All posts by ErikJ

Wide Open Spaces (Dixie Chicks)

Thanks to my wife Jamie being a country singer from Austin, pfizer TX I was not only introduced to this song but also to its author, Susan Gibson. What makes a great song great is something far beyond what engineers and producers do in the studio, but the magic captured from the air here is certainly worth inspection from my usual critical listening ear. Download it here to listen along.

It begins with the full bodied rhythm guitar favoring the right ear and a hi-hat happily ticking on all 4 beats. The fiddle stands just to the left of center introducing the turnaround with the full band bringing us back to the top of the progression. A pedal steel all the Continue reading Wide Open Spaces (Dixie Chicks)

Can’t Find My Way Home

This piece by Blind Faith has always touched me in a way I’ve never been able to explain. Well, clinic it’s time I took a listen to learn at least mechanically what’s going on here. Download it so you can listen along.

The piece begins with two acoustic guitars and percussion played on a drum kit using brushes, health while the bass is gentle down the middle. The lead is panned pretty much hard left with only a bit of it in the right channel. The very stable finger style rhythm guitar is focusing on octaves but still hitting enough of the chord to Continue reading Can’t Find My Way Home

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You

Led Zeppelin was my first long term musical love. I had every album by the time I was 9 years old and I distinctly remember listening to Physical Graffiti (my first record) and Led Zeppelin I non-stop on a family car trip from Chicago to and through the Colorado Rockies when I was 8. I know these records by heart!

A lot of music I loved in my childhood loses it’s magic a bit now for me as a recording engineer because I can see the man behind the curtain- but not Led Zeppelin- my appreciation only grows deeper.

Listen along as I explore this classic cut.

The main acoustic guitar which carries the track has a very unique space. It’s completely dry in the left channel and completely wet in the right. What is cool here is the sound of the reverb is a natural reverbant space and not a machine. Certain notes ring out with with an almost bell-like quality while Continue reading Babe I’m Gonna Leave You

Protect Ya Neck

My friend Ryan sold me on this song before I heard it with his enthusiasm about to explode from his ears. I plied him for details on what made it so great to which he eventually answered in the most matter of fact tone imaginable:

“It’s just more bangin’ than most.”

Well, ailment with that, treatment I had no choice but to buy and listen.  Get it here from iTunes so you can listen along.

Let me say this, information pills there is so much that happens in the first 58 seconds of this track I had to replay it at least 5 times to decode and get some idea of what exactly was the magic burned into these soundwaves. The track kicks off with a single short kick as a mock radio host takes a request from a caller. Then it goes into a sample or two from an old Kung fu movie before the beat comes in with the first rapper.

Ok, check this out. If you listen you’ll hear quite a bit of hiss in the recording. What piques my interest is that the hiss is actually stereo. The left channel noise is slightly different from the right, Continue reading Protect Ya Neck

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)

I’m kicking off this series with a song everyone has (or should have) in their library. Download now on iTunes so you can listen along!

This song has one extremely great and recognizable melody. How do four guys with only 4 tracks get this thing to our ears so sweetly?

The song kicks off with a lead acoustic guitar panned hard right hitting the strings so hard they are almost going out of tune. In the left channel you hear only the reverb (from the room) of this guitar. Continue reading Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)

Listening closely with Erik:

Decided that I’m going to start a new blog about what I’m listening to. I consider myself a “voracious listener” – and having made my living with my ears as recording engineer I think I can provide some insight to folks on the technical side of what makes sound great. I plan to it educate musicians what goes on beyond their notes, gonorrhea and give casual listeners a new dimension of appreciation.

Not a record reviews, clinic more of an engineering/production review. Definitely not confined to any genre, decade, or degree of fame. I’ll also provide links to where you can hear the sounds yourself.

Sound good? Let’s hope!