Shimura Curves

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Mix Me, Baby

So today, instead of a totally gratuitous picture of Benjamin Curtis, we're going to have a totally gratuitous picture of Ron Asheton.

I finally had a day off yesterday, but instead of sitting in the sun or doing my laundry or anything like that, I spent the day recording guitar tracks and then mixing a final version of Stronger.

I'd been listening to nothing but dronerock and spacerock for weeks. That morning, I was listening to Ron's fine wah-work on the first Stooges record, and chuckling over an interview with Iggy Pop about the mixing of "Raw Power" where he was talking about how it was like a Spinal Tap skit, where he was going "Every channel is up in the red except that one - can we get that one up in the red too?" And I was on the verge of turning Shimura Curves into a full-on Stooges tribute band, when my eyes happened up The Lex's article about Girls Aloud in Plan B.

And he just succinctly managed to encapsulate everything I loved about pop, about bubblgum, about girl groups (especially when contrasted with the indie "oh, bubblegum is so manufactured, you're just pretending to like it" bonehead across the page) that I immediately ran to Woolworths and bought both What Will The Neighbours Say and Chemistry. Yes! Yes! Yes! Soon I was bouncing around the flat like a demented feret to the gorgous tremoloed, phased out guitar riff Wake Me Up and texting the other Shimuras going "See! See! GA are Spacerock after all!"

Anyway, ha-hem. Yes.

Mixing. I hate mixing. No, I have a love/hate relationship with mixing. I'm totally compulsive about it, and can't let anyone else do it, and have to do it until it's done and everything is perfect, but really, it does my head in. Picking through 10 different channels of vocals trying to figure out which exactly one is peaking out on the "F" of "I found out all along..."

::bashes head against mixing desk::

::quickly rushes to repair minute adjustments to EQs ruined by repeated head bashing::

I put on 3 tracks of overlaid pedal madness on the guitar solo of Stronger, dragging out every distortion pedal I owned until it was just ridiculous, over the top, errupting from the top of the track like an ejaculation distortion. Oh yeah, that's what I like. (Though curiously, it wasn't that that peaked out, it was the sodding vocals! Stop singing from the tits, girls!)

Lots of editing to get the vocals even. And 5 different layers of guitar for Mother. It's like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, sometimes. All these little bits that you know go together, and have to fit in somehow, but trying to get them recorded at levels that don't fry your motherboard and then all in the right place is like some complicated mathematical proof where a mistake in one figure or to much treble on the snare can bring the entire thing crashing down. (Sorry, Benjamin Curtis again: "We kind of think of these first songs like your thesis. You kind of put it out there, and then the rest of the record you spend your time proving it.")

But yeah. I think it's done. Only one or two tiny peaks of about +.03dB but I don't think that's going to tear any holes in the vinyl during the mastering process. Now I just have to listen to it on about eight different stereos to make sure it works.


At 3:09 PM GMT, Blogger Miss Daiquiri said...

Thanks for doing that Kate.

At 3:42 PM GMT, Blogger Catty said...

I fucking love mixing. I was doing so much fun stuff to Ruth's vocals last night, it was amazing. Tune her up a major third and she sounds just like me! That was fucking scary. I couldn't turn that effect off soon enough.

At 11:06 PM GMT, Blogger You Need A Mess Of Help said...

The reason why I have trouble with popists is that they almost always try to have their cake and eat it. On the one hand they claim their right to enjoy the transient thrills and unashamedly throwaway nature of bubblegum; on the other hand they inevitably try to invest it with the very same substance they've already indicated doesn't exist. Conflicted? You betcha...


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