The Art of Recorded Music

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A canvas. A monitor. A block of clay.

Human imagination is more fertile and expansive than all of them. Human imagination is where the soundstage of recorded music is rendered.

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Creating sound for a recording takes planning. Even a simple voice over requires quieting the room, writing a script, and a doing a mic level check. Recording a band or larger unit requires extensive planning, both technical in nature and strategic from an artistic sense.

 

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How many sounds are we trying to create? How many instruments, voices, microphones, and additional dubs? How many tracks per song? How many songs per album? These are artistic decisions mixed with lots of technical hum-drum (a million cables).

 

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As the musicians and producer start to craft the songs they are already working on many layers.

The arrangement is one layer, actually each part within the arrangement is a layer.

The type and style of sounds emanating from the instruments are another layer.

 

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The feel or tempo of the songs is another layer.

The prominence of instruments in the mix is another layer.

The amount of soloing is another layer. I could go on [and some bands do indeed go on and on!]

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The point — there is complexity here that gets painted into the soundstage of the final product. These entire layers of creation are not only intentionally put there, but fretted over in emotionally draining recording sessions hour after hour.

There are screaming battles, insults, and hurt feelings as the artist sweats and bleeds for their art. Pure creativity buried in the mix. Artists layer sounds while recording engineers massage, place, and blend sounds through the recording system.

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The blend of the sounds is critical. Each sound works within, against, and through all other sounds.

Nothing – NOTHING, including color, mixes like sound. No medium has more depth than sound.

No other artistic medium works by fulling enveloping the participant. IMAX? IMAX is actually about 20% of your surroundings fixed in space with visible framing. A simple head turn or eye close makes IMAX no-max.

Sound has no equal. This is why I fight so strongly these days against the lossy crowd, against the phones are fine for music, buy new headphones crowd. Even my own friends. I have to remind them that reducing our music is reducing our soul and we should be very careful with such things.

 

How You Hear Music

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Listening 101

1. Directionality – Where is that sound coming from? Where exactly is that hi-hat sitting in the mix? Is the band in front of me or all around me?

2. Delay/Roomspace – Am I in a large room, small room, outside? Was this music recorded in a large room or small room? Was the recording room rounded, square, long?

3. Quality/timbre of instruments – Is that an electric guitar? Do I like the tone of it? Do I like that keyboard patch? How about the singer’s voice?

4. Stereo soundstage – Do I hear 2 guitars doubling each other, or 1 guitar with a wide delay? Is the singer front and center, or is he singing 2 parts, 1 left, 1 right? How wide are the drums set in the mix?

5. Timing of musicians and recording – Do the various delays work together musically, or are they clashing and changing the feel of the song? Are the drummer and bass player locked in? Is the 2nd percussion player ahead, behind, or on the beat?

6. Quality of recording – Is this the best version of this song? Is the distortion in the track intentionally added by the artist or is it in the format?

7. Clarity and breadth of EQ – Are most of the pleasing frequencies present, and are the harsh, brittle frequencies diminished?  Do the various instruments and voices blend and work with each other as layers, or do they cover each other?

8. Noise floor – Is there a hum or buzz in this recording? Is it from a bad recording, or a loud instrument, or something wrong in my system?

9. Phase – If things were recorded in phase you don’t notice it. If things are out of phase with each other, various comb filtering and aliasing artifacts appear in your music.

10. Digital loss/compression – Has this file been reduced from the original? Did they remove things they hope I can’t hear to make the file smaller?  Are there compression artifacts in the mix.

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There’s 10 things to listen to without even thinking about frequency range. 10 things most internet audio experts never take into account.

Your New #23

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This Thursday, July 8th at 9pm, two men will take their respective stages and perform their act. These two men, Ezrazmus Jones and Lebron James, use the much-maligned and misunderstood city of Cleveland as their castle grounds. King Lebron resides in the southern region of the kingdom, while his apostle Ezrazmus resides on the northside.

