Monday, September 15, 2008

The Beach Boys Network

The Beach Boys Network

Re: The Top 10s Topic [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 15 Sep 2008 06:55 AM CDT

Current favourite songs (though not in order):

1. The Warmth of the Sun
2. She Knows Me Too Well
3. Little Bird
4. In The Back of My Mind
5. Busy Doin' Nothin'
6. Don't Worry Baby
7. Your Summer Dream
8. Wind Chimes (Smiley Smile version)
9. Surf's Up
10. All I Wanna Do

Current favourite albums (in order):

1. Friends
2. Today!
3. Pet Sounds
4. Smiley Smile
5. Sunflower
6. 20/20
7. Wild Honey
8. Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)
9. Surf's Up
10. Love You

Re: Compression and Clipping on TLOS - is it that bad? [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 15 Sep 2008 05:08 AM CDT

Me again. I just read the Chicago Mastering article. Fascinating. There's a link on that page to a Rolling Stone article about High Fidelity issues (i didn't know RS did "music" articles anymore...!)

http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/17777619/the_death_of_high_fidelity

And it had this quote from Kim Deal, that backs up AGD's point:

This is what I think is happening: Everybody has iPods, so you can't get them that loud. So they have a algorithm called a "finalizer" — it's not that new, but the way people are using it is new — and it makes your music sound louder. People will ruin their records and CDs. I was really stunned by the CD the guy gave me when I listened to it at home — it sounded crazy! It was like, abort mission! Supposedly it sounds fine on your iPod, but if you take the CD and put it on your hi-fi CD player you can hear the digital clipping. It's a big news story over in England."
— Kim Deal, on mastering the new Breeders album, Mountain Battles

Re: Compression and Clipping on TLOS - is it that bad? [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 15 Sep 2008 04:41 AM CDT

I love this discussion, both sides of it. Everyone is making valid points. i am learning a lot (mostly about why my old vinyl LPs sound better than modern music).

You might not have heard of Six By Seven, but their last album makes a point of mentioning the mastering:

http://www.sixbyseven.co.uk/symptoms/

Please note: to keep the dynamic of this record, we have not compressed the final mix. This means that your CD will probably be a bit quieter than most other cd's. We think that too much of the dynamic is sacrificed in order to push the volume up on most CD's nowadays and leave it up to you to just turn the volume up on your system. We are not in competition with anyone else on the jukebox.When it goes from quiet to loud, we really want you to feel the difference, like you would at a gig!

Re: The Top 10s Topic [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 15 Sep 2008 03:36 AM CDT

Albums:

1. Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE
2. Pet Sounds
3. Summer In Paradise
4. Today!
5. Friends

Cool!  Someone else who likes SIP just as much as I do!  It doesn't quite make my top 3, and it has lost a little favor with me in the past 5 years or so, but I still love it!

Hey Eric -

I am so sorry... blush on my cheeks etc. etc.... I planted SIP in there as a red herring, to inquire whether others really read the lists of others. So I'd expected eventual pyrotechnics by other Smileysmilers but not the honest confession of someone saying he or she really likes it. I don't. I am sad to admit, but I don't. Shall we have a virtual beer now?

Re: My SMiLE tracklist (oldies but goodies!) [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 15 Sep 2008 03:26 AM CDT

inspired.

Re: How Will TLOS Chart? - UK And US [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 15 Sep 2008 02:02 AM CDT

Just so you know, TLOS didn't even make the top 200 in France.  Undecided

Re: The TLOS variants [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 15 Sep 2008 01:24 AM CDT

Just got the Best Buy disc. Really like "Just Like Me & You". As others have said, has similar feel to "Being With
the One You Love" aka Doin' Time on Planet Earth, '88 solo album, etc. Great production, very uniquely Brian-
esquely plaintive and idiosyncratic.

More resonant to me than anything else on TLOS except intro & reprises, Been Way Too Long, (remake, doesn't really count), MAD and Southern California.

