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From The Editor: Embracing "Wrong"

June 30, 2014

insight Embracing “Wrong”

THIS MONTH, our music features offer lessons in recording the “wrong” way: Use the the wrong mic technique. (Dangle the snare mic from the ceiling.) Add the wrong effects (television compressors). Track drums in the wrong space (a closet). Apply the wrong finishing touches to the mix. (Play up noise, wow, and flutter.)

There’s certainly a case to be made for tried-and-true recording methods, but sometimes tossing out the rule book can yield unexpectedly amazing results.

In our cover story (starting on page 16), we learn how Elvis Costello and The Roots recorded much of their Wise Up Ghost collaboration right on the Late Night With Jimmy Fallon set, and the result is a gorgeous, warm, groove-laden record.

Moby learned long ago that making intentional sonic compromises—creating elements that many people would consider mistakes—freed him to believe a record could be anything he wanted it to be, as he explains in our feature on the Innocents sessions (beginning on page 30): “Realizing that suddenly makes the studio a place where the goal is to make something interesting, rather than something perfect.” In the recording world, there is no single “perfect” sound, one sonic ideal—lucky for us, because it would be a sad place if everything sounded the same.


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