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Awesome example of Compression...Yes Album 90125
Old 11th January 2005
  #31
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianK
>>>Sit back and just listen from a layman's point of view.<<<

In a thread about compression use on a recording gear website? Hmmm......
Well, yes. The question is does the compression work or is it so over the top that it really messes with the music. I don't think so. It sounds pretty smooth to me. Of course, now, when I here it again I will probably be picking it to pieces.



Quote:

As I said, I love the album. I don't think it sounds very much like the band YES, but it's a great record. Cinema and Changes are my favorites.
I think it sounds exactly like Yes. This one and 'The Yes Album' are my two favorites.

Quote:

BTW - They didn't "sing" much of those bass lines! Those are samples... all over the record.
I heard an a capella version once that I have not heard since. This was all voice, no instruments, no samples.
Old 12th January 2005
  #32
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🎧 15 years
The "Doot do doo.." stuff IS vocal samples into Trevor's Fairlights. All over that song. Note how its 'the same' every time.
Old 14th January 2005
  #33
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🎧 15 years
Magnification

Have you folks listened to Magnification.
I think it sounds really rich in tonality. Of course the orchestra helps. Any thoughts?
Old 15th January 2005
  #34
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🎧 15 years
Yes I love Magnification, I have it in 5.1 I also think Homeworld (1999) is very overlooked.

These guys just keep rockin.
Old 17th January 2005
  #35
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🎧 20 years
Speaking of Trevor Horn. Good online video interview.

Shane
Old 17th January 2005
  #36
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BrianK's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Wow - I'd never heard him talk. He has such a nice vibe - subtle energy and pleasant!
Old 18th January 2005
  #37
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bump
Old 18th January 2005
  #38
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echorec's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Sounds Great
I once heard a totally a capella version of 'Leave It' on the radio. Not sure what album it is from. It kicked ass! They sang the bass part and everything. Fabulous.
I think I have that one - it´s the B-side of the 12" maxi single.
Old 30th January 2005
  #39
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🎧 15 years
Hi Folks, newbie here, been lurking for what seems like years but finally decided to pluck up the courage and post something...

Given that I am one of those unfortunate soles that has to do a regular (yawn) job and music as a hobby I am here to learn rather than to teach, although if anyone wants to talk about 80s rock then I might be able to offer then the benefit of my study of the subject, ha ha.

...can you see I haven't figured out how to use the smilies yet...

Anyway, couldn't resist reviving this thread (if that's not too presumptious of a newbie) as 90125 by Yes is my all time fave album both in terms of songs and production.

To my ears this is an absolute masterpiece, a sonic delight if you will!

There are three things to which this can be attributed (imo) the guys from 'old' Yes, Trevor Rabin and Trevor Horn. Put them all in the mixing bowl and what a combination! Definately greater than the sum of the three parts for sure.

I was really, really, really hoping that someone might be able to find some info on the engineer Gary Langan, it seems quite tricky to find anything (e.g. interview transcripts) which shows his technical approach, equipment used, etc.

It's interesting that this thread discussed the use of compression on the album, I'd never thought about it before. The thing that always stood out to me was the use of space, or the impression of instruments in different spaces which becomes very apparent (well, to me anyway)especially when listening on headphones. It would be interesting to know how these spaces were created (what reverbs, spaces etc.)

Anyway, if anyone knows anything more about the production of this album or could direct me to any info I would be very grateful.

Phew, first post over!
Old 30th January 2005
  #40
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mdbeh's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Welcome to Gearslutz, Hysteria!

I can't answer any of your technical questions, but I thought this might be of interest to Trevor Horn fans:

http://www.stereogum.com/archives/001189.html

The idea of a producer-centered comp might seem a bit much, but it's at least a way to track down some of the more obscure singles without collecting a lot of filler.
Old 30th January 2005
  #41
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🎧 15 years
Thanks Mdbeh, it's great to be here.

That is an interesting compilation but when you're production royalty like our Trevor I guess it makes sense.

I suppose also it shows what a diverse range of material and artists Trevor has worked with. Being a fan, I am familiar with most of them but Shane MacGowan, there's an interesting combination.

Thanks again
Old 30th January 2005
  #42
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🎧 15 years
I worked with a couple of Irish guys (drummer + guitarist) who were in a band signed to ZTT (Tervor Horn's label)
They spent months at Sarm with TH producing....According to them, thru a cannabis haze, TH dismantled every part of every song every time....so much so he ended up dismantling the band.
This was a young band's first experience of a major record deal/studio/producer thang...they are scarred for life!!!! It drove one of them to nervous breakdown.
These guys are fantastic musicians.....2 them Trevor Horn does more harm than good.