Not meant negatively, love Van Dyke's narration writing, Brian's overall voice tone, lyrics poetically addressing
and exorcising demons of past.  Some melodies just seem a little insubstantial. The album does have a way of
burrowing into one's mind very evocatively and effectively. Brian
seems to have rekindled spark since BWPS. Many kudos to the band for providing a comfortable creative environment.

Hope "Pleasure Island" comes to fruition. Have a feeling it will be very irreverent, nutty and great!

Re: TLOS: any comments from Mike, Al or Bruce yet? [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 15 Sep 2008 12:46 AM CDT

OK, thanks missed those

Re: Compression and Clipping on TLOS - is it that bad? [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 15 Sep 2008 12:26 AM CDT

Yeah "Goin' Home" is pretty squashed, it almost qualifies, but there is some residual dynamic there, and more on other tracks.   I guess I set the standard for true brickwalling higher than you:  no let-up, even passages with, say, acoustic guitars are jammed up to 0.0 dB all the way.  Examples:  anything mixed by Tom Lord-Alge (Weezer, Bowling for Soup), that new Metallica, or Fountains of Wayne's "Traffic and Weather" (which is wearying to listen to though I love the songs and arragements dearly).

Listening to TLOS again and paying attention this time I did note a trebliness to the mix which might be what's irritating the rest of you.   A lot of sibillance around 8-9 kHz, especially the percussion.   Was that what sounded good to them?  (Probably yes). Or did it creep in when they downsampled the master to 16 bit/44.1kHz?  (I'm told by the Sterophile people that it sometimes happens in that process). If that's the problem it really isn't a mastering issue in the sense of a deliberate choice; it may be a by-product of preparing the master for CD manufacture.

Re: How Will TLOS Chart? - UK And US [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 15 Sep 2008 12:22 AM CDT

Maybe this should be its own thread, seeing as it's thoroughly cranky, but we're talking how TLOS is being received.  Here is uber-crank Jim DeRogatis from the Chicago Sun-Times (a guy I know and frequently disagree with; he uses his contrariness as a stylistic choice):



OUCH!

But then if he uses contrariness as his "stylistic choice" maybe he's one of those 'journalists' who knows people read his stuff in order to shout at it.

Re: How Will TLOS Chart? - UK And US [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 15 Sep 2008 12:17 AM CDT

Maybe this should be its own thread, seeing as it's thoroughly cranky, but we're talking how TLOS is being received.  Here is uber-crank Jim DeRogatis from the Chicago Sun-Times (a guy I know and frequently disagree with; he uses his contrariness as a stylistic choice):


Brian Wilson, "That Lucky Old Sun" (Capitol) [1 STAR]
By Jim DeRogatis on September 4, 2008 9:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (37) | TrackBacks (0)
When it comes to the great Romantic narratives of rock history, few are more enduring--or consistently untrue--than "Brian is back." Every few years, ever since Beach Boys auteur Brian Wilson first fled the spotlight amid a haze of drug and mental problems after the undeniable peak of "Pet Sounds" (1966), one group of allegedly well-intentioned friends and musical collaborators after another has come forward to herald the return of the genius, from the vile Mike Love (who actually wrote a song called "Brian's Back" for a failed comeback in the late '70s) to the controversial psychologist Eugene Landy (who managed Wilson and co-wrote his songs during the failed comeback in the late '80s) to his current coattail rider, Hollywood hack Scott Bennett.

"At 25, I turned out the light/'Cause I couldn't handle the glare in my tired eyes/But now I'm back/Drawing shades of kind blue skies," the 66-year-old Wilson sings in "Goin' Home," but there's no more reason to believe him than anyone else. The retro-harmony-laden tune is one of the few actual songs amid the sappy, soggy and predominantly dreadful pastiche of unfinished snippets, recycled riffs and spoken-word Beat-poetic interludes on the new 38-minute, 17-track conceptual song cycle "That Lucky Old Sun," the singer and songwriter's first full album of new songs since 2004--that is, if you count that year's over-hyped and undercooked attempt to remake and complete the legendary aborted "Smile" album.

