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Define And Consider Ththe Role Of Recording Studio Technology And The

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Studio technology has developed drastically over the years and has become ever more vital to the record

producer within the music industry. Different producers make use of studio technology in different

ways, often depending on the style of music that they are producing, their preferred method of

production and the band's preference of sound.

The development of recording technology has run parallel to a reorientation in popular music

production. The goal of getting a good sound is no different now than it was when the first recordings

were made, but the idea of what a good sound is and how it should be achieved are radically different.

The role of the recording producer in popular music is very important; the producer plays a very big

part in the realisation of a composition by deciding what technology should be used and how to use it.

Interplay between the musician, record producer and engineer is critical to the recording process.

However, what is eventually fixed to tape must first be composed around the limitations of the available

technology. Thus the most direct interactions between music and technology occur during composition

and realisation.

There are a number of record producers who have become famous for their distinctive sound and their

particular techniques and application of varied developments of studio technology. Some producers

take much advantage of the technology available to them, whilst others seem to prefer to employ more

classical techniques of record production, tending to shy away from the increasing practise of digital

studio technology.

Ross Robinson, well known for producing 'nu-metal' bands such as 'Korn', 'Deftones', 'Limp Bizkit'

and 'Soulfly', generates his own distinctive sound. Robinson focuses more on capturing the soul and

spirit of the music that he produces. He does this by resisting the use of digital technology and

continuing to use analogue, stating that 'the digital realm is very trendy, and it's not a very permanent

sound, it's just too synthetic, it doesn't come from flesh and blood.' (R. Robinson. Quoted by A.

Pertout. Ross Robinson: The Art of a Record Producer [online]. Available from: [Accessed 02/06/01].)

Another producer known for his creation of a specific sound is Butch Vig, who became famous for his

work on the album 'Nevermind' by Nirvana. (1991, Geffen).

Butch Vig had a tendency to record everything dry, steering away from the use of effects when

recording. He would use quite a lot of compression on Kurt Cobain's vocals so that he could control

his dynamics, and would also do some double-tracking.

Vig would record the guitars in a very different way, with a great emphasis on the use of distortion. On

the track 'Breed', Cobain used a Rat distortion pedal which was direct injected . The signal was split

and run into an amp and the direct injection was run to the board to create a 'fuzzy white-noise kind of

sound' (Butch Vig, from R. Buskin: Butch Vig. Talking Garbage. [online] available from: [accessed 29/05/01]).

Working with the band Garbage promoted a different take on producing for Butch Vig. Instead of

simply producing the band, he was also a member of it. Samplers played a huge part in Vig's work in

Garbage, unlike with Nirvana, where recording was based primarily on live instruments. 'I got bored

spending so many years recording really fast, straightforward punk records, so that's why we didn't

want to approach the Garbage record from the angle of a band playing live. Instead it was like "We can

record 47 guitars on this song, mix it down to a stereo sample, then run it backwards, record another 20

guitars and process them so that they sound like a percussion instrument.".'(Butch Vig, from R. Buskin:

Butch Vig. Talking Garbage. [online] available from: [accessed 29/05/01]).

Like many other producers, Vig used studio technology as an add-on to the instruments, and this

affected the ways in which the songs were written and laid down. ' The way that we work is that

someone will bring in a loop or a sample, and we might jam for a couple of hours, find one bar that's

kind of cool, load it into our samplers, jam on top of that....and then we'll take that home, come back,

jam on it some more, record some more things, add and subtract...'.(Butch Vig, from R. Buskin: Butch

Vig. Talking Garbage. [online] available from: [accessed 29/05/01]).

Richard D. James, performer and producer, more popularly known as Aphex Twin, uses his computer as

his primary instrument, an increasingly popular



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