I've been known 2 partake in the odd.....depends on the company......but I personally hate a "drug atmosphere" in the studio

tutt tutt
Old 30th January 2005
  #43
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🎧 15 years
That's a shame to hear kudzu, I guess Trevor is better for some artists than others. Disappointed to hear about the constant drug atmosphere.

I think with Yes, he was up against some pretty experienced guys who could stand up to him, even new-boy Trevor Rabin was no push over. Of course Trevor Horn was also a member of Yes for one album...maybe that's what got him turned onto the drugs!

I've heard similar stories about Mutt Lange rubbing certain artists up the wrong way with his microscopic approach but then that same approach has been great for others.
Old 8th October 2008 | Show parent
  #44
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🎧 10 years
a bit of late addition to this thread, but just found it ;-)

Tim Halligan wrote:
"One thing that I have noticed on the few records that I possess that Gary recorded, is that he is absolutely fearless about noise. One example: 90125...Owner of a lonely heart...the intro...after the first guitar riff...up pops the sound of a whole bunch of channels - probably the drums sub - un-muting...GAHHHH!"

That's pretty much because "Owner of a Lonley Heart" was a monitor mix put down at the end of the recording session, mixed off the sync head, not much gating going on etc. Apprent a recall was made (SSL 4000E) but when they came to do a final mix couldn't re create the vibe of that original - you can hear all kinds of noise (cowbells!) through that mix - still one of the best produced records ever made though...
Old 8th October 2008 | Show parent
  #45
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🎧 15 years
Wow - that's great.

Any idea how the intro drum fill was processed?

Crazy compressed room sound - almost like a mono mic round the corner in the stairwell.

I still think that's the best Police song never writtenheh
Old 8th October 2008 | Show parent
  #46
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
When this album came out, Yes nerd fans were decrying it as a sell out.

It's funny that it is now regarded as one of the classics of their catalogue, if not the crowning achievement.

- c
Old 8th October 2008 | Show parent
  #47
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🎧 10 years
Blast 9 wrote

"Any idea how the intro drum fill was processed?

Crazy compressed room sound - almost like a mono mic round the corner in the stairwell."

Don't know for sure, but know they were at Air Studios (when it was at Oxford Street London) when they were trying to get those huge drum sounds (where the idea for the Art of Noise started) so maybe it was something recorded at one the rooms there - did have some funky sounding stairwells as I remember.
Old 9th October 2008 | Show parent
  #48
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cristouk ➡️
still one of the best produced records ever made though...
91025 is the best produced record in my not so humble opinion. You listen to it can happen and city of love and you just want to quit cuz you will never be on that level.

You read how people think beatle records sound good and you have to say yeah maybe for the era. Well 90125 is the 'era' I measure all other recordings past and present. I honestly can only think of two or three other records that can be considered on the same level.
Old 9th October 2008 | Show parent
  #49
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Halligan ➡️
Yep, Gary has a huge history including the Sex Pistols. I'm fairly sure he did Never mind the bollocks... Sex Pistols, Yes, Art of Noise...a fairly eclectic career.

He was also involved in setting up Metropolis in London, who were slightly unique IIRC in that they put in a Focusrite console, along with several SSL's.

One thing that I have noticed on the few records that I possess that Gary recorded, is that he is absolutely fearless about noise. One example: 90125...Owner of a lonely heart...the intro...after the first guitar riff...up pops the sound of a whole bunch of channels - probably the drums sub - un-muting...GAHHHH!

Ahh, Art of Noise...3 people, 1 SSL, 1 Fairlight CMI, 1 Marshall half-stack: boom! Oh yeah, and Duane Eddie, and Tom Jones at times.

I remember reading an interview with Trevor Rabin about 90125, and the whole album was a battle between him and Trevor Horn. They butted heads throughout the whole procedure...and managed to make progress in the order of 10 SECONDS per day! Brings up the whole "whose album is it anyway arguement - the writers'/band's or the megalomaniac/svengali producer's?" However, it didn't seem to stop them working with Trevor Horn again on Big Generator, but he was listed as a producer last after Rabin, the band, and the engineer...

So where is Trevor Horn these days? Trevor Rabin is doing movie soundtracks...but I can't think of one at this point...typical.