If Lebron leaves, Cleveland, you still have Ezraz – your new number 23! We will be watching ESPN at The Duck Island Club, 2102 Freeman Ave. Cleveland, OH, 44113.

The 2nd Northside Nights All Cleveland Music Night is kicking off after Lebron’s press conference this Thursday, and it’s gonna be a hell of a night depending on what the King announces.

If he stays, we party all night with great Cleveland music, film, and basketball dreams. If he goes, we party all night with great Cleveland music, film, and basketball memories.

Either way we party all night and we play the best Cleveland music you’ve never heard.

Buy local, listen local, love local: Northside Nights Cleveland Music Night, “W or W/O”, this Thursday. Check out the playlist from last month’s Night on WFNK.com here.

Live Mashed Potato Succotash

Ezrazmus Elemento Jones (aka DJ Raz) performs live tonight, smashing genres and resetting standards all over. Funk, rock, soul, and dub all get in the mix, fondling for fun and profit. In your face chaos. Add cheap drinks and beautiful mutants and you have a double hockey stick kind of night.It’s all at the Duck Island Club tonight (under new management) in beautiful Cleveland Ohio. It’s summer so hold your excuses.

(sent via iiiPhone)

Posted via email from 2M :: REAX

Live 2MERICA Remix Project

Hey internuts: Another week means another remix. Tonight I’m doing a live 2MERICA remix project along with some excellent additions from more robots than people on my table tonight. To combat these gadget ghouls I have armed myself with some fresh audio live from TV and some fresh tricks from my digits.

If you have any idea what any of this means, I’ll see you at the Duck Island Club tonight. For those of you not enjoying life in Cleveland someday soon I’ll be recording my set and perhaps sharing online somehow.
Ezraz

my face has more than a book .::. http://wfnk.com


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Welcome to the afterfuture

Now that I’m out in the mix DJ’ing again, I’ve been peeping some of the technology used to spin music in 2010. I started out as a vinyl DJ in the 90’s, then got my laptop-based Traktor setup going around 2002. I remember being one of the few laptop DJ’s around back then, and used to catch crap and generally cause controversy amongst that crowd.

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I even showed up to spin a slot for a breakdance event once and they didn’t want me to setup the laptop where the dancefloor could see it, because these people were not down with dancing to a laptop back then. I can handle a heckler (I was used to it, I had no 1200 in my vinyl rig!) and usually a few 1/4 beat stutter-loops during a flanger sweep and toggling EQ cutoffs with finger-rolls got them to humph and back off. You just gotta let the other DJ wannabees know that they can’t do what you just did and things work out.

Time has marched on and these days even the hippest bands have macbooks sitting on stage, and yes, the iPhone and the iPad can do all sorts of sick audio trickery. Check it:
That’s some serious audio software, capable of crazy noise in both a live and studio setting. Given the average D-A converters in Apple’s consumer stuff it’s not high-end, but it will work on a gig fer sure.
So if you are cool enough to see me perform in the next few months you might see me give some of these 21st century toys a workout. I know my Kaos pad and my old trusty Electribe already get a nice beat down.
-raz

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Oil Disaster, Day 49

The first ever “Northside Nights” went off successfully Thursday night, complete with some hitches. ‘What did I miss’ you might wonder? A random night of Cleveland music and culture, just pressing my ear to the track and spinning nothing but locals on the PA and the TV all night.The challenge was successfully met and the music was killer all night long. Much fun was had and the police only rolled by twice.
Here’s a look through my bin:

Called a “Spin Doctor” by The Scene

Check your boy getting some local pub for the Northside Nights:

Thanks Scene for the mention, it should be a good time Thursday night. If you are in town please do make an appearance.


ezraz

my face has more than a book .::. http://wfnk.com

Northside Nights – Cleveland Music Night @ The Duck!

