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nomos
12-08-2010, 01:41 AM
I'm becoming increasingly fascinated with mastering and the usually quite anonymous, often overlooked, art-science of shaping the final sounds of records. Also interested in styles/approaches of the people tasked with the paradoxical job of lending their touch to a record, after it's left the hands of the artist/producer, while also being somewhat transparent about it.

So.. roll call? Who should I be looking up? Any style, any time.

nomos
12-08-2010, 01:42 AM
Kind of obvious way to start, around here:

Jason Goz (http://www.discogs.com/artist/Jason+Goz) - Probably better known as Jason from Transition (http://www.transition-studios.com/). Much celebrated as the man who knows how to do dubstep bass. More interesting though, is the hand he had in shaping the sound of dubstep, as a whole, early on doing work for multiple artists and labels with, originally at least, Plastic People and Mass sound systems as his main testing grounds. Not to ignore Transition's client list which includes Shaka and, um, Natasha Beddingfield (http://www.transition-studios.com/about-us.html).

What's struck me lately though, is that I've been noticing his name in more far flung places, largely, it seems, through an association with Touch Records for whom he's handled releases by bass-minimalist Eleh, the Spire Live organ series, and a weighty noise piece by Mika Vaino.

UFO over easy
12-08-2010, 01:46 AM
stuart hawkes at metropolis - http://www.redbullmusicacademy.com/video-archive/lectures/stuart_hawkes_wino_made_me_do_it

killing it today and check his work in the 90s - http://www.discogs.com/artist/Stuart+Hawkes - Dee Jay, Rugged Vinyl, Metalheadz, Lucky Spin, Skanna, GLO etc

nomos
12-08-2010, 01:48 AM
I remember Dj Chef calling this (http://www.amazon.ca/Mastering-Audio-science-Bob-Katz/dp/0240808371/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281577491&sr=1-1) his bible

...and a thread where bass enthusiasts were asking Jason questions about EQing as if he had the magic codes to loosen their bowels and give their girlfriends orgasms (or thereabouts). I tried to interview him a few years ago, but he disappeared after we started.

The last Woofah (http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBQQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.woofahmag.com%2F&ei=xVJjTJq_N4H-8AbKosj-CQ&usg=AFQjCNG47RGPbpQPCLTJV6zoS7cxn77xeg) had a great story on the related but partly different matter of cutting houses. Again so much secrecy.

I used to know names in hip-hop but I forgot most of them.

Richard Carnage
12-08-2010, 02:22 AM
Dubplates & Mastering's Rashad Becker always seems to get a great sound.

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Rashad+Becker

Interview between Robert Henke and Rashad here: http://www.monolake.de/interviews/mastering.html

luka
12-08-2010, 03:01 AM
bob power is the most famous name in hip-hop.... im sure polystyle knows all this stuf...

michael
12-08-2010, 04:41 AM
Brian Gardner is the one behind Dr Dre's Chronic 2001, which people always harp on about. Big sound.


'Tis such a dark art. I should buy that book upthread.

connect_icut
12-08-2010, 06:15 AM
Talking of D&M, I believe Moritz Von Oswald is doing all the vinyl mastering for Honest Jon's. I dread to think what he said when he was presented with the Actress album. "Oh, shall I add some more compression to this then?"

Richard Carnage
12-08-2010, 06:25 AM
Talking of D&M, I believe Moritz Von Oswald is doing all the vinyl mastering for Honest Jon's. I dread to think what he said when he was presented with the Actress album. "Oh, shall I add some more compression to this then?"

I think he may just be doing their reggae releases. CGB did the Actress stuff on HJ.

Dr Awesome
12-08-2010, 07:08 AM
George Peckham has been running around for years too.

ether
12-08-2010, 07:17 AM
Can't forget the Legendary Ron Murphy (http://www.residentadvisor.net/news.aspx?id=9056) (r.i.p) the sound of Detroit (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDmBx4R-Gas&feature=related)

unclerico
12-08-2010, 07:45 AM
denis blackham -

been doing it for 40 years, he has mastered artists as diverse as hendrix, brian eno and david byrne, pan sonic, merzbow, tim hecker, kraftwerk and otis redding

http://www.tokafi.com/news/eleh-denis-blackham-mastering-location-momentum/

bob effect
12-08-2010, 09:10 AM
Dubplates & Mastering's Rashad Becker always seems to get a great sound.