Vastly overrated orchestral arranger and wearyingly eccentric lyricist Van Dyke Parks came back for that project, and he makes an appearance here, too. Yet while he is certainly the culprit behind the awful poetry, Bennett is the man who should be derided for much of the rest of this mess: An adept student of the best of Wilson's catalog circa '61 to '67, he crams in countless musical references to and lifts from that era and the influences that led to it, coupled with clich├ęd lyrics paying homage to a Los Angeles that never really existed (one where every girl is "the next Marilyn, every guy, Errol Flynn") and maudlin, exploitative nods to a not entirely accurate version of Wilson's tragic lost years and mental meltdown ("I wasted a lot of years," the singer confesses in "Oxygen to the Brain," while in "Midnight's Another Day," he tells us, "All these voices, all these memories/Make me feel like stone/All these people, they make me feel so alone/Lost in the dark, no shades of grey/Until I found midnight's another day").

Of course, in blaming Bennett, I'm letting Wilson himself slide. As anyone who's interviewed him in the last decade can attest, while seemingly in better mental health than he was in the '80s, he's still not completely in touch with reality--still not really back from whatever awful trip derailed his career. Nor is his voice, when it can be heard amid the bloated production and army of shadowy backing vocalists, anything but a shadow of its former instrument. But if his degree of involvement in this catastrophe is really as full-fledged as his press materials would have us believe, the only conclusion left is that one of the greatest songwriters of his generation can no longer tell trash from triumph--either that, or he's every bit as willing as the parasites around him to milk the legacy of the past for every dollar it will yield while stumbling through a present consisting of unforgivable crap such as "Mexican Girl," "California Role" and "Forever She'll Be My Surfer Girl."

Re: TLOS out of UK top 40 [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 11:56 PM CDT

Not even in the Top 75.  Huh

Re: That Lucky Old Sun [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 11:45 PM CDT

I really, really like it. I think its better than BW88. I like it more than Love You. I'd put it on a par with Surf's Up, I guess.
At first, the nostalgia and the spoken word stuff sort of bugged me, but once I let whatever go that was bugging me the album really worked for me.
I'd give this about 4.5...so five.

Mexican Girl is not as terrible to me as it is to others, though it's my least favorite song, I guess. My one problem with Bennett as a lyricist is that he's relatively humorless compared to Brian Wilson or other former co-writers, but whaddaya gonna do?

Re: Compression and Clipping on TLOS - is it that bad? [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 11:36 PM CDT

...and as someone for whom my pristine vinyl copy of Surfer Girl still sounds as good as anything I can place on my expensive turntable, I'm very glad I haven't bought TLOS. Such a shame.

...See, comments like that just make me think of something my grandmother said, when I was being a teenage snob about something or other.  "Well," she said, "that just means I enjoy more things than you do.  So I win."  :-)

I do think some people, especially those with a specialist mindset, tend to confuse distaste with discernment.  Me, I can hear a difference in sound and style between "Surfer Girl" and "Morning Beat"; what I don't do is hate one because it's not like the other.

Or in another example, I'm not keen on the jagged-edged vaguely-'80s-ish guitar on "Your Imagination", I much prefer the way "Goin' Home" gets a less-processed hot sound.  But that doesn't make me wish I didn't own "Your Imagination" -- that would be serious nose-cutting-face-spiteing time.  Kinda like dissing Paul McCartney's best-written and -performed album in a decade or two because you can't get past the mixing...

Regards,
Jon Blum
I love this post.

Re: Compression and Clipping on TLOS - is it that bad? [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 11:05 PM CDT

It sounds more to me like Ludwig is "grading on the curve". His enthusiam for the product is underwhelming, to say the least. It sounds to me like he's saying something like "it isn't that bad - and even if it is, it isn't my fault". That hardly qualifies as a ringing endorsement. But since he's declared we are all ignorant and part of the great unwashed masses I guess we've been put in our place. Our opinion doesn't matter.

But the CD sounds like crap to me - I don't care what he says. Who's at fault? I don't know, and frankly I don't care.