Northside Nights - Cleveland Music Night @ The Duck

Looking good, feeling good. Celebrate yourself!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Cleveland, Ohio – May 19, 2010 – Looking to support local artists and start a new community service, multi-media and genre-jumping DJ Raz is launching ?Northside Nights – Cleveland Music Night? at The Duck Island Club on the first Thursday of every month.

The elusive DJ Raz has over 15 years experience spinning records at clubs, on the radio, opening for bands, and has logged time in just about every form of DJ?ing invented. The common theme, he claims, is the community building and artist promotion.

?Spinning records used to mean a bit more, pre-iTunes. Having millions of songs accessible to mere mortals does not make everyone a DJ. But it does spoil us and to a certain extent, makes us lazy, when it comes to how we consume our music. I hope to put all the tenets of DJ?ing into the Cleveland Music Night: promotion, spontaneity, and community. We want local bands to take part, to hand-deliver their latest tracks so we can give them a spin.?

There are no genre or year restrictions on Cleveland Music Night, so you can show up with requests or music of your own. If it ties to Cleveland we will celebrate it, promote it, and give it some spins.

?I?m hoping this will act as an incubator, or at least a sounding board, for local talent? says Raz. ?Back in the day local DJ?s had a big part in local promotion, and in most genres that is now history. Plus, I?m hoping to expand my knowledge of the local scene. Not many DJ?s would take on an all-genre gig, but that?s just how I roll. There?s too much artistic talent in Cleveland to let this void go unfilled.?

Artists, fans and street teams are encouraged to bring their tracks to the Duck Island Club, located at 2102 Freeman Avenue (off West 20th) on the first Thursday of every month, or email materials to raz@wfnk.com.

WHAT: Northside Nights – Cleveland Music Night
WHERE: The Duck Island Club, 2102 Freeman Ave.
WHEN: 9-close; 1st Thursday of each month: June 3, July 1, August 5…
WHO: DJ Raz ?http://wfnk.com ?raz@wfnk.com

Name the Night

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So I’m posting up on a Monday night here in the Northside. The spot is called the Duck Island Club, located between the West Side Market and Tremont, and we gonna get down with the get down every Monday until we can’t do no mo. If you are near the 216 in the good old U Skates of A this evening stop in and lend a hand. Strong cheap drinks and a nice patio round out the package.

For marketing, I wanna hang a theme on the whole thang, aka I need to name the night!
Hit me up with any suggestions… Plus I will be posting some playlists to give you a taste of what you might catch/miss.

Event:

DJ EzRaz live @ The Duck
Mondays on the Northside
The Duck Island Club
2102 Freeman, Cleveland, OH
Hope to see you tonight, or post up your requests if you are not in the vicinity ;-).

Headtronics: The New Doo Review

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Funky fresh and it’s about time…. If you want to see what music and live performance can be, get down with some improvised art and dance yourself silly then it pays to catch the project dubbed “Headtronics” if it comes near your domain.

Genre jumping has been popular among musicians for quite some time (and popular on the charts the last decade or so), but actually jumping ‘modes’ still proves difficult and rare. Headtronics, a strong trio of players consisting of DJ Logic, Freekbass, and Steve Molitz, is one of the first projects I’ve seen to successfully go “mixed mode”.

See, there’s several ways for Joe Citizen to enjoy himself some music when he leaves the house in the evening. In what mode he ends up consuming music that night depends partly on his tastes, partly on social constructs and then venue requirements.  We know he probably won’t catch a symphony at a loft party, a rock band on the corner, a solo sax in a dance club, or a performance art piece in the corner bar. It’s more than likely he won’t get out of his comfort zone at all.

For this dilemma DJ’s were created, and this was good.

Any music you want anywhere you want it is the promise. Musical taste gatekeepers blah blah blah. Some musicians hold a confrontational attitude towards DJ’s, and from a purely financial perspective it is understandable as they are fighting over the same beer markups. But ultimately those that love the music are at least as important as those who make the music, so DJ’s became important parts of the music ecology.


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In our categorization of everything we have put musicians on one side and DJ’s on the other, but this masks the fact that the best of each share many qualities. More on that in a minute.

