Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Monkeys and Whisks


I once complimented a composer on his guitar playing, and he said that he was afraid it wouldn't sound so good if it weren't for the plug-ins he was using.

I told him that it didn't matter if he used a monkey and a whisk - it was only the end result that mattered. (Of course, thinking about it now, that conjures up quite an image.)

This brings up the discussion of two schools of thought when approaching music production: Purists vs. Perfectionists. The purist approach is more one of the documentarian. Their goal is to capture the reality of a performance. They tend not to use a lot of gadgets and tricks to make things sound hyper-real, but rather are interested in the reality and honesty of a performance and recording.

The Perfectionist, however, is interested in making things hyper-real: a level of perfection not found in nature that can only be achieved through massive amounts of technology.

These two schools of thought have no common ground and each tends to think the other is in error in their approach. But both positions do have their place in the world of music. Not every performance (or genre) benefits from one approach or the other. It would seem the genre and purpose for which the track is created must be taken into account as well.

While I do tend to lean toward the Perfectionist camp, I’ve used both approaches, and you’ll see plenty of representation of both camps in the Omnimusic libraries. Ultimately, we do what we need to do to serve our clients’ needs.

But boy, that monkey sure can play the whisk...

-Dave Hab

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