Sound City

Speaking of recording artists music people, have you seen that movie yet?

They spend the first half of the movie eulogizing the good ole days, when talented recording artists could make great music by hanging out in the studio all day and lay down tracks with like-minded people. It wasn’t like today with Pro Tools and digital recording. You had to have skill to make music. You couldn’t just be a teenager with a laptop and Ableton Live. They have Neil Young in there talking about how “you lose something” when you record digitally. But you get it when you capture to tape. These people had an analog mixing board that recorded to tape, and it sounded gooood man.

So they buy the mixing board from the original owners, move it into a new studio, and invite all those same artists from before to come hang out in the new studio with that board. They try to recreate what it was like back in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. You know that there’s something special about it, because the first half of the movie is all about famous people whose albums you like telling you how important it is. THIS is what cutting a record was like. You spend days in a studio with other talented people. No way it could fail.

Then, after all that hype about musical community and analog recording equipment, they make music that sounds “as generic and laborious as a ProTools tutorial.” A mixed bag. And it’s available on iTunes for $9.99.

The lesson is that it takes more than an old-school analog mixing board to make great music, but you don’t really learn that until after you’ve separated yourself from the 108 minute exercise of nostalgia and superiority.