Takes me back.
Cheers,
Tim
Didn't Paul DeVilliers mix that record? I know he did Big Generator. He was also amazing, did most of Mr Mister's big record too. Trevor Rabin is actually doing better than any of them, he does a huge amount of big budget film scoring. We should all be so lucky or in his case, talented!!!!!
Old 9th October 2008 | Show parent
  #50
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synthetic's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
One of my favorite albums of all time. Just listened to Owner of a Lonely Heart again, I love the "cloud" of reverb on his voice. I also like how the entire album, his voice is soaked in reverb, and then they fade it out for the last line of the album.

I got to spend a half hour talking to Trevor Rabin about the making of this album. How much of it was Rabin in the studio with Horn on the couch, smoking a funny cigarette and just creating weird stuff. I wrote about it a few years ago and I've since seen it crop up on Yes fan sites. I'm looking at the signed CD cover right now. Reprinting most of it here:

For the interview, we drove to his house in the Hollywood Hills. It has a beautiful hillside view of LA and it’s very close to the Hollywood sign – easily within sight from his front yard. Trevor was very approachable and pleasant when we met. He took us back to his impressive home studio, set off from the house. He has a control room with five racks of equipment in the control room, each one topped with an 02R. His writing desk is a Korg Triton topped with an Apple Studio display. He had a GigaStudio screen off to the side, and several rackmount synths and a TC M3000 controller around the desk. He had a Roland JP8080, a Nord rackmount synth, and two others. And of course many others in the racks (no analog, though.) He has a live room with guitar amps (Ampeg) and a baby grand piano, and a machine room with racks of computers and samplers. It is a very cool setup.

We set up the interview and asked him a bunch of dry product questions. After we’re done and the camera is off, he joked, “This stuff is boring, ask me about being on the road.” The camera guy was off filming cutaways (platinum records, guitars, etc.) and the guys I came with are meeting with other people in his studio. So it was just me and him, and I seized the opportunity to ask him about his years with Yes.

I asked about working with Trevor Horn, one of my favorite producers. He told me that he was wonderful to work with, a genius at what he does. I was always worried that he was an ugly slavedriver in the studio, but it sounds like he’s just a perfectionist. Trevor told me that 80% of recording 90125 was the two of them in the studio, Rabin playing guitar and keyboard parts and Horn smoking and opining on the progress.

He also told me that Horn, at the time, was far from a technical master. Today he’s comfortable working on Pro Tools and big consoles, but back then it was not the case. That isn’t to say that his success is entirely due to his engineers – if you listen to Horn’s albums from the time they all have a “sound”, and are all consistently very good quality. But apparently back then he wasn’t the one running the Fairlight and Synclavier, I suppose that was JJ Jeksalik, who later went on to form the Art Of Noise with Horn.

Rabin told another interesting story about Horn. One day Rabin was in the break room of the studio watching TV. Some very odd band from Manchester was on TV (or maybe it was a tape sent to the studio.) The band was Frankie Goes to Hollywood and the song was “Relax”. They performed it with this weird S&M troupe, girls with strap-on devices and such, but Rabin thought the song was great and showed it to Horn. Of course, FGTH was one of the big Horn-produced hits of the 80’s. He’s still friends with Horn, recording parts for “Crazy” on the first Seal album and something on a Tina Turner album a few years ago.

He mentioned that he misses the fine-tuning that you can do in music studios versus what’s possible for a film score. For example, when he mixed “Shoot High, Aim Low”, he did an effect on the fade where the compression goes up as the song fades out. By the time the song is almost faded out, it’s compressed as much as possible. He said this was something that was lost on 999 thousand out of a million listeners, but something that was fun to do. (I’ve never noticed that effect, now I need to go back and listen for it.) He also said that was an example of something he could never do in one of his scores, that type of detail is completely lost in a film mix and there’s no time for it. Even subtle filter sweeps he does on parts get lost in the final mix, and there’s no use recording a real analog synth because of the drift from day to day and you won’t hear the difference in the end result anyway.

He had some differences with Horn at first, because he had very specific ideas of how he wanted things to sound. He definitely didn’t want a big “Def Leppard Mushroom Snare Drum,” he wanted a little snare drum with a long reverb after it. But once he started working with Horn for a while he figured out that the guy knew what he was doing. Horn wasn’t well known outside of London at the time, 90125 was his big break.

I asked him how long it took to record 90125, and he said 9 months of rehearsals and 6 months of recording. The real ordeal was Big Generator, which took 18 months to record and cost $2 million dollars. He went on to talk more about Big Generator, how they rented a studio in Italy that was part of a big castle. He actually thought is would cost less to record there, but with the houses they were renting it was more like $5000 a day. Sometimes he used to procrastinate, he said, and in 90125 when they had a bad day he wouldn’t want to come back the next day. On Big Generator they would take two weeks off when they ran into a problem, which is partly what ran up the big bill. “It was mostly my fault,” he said, “but fortunately that album was a big seller so it worked out in the end.”

