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Hidden Symmetry

Engineering Steely Dan's GAUCHO

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Steely Dan is one of my favorite artists both musically & sonically. Here's a interview with a neighbor of mine who was involved with engineering Gaucho ( & others)

Great insight into recording & the making this album. Sorry, no plugins discussed!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r87_NQ1c9g0

 

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Donald Fagan's Nightfly has long been on my list of reference recordings. I never got too excited about the music, but the recording itself is a prime example of how to do it right. The lesson is: get the sound you want before it hits the microphone and you won't need to do much after that.

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So true.

 

Get everything right  up front and the record practically mixes itself.

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1 hour ago, bitflipper said:

Donald Fagan's Nightfly has long been on my list of reference recordings. I never got too excited about the music, but the recording itself is a prime example of how to do it right. The lesson is: get the sound you want before it hits the microphone and you won't need to do much after that.

Your point about getting the sound right before or going in is spot on. Al Schmitt is another master that amazes me, the mic placement king. 

These days as an itb amateur I've been trying to develop a less is more attitude, first by getting rid of most of my plugins. I also like first or second takes but my main problem comes from contracting Lyme disease 20 years ago. Trying to get a half decent take or idea down ( or a mix together) is sometimes next to impossible.

Still I'd like to try & incorporate some of these mixing & engineering techniques (in a much lesser form) on my future demos. Both Elliot's & Al's concepts & comments (among others) are always inspiring to say the least.

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Yeh, I was thinking of Al Schmitt as I watched that interview. IIRC he accrued more Grammies than anyone, and famously avoided all fx. Sadly, just passed away recently.

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On 5/31/2021 at 2:06 PM, Hidden Symmetry said:

Steely Dan is one of my favorite artists both musically & sonically. Here's a interview with a neighbor of mine who was involved with engineering Gaucho ( & others)

Great insight into recording & the making this album. Sorry, no plugins discussed!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r87_NQ1c9g0

This predates Plug-ins I believe - though WENDEL made it's debut on Goucho.  Have to add my 2 cents that Goucho has some of the best of Steely Dans stuff in my opinion. The B side  songs  " so to speak "  Glamour Profession , Time out of Mind, My Rival , and Third World Man, are all excellent

 

 

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Cool, thanks.

Oh do they ever slice and dice late 70's Los Angeles on that record. Parasite coke dealers, baby boomer dudes trying to make it with teenage girls....the music goes down so nice, but the lyrics are dipped in acid.

Their engineering, production and musicianship are things I will never reach, but whenever I throw in a 7th there's probably some Steely Dan in there. The first time my awareness of the emotional impact of chord changes was piqued was when I bought the "Reelin' In The Years" single at age 11 and wondered why a song with such cutting lyrics made me think of the Peanuts holiday specials😄. Rock played with jazz changes. The wistfulness of the chord changes communicates a wistfulness that undercuts the sentiment of the lyrics.

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