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Unique-sounding recordings

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Alvaro Martín Gómez A., Aug 19, 2007.


  1. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Hi everybody.

    Well, this question appeared after giving a listening to Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side Of The Moon", something I didn't do for a long time. My feelings were (and still are) that the intro section of "Time" was so sonically beautiful and perfectly done that not even them would never ever make it sound like that again if they tried. Of course, it's not difficult to get "perfect sounding" recordings with all the technology available nowadays, but my point is: Think of a band that enter a recording studio trying to re-record one of their works and they won't get it to sound like the original even with the same musicians, gear and studio tricks.

    Aside from the intro section of "Time", I'd also add the original versions of Rush's "Tom Sawyer" and "Limelight". In my opinion, no matter how hard they try, they won't make that combination of guitars, bass, drums, synths and vocals to sound like that again.

    Someone may say something like "well, this band can make it sound even better if they want". Very subjective stuff, I know, since there are lots of aesthetic criteria involved, and that's why I'd like to hear which recordings fall into that category of "unreplicably perfect" for you. Thanks for your input!

    P.S.: Not talking about solos. There are many examples of "perfect takes" on improvisations, but my point is about the sound that a whole band achieved into the studio with previously planned and structured material.
     
  2. Deacon_Blues

    Deacon_Blues

    Feb 11, 2007
    Finland
    Steely Dan is the most unique-sounding band I know. Saw them live this summer, and it was a great concert. However, a lot of their songs are just better off as studio versions. They worked so much on perfecting the studio versions, so it's virtually impossible to achieve that sound again on live gigs. There's always some compromises on live shows - the sound system varies, the feel at the gigs varies, someone in the band might have a bad day, the band lineup might be different from the original recording, the crowd isn't the best,etc etc etc.................

    Speaking of Steely Dan, I think I'll be doing a Steely Dan show within the next year sometime. Some jazzers I know have asked me if I could do the lead singing. :) My voice isn't close to Donald Fagen's, but I think I could do it. The bass will probably be handled by some serious jazz cat here in town, so my chances to take care of that part too are small. I'm not sure I would like to handle both parts either....
     
  3. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Exactly. That's why I didn't consider live versions into the equation. Taking your example as a support to make my point clearer: Is there any song from Steely Dan that you think will never sound as great is they re-entered the studio under the exact conditions they did when they recorded it for the first time?
     
  4. Deacon_Blues

    Deacon_Blues

    Feb 11, 2007
    Finland
    Um, not sure about that part of the question, but probably. People playing in the studio are humans too. Humans change over time, and the world was a different place 30 years ago. Only machines perform the same from day to day. I'd say most songs would not sound the same if they did them again. However, I don't know if they'd be worse or better. But I think Deacon Blues is a song that at least wouldn't get better... ;)
     
  5. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    So you think that the planets aligned when they recorded "Deacon Blues". You caught my drift. :)
     
  6. Well, I'm tempted to nominate the intro from this track (as played on the album), but from what I can hear in this video they nail it live too, so I guess it doesn't count.
     
  7. steely dan might be a great band, and they might be your favorite, but i cant understand how they can possibly be the most unique band you have ever heard.
     
  8. sarcastro83

    sarcastro83

    Jul 27, 2007
    Toronto, ON
    Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" and "Closer" due to Martin Hannet's production.
     
  9. Deacon_Blues

    Deacon_Blues

    Feb 11, 2007
    Finland
    It's a combination of:

    - Their lyrics. They're very intelligent, ironic, funny and as far from mainstream as you get
    - The jazzy yet poppy approach. Check out their chord progressions, they're pretty unusual if you ask me (or my brother, a professional pianist in the pop/jazz field)
    - No other vocalist I've heard sound like Donald Fagen
    - The strange look of those two guys :p
    - What other band has taken its name from a dildo?
    - etc etc etc...

    My definition of unique music is music that don't sound or remind about anything else.

    I can think of a few other bands that sound(ed) quite unique too, like Weather Report. Groundbreaking bands often sound unique until everyone else hooks on the idea. The Beatles were pretty unique too when they were new. Steely Dan is a band that has remained very unique. No-one has dared to copy them except tribute bands. AFAIK. ;)


    I'm surprised you didn't list any of the bands you think are more unique than Steely Dan. My guess is you haven't really listened very much to this band or tried to analyze their music....
     
  10. no no i get your point, i like steely dan a lot, and their music is certainly unique, i was just saying that i didnt think they culd possibly be the MOST unique ever.

    for a list of some more unique...

    the flecktones is a choice that comes to mind right away, especially if you have seen or heard the live at the quick recording.

    banjo, bass, sax, drumitar(what!?), along with guest appearances by people playing :oops:boe, english horn, bassoon, steel drums, tablas, a monk using his dual vocal chord singing, and some chinese guitar-ish thing i have ever seen.

    not only is the instrumentation very unique, but so is the playing involved.

    derek trucks band to me is very unique, not so much instrument wise, but because of the blend of roots blues, eastern music, rock, and jazz that they have in their sound.

    Djabe, a hungarian world-jazz band, check them out, thats all i can really say. they are sick, and their bass player is the best i have ever seen live, besides vic.

    for pretty much the same reasons as you listed, besides the dildo name, which i was unaware of before, im going to say van morrison.

    dare i mention frank zappa? what about james brown? Sun-Ra? Jimi? Richard Bona...i could go on.


    thats not supposed to be a smiley up there by *oboe*
     
  11. Deacon_Blues

    Deacon_Blues

    Feb 11, 2007
    Finland
    That's an acceptable list, sure. Out of those, I'd say Frank Zappa is the most unique. He probably beats Steely Dan in uniqueness....

    I've listened to Van Morrison and have at least a greatest hits album of him, but I don't know if he's that unique-sounding though.. I haven't heard about Djabe and Derek Trucks Band so I can't say anything about them. Flecktones are based on your description probably pretty unique too, but very unknown around here. I haven't ever really listened to them except for maybe a song or two.

    Thanks for the tip about Djabe, think I'll check that out. Sounds interesting. :)
     
  12. yeah van morrison really isnt that unique, i was just thinking about that list u had and realized he fit a few of the characteristics, so i threw him in.

    and good luck finding djabe, i got lucky and saw them at the rochester jazz fest, and bought a couple albums there. id be surprised if you can find them anywhere else, but good luck, they are def worth the effort.
     

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