Vic Chesnutt died on Christmas and as someone who is usually pretty unaffected by death, even untimely ones, I was truly saddened. Sad for his family and his friends; sad that the exorbitant cost of healthcare in our country played a large role in his passing; sad that I won't get to hear any new Vic Chesnutt songs; sad that I won't ever get to see him perform live; sad that, seemingly, only shitty music prevails (where did that one come from...); and just... sad, I guess... maybe it's partly the holiday blues or whatever... whatever. Anyway, I'm going to go listen to West Of Rome; that song "Steve Willoughby" kicks ass...
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Several years ago, when I first moved to LA from Detroit I got a job in a studio as a tape op/Pro Tools guy. The studio (Penguin Recording) did mostly transfers, that is, transferring audio from one format (usually analog reel-to-reel tape) to another (usually digital files and/or CD references). We did a lot of work for all the major record companies and, as a result, did a lot of the transfers for various reissue projects from their massive catalogs. As you can imagine, I got to hear the original masters of some pretty incredible music, stuff that the general public will never get to hear; stuff like out-takes from a recording session with Aretha Franklin and a four piece funk band; In-studio performances by Bonnie Raitt; the multitrack masters from various Paul Simon sessions; every single 1/4" stereo recording of just about every Yes concert (from Steve Howe's personal stash)... Anyway, one of my top-five all time projects at that studio was when a funky little 4-track cassette came in. We had to rent a Fostex four track to do the rough mixes and transfers (due to the fact that 4-track cassette isn't really considered a professional format). Now, for every completely awesome, incredible, mind-blowing project that came through the door, there were at least 8 or 9 nightmare projects that were anywhere from mediocre to unbearable, so this little cassette didn't seem very promising. I hit play on the deck and began trying to get some basic levels and do some EQ-ing (I would usually get 1 or 2 passes with this stuff). By the time I got to the 3rd or 4th song I was slightly hooked and by the time we got to the 5th or 6th track, "rabbit box", I was a rabid fan! It was definitely unlike anything I had ever heard. In fact, the barely credible guitar playing and quirky dialect screamed at my rational mind to hate it, but instead, I thought it was one of the most amazing things I had ever heard. I couldn't quite explain it. The words painted such unusually vivid pictures and the language was completely unique, colloquial and sophisticated at the same time... That cassette was the "Little" session for Vic Chesnutt, produced by Michael Stipe (of REM); it was one of the maybe dozen musical-paradigm shifting experiences of my life... seriously.
Posted by Melon Farmer at 4:13 AM