BTW, if you want to see the "evolution" of Bob Ludwig's mastering, just follow the link I posted below:

http://www.chicagomasteringservice.com/loudness.html

Read this linked page, then look at the images below. Even the "best" of them (MAD) has issues, and Going Home is disgusting. I've heard people say how the BG vocal "swell" was so much more powerful on the demos - well look at the graph and you can see where the level was limited. Some of the power was simply squashed down since there wasn't adequate headroom for it.

Dr. Tim, how can you look at "Going Home" and say it wasn't brickwalled?? I know "brickwalled" is a relative term, but you would have to agree the recording is very heavily limited wouldn't you (even if you don't describe it as brickwalled)?



 

Re: The Top 10s Topic [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 10:40 PM CDT

Albums:
Today!
Pet Sounds
Smile
Bambu
Pacific Ocean Blue
Summer Days (and Summer Nights!)
Wild Honey
Sunflower
Carl and the Passions
All Summer Long
Brian Wilson 88 is, for the record, number 11!

Songs (much harder)--to make things easier, i didn't include Pacific Ocean Blue/Bambu on this list
Surf's Up
I Guess I Just Wasn't Made for These Times
Til I Die
Let Him Run Wild
In the Back of My Mind
Sail on, Sailor
All I Want to Do
She Knows me Too Well
Guess I'm Dumb (that counts, i imagine)
Heroes and Villians
Cool, cool water (sunflower version)

There u have it!

Re: Compression and Clipping on TLOS - is it that bad? [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 10:03 PM CDT

Well the comment from Bob Ludwig is very telling.  So are the waveform screenshots.  I loaded tracks into Sound Forge and saw pretty much the same thing you folks see here.  While TLOS may have been cut somewhat "hot", it was not brickwalled.  To my own ears, the sound of the CD did not offend, though it didn't win an audiophile prize either.  It was OK.  I would have preferred an HDCD master, but then I'm a snob.  From what Bob Ludwig tells us (and he is right about this), if he got a hot mixdown from Brian and Scott, he couldn't "cool it down" in the mastering.  He could have made things worse in the mastering process, but he tells us he did not, and there's no reason to doubt him on that.

That doesn't explain the complaints from other posters, though.  Maybe it's something in the final mix rather than the mastering that  bothers?  (Could be).  Or would this record sound better in hi-rez 24/96 format*, which might remove some of the harshness these folks are reporting?  Dunno.  I must say I'm fresh out of surmises.  Interesting that the reports are that the LP sounds fairly smooth. 

*I would not expect EMI to do this, but some labels do sell FLACS of hi-rez masters in downloads that, once decoded,
will be in full hi-rez format.  Also I am assuming that's the format of the TLOS final mixdown.

Re: Shows and sessions for 1983 now up on 10452 [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 10:01 PM CDT

I've wondered for years what the exact date was of my first Beach Boys show in Saratoga Springs. I now see it was June 19th of '83. I was a few weeks away from my sixth birthday. I remember nothing, except for Bruce singing "Disney Girls". That's a title a kid can pick up on. Is there any more info about the show? I can't remember if Denny or Brian were there. I seem to recall my mother saying the next day that the crazy guy wasn't there, so I doubt Brian was present. Any chance of Denny being there? I would like to think I got to see him in person. I probably didn't. Setlists? Anything?

Re: Smiley Smile was a joke. [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 09:46 PM CDT


Do we know if they attempted any songs other than what made the LP during the Smiley sessions?

There were a few...one called "Good News" (I don't believe that one has ever surfaced) and another, the title of which escapes me, that eventually became "Little Pad".

Brian Wilson - Brian - 1988 - Vinyl - LP ["brian wilson"]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 09:04 PM CDT

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Re: Smiley Smile was a joke. [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 08:57 PM CDT


Do we know if they attempted any songs other than what made the LP during the Smiley sessions?

Isn't there something they made called "Untitled song #1" during that period? I thought I saw something like that in Keith Badman's book.

Also, isn't "The Letter" from that period or is that Wild Honey?