Eventually our technology and transparency led us to this postmodern moment of ‘so, what’s new anymore?’. And if it’s new and cool, I already downloaded that, wiki’ed that, googled that, and I feel like I know all about that… that thing you just told me about.

Then I will forget about it nearly as quick as I ‘interlearned’ it.

Where does Headtronics fit into this? Several angles – this is a rant after all!

DJ’s do a set ultimately to keep people dancing / zoning out / chasing the blues from their day. They change tempo if and when needed, leave no dead air, do not focus on a piece but on the whole.

A great DJ does alot of things during a great set that musicians don’t do and don’t even need to consider most of the time. Musicians do a set to play each piece to it’s fullest, to perform their musical parts to their satisfaction, to connect with the audience, and keep their project’s name and songs in the fan’s memory forever. They construct sets but in a different way than a DJ, with different purposes.


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No project to my knowledge has been able to successfully deliver the holy fusion of DJ’ing and playing live music, while improvising it all, until Headtronics.

Yes, melodies, textures, and even rhythms were improvised and explored during pieces within a set as a whole. Logic had full scratch and break moments. Steve had space for perfect textures and melody lines. And Freekbass put out flavor and variations while sitting in a big fat pocket. They achieved the perfect measure of success in both DJ’ing and live gigging: the nicely mixed crowd danced for two hours straight and good times were had by all.

I will wrap this up because you get the point — go see Headtronics, see if you can dig what I’m talking about. I’ve seen DJ’s in bands, and I’ve seen musicians play over a DJ, but this is both and neither. It’s a whole new thang as they say, and it just feels right. It’s about time.

ezraz

ps — much respect to Urban Dance Squad and DJ DNA for blind ambition 23 years ago.

Posted via email from 2M :: REAX

A DJ Raz Giggle?

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Whoa nelly… ch ch ch changes…. my head’s tronics are out of the sink…. DJ Raz might be having a gig!That’s me you see and I haven’t performed my live set in about five years, but I got a call from the southside elskorpion commander Mistaswift. This call contained the seedcode and some fertilizer. When Jesus himself built me a garden it just seemed like a sign. From above? On the side? Down l (too slow).

So yeah, I have to see some Headtronics this weekend and also, as well, along with that, get myself a DJ set and rig together by Monday. I’m not posting the gig specifics yet because I’m not quite sure I’ll make it — Well I’ll make it, I just don’t know if I’ll perform it this week or next.

The Flux-adel Recording Division

Ah it’s been a bit but I am here now, warming up this northside den of funk. Time to put the final mix on Track 2 from Scherzo Elskorpion, the long awaited third elpee from 2merica.Get track 1 now. Trust me you ain’t never heard some 2merica like this. You never heard nothin like this….

http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/2merica/id81560754

Keep funkin on babah, you know how we roll on the northside?

Posted via email from REAX

Spring has sprung!

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So its been a long while i know
But much has been happening around me
Since i last opened my space
And your face to my reality

A new studio has sprung
Bigger harder stronger than the last one
The Flux-adel Recording Division
Is open for business. As they say,
Recording is progress

2merica is as vital as ever
Better late than never
El motto de skorpions!
Pedal hard my darlings
Cuz the devil is on our tail

Too many corporate bands biting
Our sound style idea hope
I ain’t mad at this compliment
It’s my fave way to cope
These days.

Although i admit no shortage of hope
In town and around the globe
I am watching the former foreign fear peddlers
Spin themselves into an American
Dream turned nightmare for their corporate sponsored
Worker fearing apocalyptic vision of our very beautiful
Present. Tense sense of relief.
And oh yeah we started a bad ass new band.

The Bushes have quietly waved
Goodbye and returned to Texas
and we survived.
God Bless us all, hallelujah!
Only stronger and perhaps
Smarter… yeah right
But at least our new prez
Don’t get stage fright
And talks to us like we’ve actually
Been walking on this earth more than a decade


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