Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ultravox. XTC. U2. Simple Minds. These are names of bands that I immediately think of at the reference of this man, Steve Lillywhite. I see it immediately on the flip side of the "Boy" sleeve, and when I think of those catchy early XTC songs and check the production credit. Oh! Of course! Steve Lillywhite is someone I think of when I think of the better new wave and no wave acts of the 80s UK scene.

Basically, when I think Island Records, this is the guy that is almost as synonymous with that label as U2 and Ultravox are. Another thing I start to wonder, does U2 just go from "THE" producer to "THE" producer? What production whores! haa haa. Focusing back to Mr Lillywhite, I think of a certain treble pan sound in the atmospherics of the production qualities. Which is something that I have a lack of preference for, being a bass gal, but he makes treble work for the aesthetic of a rough and live no super over produced sound. There is a raw and refreshing spin to the way those records were produced, that at this point makes them sound dated because of it, but at the time if I was a band of that era I would want a certain level of wide eyed quality to it, which I think he is brilliant at.

Now I dont know too much about the specifics of production, where the drops and gains of + and - in the 60k and such are concerned, but I can be explained these things by those who are production proficient. What I do know and can hear is quality and why things are done the way they are. I think you have to have a good understanding of the music that is being put in front of you and who the band is, in order to be a good producer. One half of what makes a good producer is production qualities that bring the full portrait of an artist to light. I don't think hip hop producers should produce punk, its anti-climactic and just put WRONG!

That said, I look at the list of artists and albums Lillywhite produced, and it all makes sense: Siouxsie and The Banshees-The Scream, Simple Minds-Sparkle in the Rain, Psychedelic Furs-s/t, and Talk Talk Talk, Big Country- The Crossing, Wondertown and Marshall Crenshaw-Field Day just to name the few. There is an overriding similarity that these albums all have and they are some of the ones that are the standouts when people talk albums, The Banshees "Scream" for one!

Thank you Steve!

For more info on Steve Lillywhite GO HERE.
For Steve Lillywhite on producing albums, READ THIS.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Oh the crossovers continue, as Mark Ellis, aka Flood, is another producer that has produced for bands that Steve Lillywhite, Martin Hannett, John Fryer and Daniel Miller have. The first being that initial notable release by post Joy Division, New Order on their album Movement, which although is credited to M. Hannett, Flood also contributed to. Flood to me, is pretty much the electronic producer of the larger bands to get popular in the later 80s, and give them that slicked over huge sound. The most notable effort being Depeche Mode's Violator album.

However he pretty much was also responsible for a whole bunch of post punk and indie acts as well, such as Gary Numan, PJ Harvey, The Charlatans, Soft Cell, Psychic TV, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Pop Will Eat Itself. One of the secondary largest credits he has is Nine Inch Nails' huge album breakthrough, The Downward Spiral.

My notice of Flood came when I got Violator, being a huge DM fan for years, and noting more-so the name Daniel Miller (Mr Mute), and then noting this new and strange name. Then I noticed it upon my Curve album and others. I think of Flood as the guy who makes things sound really studio produced without an inch of flaw, and by that I feel his production skills are really pristine. I think this is great for some bands, while at other times, there is a lack of a certain resonance of warmth because the clarity is that great, making the album feel cold and impersonal. However, I think with some bands, this works! I think for what he does though, he does it well. He has worked with Martin Hannett, and Steve Lillywhite collectively with New Order (M.H.) and U2(S.L.)

It is clear to see that pretty much my musical tastes rotate around these 5 men, with each of them producing albums that are near and dear to me. I will be thankful for that huge sound that happened between Music for The Masses and Violator.


For More Info on Flood, go here.
For an interview with Flood from March 29th 2006, read this.

Monday, January 7, 2008

THANK YOUR 4ADBANDS FOR USING THIS MAN! For had it not been for him a great many of the
legacy bands would not have had certain elements that they had that made them as wonderful as we revered. Just to name a few, Cocteau Twins, Clan of Xymox, This Mortal Coil, Xmal Deustchland, Lush, Colin Newman, Wolfgang Press, M/A/R/R/S, Minimal Compact, and Colourbox. Also not to to mention non-4ad artists, like Wire, Fad Gadget, Moev, Nine Inch Nails, Yazoo, Chapterhouse, and Depeche Mode, but we'll get to more on that DM thing when we hit Mr Daniel Miller and Flood(obviously.) But its no surprise that these awesome producers, have overlapped.

I feel that sometimes there is something lost in the reverence to these bands I adore by not giving the credit due to the production/engineers behind these albums. I am hugely grateful to this man, oh Mr Fryer, for those This Mortal Coil albums and his studio production work with thos early Cocteau Twins albums giving them the ever so slightly hollow and looming quality that I adored so much. If only there was a better budget for better recording equipment that allowed these albums to have had better clarity, however, there is nothing that deters me from listening and escaping all the same from the original recordings. (Treasure is the only one that I feel the need to listen to remastered, but Mr Fryer had no part in that album, therefore, he's still THE MAN!)

I have to say a huge deserved thanks to the man behind Clan of Xymox' albums as well, because this was really moreso when I became aware of who he was moreso, and was like, "his name seems to appear on a bunch of things I own." Those first two studio albums by CoX, are beyond amazing, and anything on Medusa is pure gold, which I also will give Mr Pieter Nooten and Ronny Moorings credit for too. It's simply one of the best albums out there.


For more general info on John Fryer, please Go Here.
For More info on these bands and others recorded, visit this site.