Re: Smiley Smile was a joke. [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 08:25 PM CDT


Do we know if they attempted any songs other than what made the LP during the Smiley sessions?

Is anyone here going to the South Bend Indiana concert? [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 08:24 PM CDT

It sounds like "Is anyone going to the hole-in-the-wall-town concert?" Sorry to anyone from South Bend. It seems as if Brian is definitely doing smaller venues this time around except for the Bowl shows.

Anyway, is anyone here making the trek to Indiana? I live near Chicago, and apparently he's opting not to come here this time, so I have to go there. It will be an overnighter for me as I don't like driving 105 miles home at night. If anyone is going, how about getting together for a pre-concert meet up?

Thanks in advance,
Donna

Re: Shows and sessions for 1983 now up on 10452 [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 08:16 PM CDT

Maybe you could quote that description (hint, hint)...

Sure thing...


Aug. 26 '88 issue of BAM (article by Jerry McCulley): 
 
It was Landy who pushed Wilson to record a solo album, and in late 1984 (sic) Landy sent Wilson off to a tiny $15-an-hour demo studio in Venice.  Wayne Erwin, the studio's owner and a veteran L.A. session musician, recalls the strange circumstances surrounding Wilson's visits.  "I got a call from Dr. Landy's office.  'We want to book an afternoon for Brian Wilson to come in and do some taping.'  I said that's fine with me, but I thought it was a put-on.  I said, 'Well are you sure you're calling the right Dog?  'Cause there's another studio down here in Venice called Mad Dog that's at least 24-track.  We're just a little garage setup, strictly demo-city.'  She said, 'That's exactly what we're looking for, so that Brian can come in on this own without all the pressures of working with all these people around him.'
 
So they booked a couple of days later, and I was sitting out there on the porch.  I didn't even know if anybody was gonna show up.  I was sitting out there reading and I see this bearded fella coming tentatively around the corner and he's carrying a DX-7 in a case.  It was just him.  And I thought, 'poopy, it is Brian Wilson, carrying a synthesizer without even a roadie.'  I thought, well, this is pretty weird.
 
"About two hours into the session it was just so obvious to me that, OK, now this is a whole little experiment where they sent Brian out on his own, carrying his own little keyboard to do his thing.  It was very wacky.  And then halfway though the session Landy came in with a helper."  However, Erwin says Landy's usual ritual during the sessions was to park his car a few feet outside the studio's walls, and call Brian via his car phone to issue instructions or check on Brian's progress.
 
Overall, Erwin has fond memories of the experience.  "When he first started doing his vocal, I didn't have any modern digital reverb.  My reverb was an old spring reverb, the kind they used before they had digital at all.  Definitely low-tech all the way.  He was doing his vocals just dry in the headphones, and then I threw that spring reverb on there, and he stopped and said, 'Aw, that's beautiful.  That's the way it used to sound.'  There were a couple of times that were really touching."

Re: Shows and sessions for 1983 now up on 10452 [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 08:08 PM CDT

Maybe you could quote that description (hint, hint)...

Re: Compression and Clipping on TLOS - is it that bad? [Smiley Smile Message Board]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 08:04 PM CDT

Beach Boys fans are the toughest fans walking the earth  Grin

Beach Boys fans:  loud, highly compressed with a limited dynamic range, but still peaking way in the red.  :-)

Cheers,
Jon Blum

Brian Forgets Pacific Ocean Blue? [Smiley Smile Dot Net]

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 04:16 PM CDT

Pitchfork: I was also curious, did you follow along this year with the reissue of Dennis Wilson's album--

BW: No, I haven't heard it yet.

Pitchfork: Yeah, Pacific Ocean Blue was reissued this year to critical acclaim. A lot of people were going back to it after a long time. I didn't know if you had been following...

BW: Yeah. That was the early-- I never heard that album, you know?

Pitchfork: That wasn't something that, back then, you would have--

BW: No. I didn't even know he made an album.

 blog it

WOULDN'T IT BE NICE by Brian Wilson ["brian wilson"]

Posted: 13 Sep 2008 06:34 PM CDT

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