We’ll come back to this.

…But for the moment, I just wanted to point out that the following excerpt from the middle section of Steve Albini’s classic treatise, “The Problem with Music”—not always included in online reposts, possibly due to the lower swearing content and/or lack of immediately apparent/transferable relevance to being, you know, cool about band stuff—is, at this current moment, awkwardly and profoundly relevant to America in general and the Internet in particular. (This is in or around “blogging” vs. “writing.”)

But, as I say, we’ll come back to this. It’s late. For now, please complete the assigned reading below, at your leisure, and be prepared for discussion in class when we reconvene.

Excerpt from Steve Albini, “The Problem With Music,” The Baffler, Nov. 1993, pp. 31-38 (why, yes—I do have an original copy):

II. What I Hate About Recording

1. Producers and engineers who use meaningless words to make their clients think they know what’s going on. Words like “punchy,” “warm,” “groove,” “vibe,” “feel.”

Especially “punchy” and “warm.” Every time I hear those words, I want to throttle somebody.

2. Producers who aren’t also engineers, and as such, don’t have the slightest fucking idea what they’re doing in a studio, besides talking all the time.

Historically, the progression of effort required to become a producer went like this: Go to college, get an EE degree. Get a job as an assistant at a studio. Eventually become a second engineer. Learn the job and become an engineer. Do that for a few years, then you can try your hand at producing. Now, all that’s required to be a full-fledged “producer” is the gall it takes to claim to be one.

Calling people like Don Fleming, Al Jourgensen, Lee Ranaldo or Jerry Harrison “producers” in the traditional sense is akin to calling Bernie a “shortstop” because he watched the whole playoffs this year.

The term has taken on pejorative qualities in some circles. Engineers tell jokes about producers the way people back in Montana tell jokes about North Dakotans. (How many producers does it take to change a light bulb? “Hmmm. I don’t know. What do you think?” Why did the producer cross the road? “Because that’s the way the Beatles did it, man.”) That’s why few self-respecting engineers will allow themselves to be called “producers.”

…Tape machines ought to be big and cumbersome and difficult to use, if only to keep the riff-raff out. DAT machines make it possible for morons to make a living, and do damage to the music we all have to listen to.
_________________

Now, all that’s required to be a full-fledged “producer” is the gall it takes to claim to be one. Now, all that’s required to be a full-fledged “producer” is the gall it takes to claim to be one. Now, all that’s required to be a full-fledged “producer” is the gall it takes to claim to be one. Now, all that’s required to be a full-fledged “producer” is the gall it takes to claim to be one. Now, all that’s required to be a full-fledged “producer” is the gall it takes to claim to be one. Now, all that’s required to be a full-fledged “producer” is the gall it takes to claim to be one.

Discuss amongst yourself, Internet.

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