I asked if he would write out charts on the more ambitious songs like “Hearts” or “I’m Running”. “No one in Yes can read music” was the shocking reply. “Rick Wakeman is classically trained, of course, but none of the other guys can read.” There’s a guitar part in the intro “Miracle of Life” (on Union) that’s a fast major scale going up and repeating in an odd meter. (Non-Yes fans are now rolling their eyes, Yes fans are nodding.) He tried to show this to Steve Howe, who was having some difficulty with the part. Assuming that Steve was a conservatory-trained musician, Rabin offered to write out the part so he could learn it in the hotel room later, Steve replied, “That’s not going to help me.” Chris Squire, Alan White and Jon Anderson can’t read a note of music either, I can’t remember about Tony Kaye. But, he said, Chris Squire is one hell of a bass player, and the fact that he can’t read obviously hasn’t held him back one bit.

Trevor mentioned that his ability to read and write music started to wane while in Yes. He had to write out a string part for the intro of “Love Will Find a Way” (Big Generator) and he said it looked like a kid wrote it. His father was a conductor, and obviously he takes a lot of pride in his musical ability and, apparently, musical penmanship. When he quit Yes to start scoring films, he was having trouble sight-reading pieces that were second nature to him before, just because he was having trouble reading the music.

He asked if I read music, and I told him I did. At this point, I had to mention my experience playing “Love Will Find a Way” in my high school band. I sequenced the intro on my Mirage. There’s a string intro, then the guitar comes in by itself. I had to quickly hit “load” so the Mirage could load the bass and harmonica sounds for the rest of the song, and as the guitar played and the floppy drive went “chunk, chunk. chunk.” I was sweating bullets. He laughed at this, and said he still had an old Akai S612 sitting around somewhere. “Everything you recorded into that thing sounded like Led Zepplin.” Hmmm, I want one. I told him I had the same experience everyone does with their first sampler, recording every piece of junk in your bedroom and finding out it all sounds the same, only with 8-bit distortion.

I told him that this was a wonderful experience, and you never read this kind of stuff in typical interviews. He told me that interviews are funny: he read an interview he never did by a guy he’s never met, saying that the solo in “Owner of a Lonely Heart” was done by meticulously double-tracking the original solo up a fifth. I said I always assumed that the part was played through a Harmonizer, and he told me that was the case. I said that I couldn’t think of another example, before of since, that I’ve heard that effect used on a solo, and he said the only other time he knew of it was when he did it on a Manfred Mann album he produced a few years earlier.

At this point he went into a cabinet at the back of the room and pulled out a pair of CDs for me. One was an import live recording, and the other is called “90124”. It’s a collection of demos recorded for 90125 that “someone talked me into releasing.” In the liner notes, you could tell that he wasn’t sure who would want such a thing, but I guess he figured out that I was the dork who would want to hear it. It’s a fascinating CD and an amazing gift. It should be required listening for anyone who wants to be a producer. Here are the demos, here’s the finished CD, and you can follow the progress from one to the other. Oh, look how he took the verse from A and the chorus from B and put them together. Interesting, chord changes were subtracted, not added. Of course, many of the songs were in the 80’s hair band style of the day, which was all that was selling in the rock world at the time. But it’s a fascinating look into the craft of songwriting and producing that I plan to study.

I eventually pulled myself away from the studio once everyone else was finished. I don’t think I turned into too much of a drooling fanboy, but he did sign my well-worn copy of 90125 and I got a photo. I’m still smiling about the experience. What a great guy to share his time with me like that. He’s about to start work on three film scores next month, so I guess this is the calm before the storm. It was a great experience for any fan to have, and I thought the least I could do would be to share it online -- I hope some of you get at least 1/100th of the charge out of this that I got.
Old 9th October 2008 | Show parent
  #51
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mars's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
"Owner Of A Lonely Heart" was a seminal record. At the time I was a fairly experienced synth programmer. It was the first time I had heard a record and had absolutely NO idea how some of the sounds were made. The Synclavier & Fairlight and the concept of sampling were fairly new at the time. It was kinda depressing though - if you didn't have $100,000+, you simply couldn't come close to those sounds. That's why I get mad when I hear kids say they "can't afford Reason" as a justification of piracy...
Old 9th October 2008 | Show parent
  #52
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🎧 20 years
Hey synthetic, thanks for sharing that post, very cool!
Old 10th October 2008 | Show parent
  #53
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Bob the V's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
While the sounds are no doubt heavily compressed, with a generous assortment of toys, I think the coldness was due to overuse of lots of early digital reverb ("hey - more reverb for the cowbell!"). Everything was soaking wet. Also digital was new and eq approaches, balancing, all that - had to be rethought.

