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MM techniques

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  • Sean Bonniwell
    I had heard you had the band detune by a whole step... is that true?... Initially (for recording Talk Talk / Come On In ) we tuned down a half step. After
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 17, 2009

      I had heard you had the band detune by a whole step... is that true?...

      Initially (for recording "Talk Talk"/ "Come On In") we tuned down a half step. After acquiring heavy gauge flat-wound strings (for the bass and guitars to maintain pitch), we were able to tune down a whole step (to maximize the bottom punch, as there wasn't the recording technology that's taken for granted today).

      was that consistent across all songs?... did you do that on the live performances also?

      For the most part, yes. However, I recall a recording session or two when the lower tuning was compromised by pitch discordance, and so we tuned back to standard to save session costs.  

      I know about the black schema, and the glove of course, but I also heard you were the first to use a strobe in performance... is that so. (Was it homemade?)

      We experimented with a store-bought modified strobe, but it soon became more of a hassle than it was worth (we had no sound tech and no one to operate the strobe and/or the general lighting).

      Did you employ any other musical or theatrical treatments that were unusual?

      They're too numerous to mention (some of the theatrical dynamics are mentioned in the book). As for recording, I spent almost as much time experimenting with mixing techniques and tape/electronic manipulations as was occupied for recording basic tracks:

      "Tin Can Beach" comes to mind for accomplishing the 'phase' effect, as does "Black Snow" with its analogue pre-echo on the vocal (an incredible more-by-accident - trial-by-error - never to be duplicated effect that had the engineer scratching his head).

      One other of note is "The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly"... I blew into a duck call (as per a trumpet) on the instrumental bridge, and back-tracked about 4 feet of discarded tape I found on the floor for the song's ending.

      I know you switch from major to minor keys sometimes and change time mid-song, was there any formula for that, any standard approach you used?

      No formulas or standard approach was employed, whatever was at hand (see above) and/or urged by spontaneous inspiration was the MO; creative necessity was and still is, the mother of invention (although digital technology has, for the most part, replaced mom's inventions). 

      I don't consider these things gimmicks or tricks... they are innovations. Any insight into the unique things you did would be appreciated.

      Thanks,

      Mike

      Director of Quality Engineering

      SHAREHOLDER

      Cenveo

      Indianapolis, IN 46268

      Honored by your informed curiosity, Mike, such interesting questions are a privilege to answer.

      In God we trust,

      sb

    • hywachee@aol.com
      Hi Sean, I enjoyed reading your answers to the questions asked of you, the MM was light years ahead. I did not know that a duck call was used for that
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 17, 2009
        Hi Sean,
         I enjoyed reading your answers to the questions asked of you, the MM  was light years ahead. I did not know  that a duck call was used for  that song !! Very interesting for sure. I just saw a amazing show last week Leon Russell and his band.  I was the best show I have seen  in many decades. I hope someday you might come to Boston.
        Your Friend, Sean Flynn in Boston
         
        In a message dated 3/17/2009 2:53:11 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, seanb@... writes:

        I had heard you had the band detune by a whole step... is that true?...

        Initially (for recording "Talk Talk"/ "Come On In") we tuned down a half step. After acquiring heavy gauge flat-wound strings (for the bass and guitars to maintain pitch), we were able to tune down a whole step (to maximize the bottom punch, as there wasn't the recording technology that's taken for granted today).

        was that consistent across all songs?... did you do that on the live performances also?

        For the most part, yes. However, I recall a recording session or two when the lower tuning was compromised by pitch discordance, and so we tuned back to standard to save session costs.  

        I know about the black schema, and the glove of course, but I also heard you were the first to use a strobe in performance... is that so. (Was it homemade?)

        We experimented with a store-bought modified strobe, but it soon became more of a hassle than it was worth (we had no sound tech and no one to operate the strobe and/or the general lighting).

        Did you employ any other musical or theatrical treatments that were unusual?

        They're too numerous to mention (some of the theatrical dynamics are mentioned in the book). As for recording, I spent almost as much time experimenting with mixing techniques and tape/electronic manipulations as was occupied for recording basic tracks:

        "Tin Can Beach" comes to mind for accomplishing the 'phase' effect, as does "Black Snow" with its analogue pre-echo on the vocal (an incredible more-by-accident - trial-by-error - never to be duplicated effect that had the engineer scratching his head).

        One other of note is "The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly"... I blew into a duck call (as per a trumpet) on the instrumental bridge, and back-tracked about 4 feet of discarded tape I found on the floor for the song's ending.

        I know you switch from major to minor keys sometimes and change time mid-song, was there any formula for that, any standard approach you used?

        No formulas or standard approach was employed, whatever was at hand (see above) and/or urged by spontaneous inspiration was the MO; creative necessity was and still is, the mother of invention (although digital technology has, for the most part, replaced mom's inventions). 

        I don't consider these things gimmicks or tricks... they are innovations. Any insight into the unique things you did would be appreciated.

        Thanks,

        Mike

        Director of Quality Engineering

        SHAREHOLDER

        Cenveo

        Indianapolis, IN 46268

        Honored by your informed curiosity, Mike, such interesting questions are a privilege to answer.

        In God we trust,

        sb

      • Jeanie G
        That was an interesting-to-read posting. (Of course, it makes me realize I don t know enough to ask an intelligent question). I m glad Mike does. However, all
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 17, 2009
          That was an interesting-to-read posting. (Of course, it makes me realize I don't know enough to ask an intelligent question). I'm glad Mike does.

          However, all is not lost for the uninitiated; Sean's book answered a lot of questions I am too unskilled to ask, but I enjoyed reading Mike's questions, too, and Sean's answers to them.

          Jeanie G
        • javimanic
          One thing Sean mentioned which is sort of key to tone is the fact they used FLATwound guitar strings. In this day and age no one uses these flatwounds for rock
          Message 4 of 4 , Mar 18, 2009
            One thing Sean mentioned which is sort of key to tone is the fact they used FLATwound guitar strings. In this day and age no one uses these flatwounds for rock music-it's strictly a jazz sound. But back in the 60's things were all over the map as far as a set style and ways of achieving the tones to get your message across. Most young musicians dont believe me when I say rock n rollers used the flats' "back in the day".
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