on the LP, but the experience was a good one. More info at http://www.rte.ie/arts/2001/0920/joa.html and www.joanofarse.net. http://www.monkeybomb.com
    stangUser is Offline
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    stang

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    02 Apr 2002 10:35 AM
    steve fanagan, joan of arse and adrian crowley are not fakers. thats why they deserve to be heard. we all look forward to hearing your albini-produced album tobble :) rick
    DanUser is Offline
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    02 Apr 2002 11:11 AM
    Stang, Maybe tobble doesn't want to make an albini produced album....
    joedolanUser is Offline
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    joedolan

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    02 Apr 2002 06:44 PM
    "Other acts want to be like them. To follow the leader as it were." - what I meant is I'm quite sure this isn't true for Joan Of Arse monkey, i know all that seemed to be adressed to you but it was just a big old rant really............and for the record i think JOA are fantastic.
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