I always thought the opening drum bit in "Owner..." is just a dub off of a sampler, a preset fill, kind of like all the hoaky fills one can find in Mellotron libraries.

Bob Vandiver
Old 10th October 2008 | Show parent
  #54
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synthetic's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yeah, sampled drum fill doubled from the sound of it. Hitting two adjacent keys.

Thanks for posting the link to those video interviews. I just watched a bunch of them, and they were all incredibly boring except for Horn. (Maybe Padgham.)

Favorite Horn quote for Gearslutz: "We talk all about the mic or the desk, but none of it is going to make as much difference as getting the band to play the song in a different key."
Old 12th October 2008 | Show parent
  #55
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Bob the V's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I got to thinking about the "cold Yes" sound further. Also I listened to 90125 again. The sound on 90125 did not debut on 90125, it actually debuted on "Going for the One." I think that the sound came about for a variety of reasons. A big one may have been philosophical and connected with what I think is a possible interest of Jon Anderson's: regarding extremes in temperature, especially bone chilling cold.

I think the first time this theme surfaces is in "South Side of the Sky," Which I have felt is about an antarctic expedition gone terribly wrong: resulting in cold, cold death:

"Around the south side
So cold that we cried
Were we ever colder on that day
A million miles away
It seemed from all eternity."

the central (instrumental and scat sung) section is about a death of at least one person in the expedition, and it portrays warmth: A paradox.

In this song the ideas are there but the sound is not quite. Perhaps the relentless hard sound of the bass and guitars was meant to convey the harsh coldness of the lyric, but maybe not.

However, "Going for the One" found Yes recording in Switzerland: Land of cold mountain peaks and glaciers. In "Awaken," I have felt that in particular the "Awaken gentle mass touch" sequence is a musical description of trying to travel on foot during a blizzard. If it is not about this, it sure as hell should be.

Whether it is or not, suddenly Yes was surrounded by cold and the new music reflected this. Suddenly the voices are treated not only with a huge reverb sound (as I mentioned before) but the vocals are equalized: scooped to the point that the mids are just about gone. This is why the record sounds cold. It also has the effect of making the record sound huge: as if coming from a (cold) mountain top.

Yes probably was trying to revisit this sound when they made "90125" and the sound continued with "Big Generator." By the time of "Talk," they seemed to lose interest in that sound.

Bob Vandiver
Old 12th October 2008 | Show parent
  #56
QRS
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🎧 15 years
well, when 90125 was coming out the cd-players just started to life...hear 90125 as a record on your old player... and tell me...
i`ve done it after reading this thread - i was blown away!it was not harsh or cold...just perfect!
Old 13th October 2008 | Show parent
  #57
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by QRS ➡️
well, when 90125 was coming out the cd-players just started to life...hear 90125 as a record on your old player... and tell me...
i`ve done it after reading this thread - i was blown away!it was not harsh or cold...just perfect!
I also have it on vinyl, it is indeed warm.
Old 13th October 2008 | Show parent
  #58
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allencollins's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
How we drown in stylistic audacity Charge the common ground!
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #59
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🎧 10 years
hi guys i really love the sound of Owner of a lonely heart... i never produced song but i wonder how is it achieved that the song has so much space in it... i dont mean reverb i mean cadence... microseconds of silence between each drum hit... this feeling of spacious and very DYNAMIC sound which almost hits from total silence into powerfull hit on every beat... is it compression or lack of it... i may sound weird i dont know how to explain it but to me the song almost explodes and stops dead silent with every drum hit... does it make any sense ? its got killer dynamics and cadence... how is that done ?

Yes - Owner Of A Lonely Heart - YouTube

hear it here were every drum hit just explodes and dies in an microsecodn instant... it almost sounds like tiny gaps of silence in the beat... like the whole sound is syncopated...

this feeling of syncopated energy goes through whole song and give me goose bumps
Old 6th March 2014 | Show parent
  #60
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
No doubt recorded in a very well designed room with good diffusion (at Sarm west).

Compression definitely helps - try a medium to longer release time to keep it smooth and super tight. To me the drums sound like they do have compression rather than none.

Snare tuned relatively high, maybe damped to help short decay and crack. (LikeStewart Copeland)
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