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Rashad+Becker

Interview between Robert Henke and Rashad here: http://www.monolake.de/interviews/mastering.html


Read this interview a while back, can't recommend it enough. D&M were the place to go for techno mastering in the 90s, don't know whether that's still the case.

Sectionfive
17-12-2015, 12:10 AM
Leon Chue at Music House. Really good. He started Carnival weekend September 95, queue for dubs was 14 hours long :)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRBfszxN-3Y

nomos
17-12-2015, 12:51 AM
I love this George Peckham interview...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpidqcG7sSo

Beatles to No U Turn. Funny guy too.

CrowleyHead
17-12-2015, 01:57 AM
Mike Dean
Tony Moran from Latin Rascals
Howie Weinberg

minikomi
17-12-2015, 06:44 AM
Guy at The Exchange

Leo
17-12-2015, 01:54 PM
I love this George Peckham interview...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpidqcG7sSo

Beatles to No U Turn. Funny guy too.

Wow, didn't realize he's the guy behind Porky Prime Cuts! So many great records from back in the day have that engraved into the runoff grooves. Learn something new every day, thanks for sharing Nomos.

owengriffiths
18-12-2015, 07:37 PM
Leon Chue at Music House. Really good. He started Carnival weekend September 95, queue for dubs was 14 hours long :)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRBfszxN-3Y

I'm guessing that's Wookies dad?

Sectionfive
19-12-2015, 02:38 PM
Brother, this is Wookie's dad http://www.discogs.com/artist/1039119-Paul-Chue

Some pedigree be between the three of them in fairness. Family played a huge part in so many areas of UK music

Sectionfive
19-12-2015, 02:52 PM
Also from that brilliant oral history Lauren Martin did earlier (http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/an-oral-history-of-dubstep-vice-lauren-martin-610/page/0) in the year


LOEFAH: Transition is a cutting house based in Forest Hill, near where we lived in south London. We heard that's where Grooverider got his dubs cut, and that was enough for us, frankly, so I started going there in probably 2003. There were rules: you only paid for your own dubs if you wanted them for yourself. If Hatcha wanted one of my tracks to play out, he'd have to pay to get it cut to dub, and then that was his copy. It all depended on what rate you were on, too: I was on 25 quid for two sides of a 10-inch, 30 quid for a 12-inch. They swapped from 10-inch to 12-inch 'cause they "ran out" of 10-inch, around 2005-06, but that was a step up. Going back to 10-inch might have made us look cheap, y'know?

JOE NICE: I started pressing and stayed on 10-inch because it was less expensive but, for me, when I was playing the early Dub War parties, it was as much a visual cue as anything else. If someone sees me pull out something that doesn't look the same size from a distance, they're thinking, "Yo, is that a 10-inch? Yooo, 10-inch are dubplates. Yooo, Joe Nice has a dubplate? Oh shit I gotta hear what this brother's gonna play." Bottom line: dubplates keep you in the room.


CHEF: I was cutting dubs at Transition, and I saw that Jason [Goz], the master engineer, was looking to bring someone in to be a trainee. I said to him straight up, "That's my job, you can take that advert down." I was cutting dubs from 17-years old I remember my first was Skream "Bubble", with Benga "Blood" on the flip. Jason really helped get the best out of not just me, but everyone.

MALA: It was very important for me to be part of finishing a track, and that meant going to Jason: hearing the difference between my finished version and Jason's version; seeing what subtle changes in frequencies he'd adjusted, what compression or limiting he might have applied. It was, and still is, expensive, but back then it was overtime money that was paying for my dubplates, so if you're paying 30 or 40 quid for two tracks, you'd got to be damn sure that those tracks were as good as they could possibly be.

What I learned most from Jason is that certain frequencies just won't translate on vinyl and if you roll off, roll off and roll off the bottom end, it actually gets heavier. The one that sticks out the most is "Anti War Dub". I actually sampled that tune: there's a full song of "Anti War Dub", with verse and lyrics at a different tempo, which Coki recorded in Jamaica with [vocalist] Spen G. I time-stretched and sampled the vocal, so the version everyone knows sounds totally different from Coki's version. With my version, I remember Jason saying, "I don't need to do anything to this." I remember him saying he thought I nailed it.

LOEFAH: When I took "Twis Up" to Jason I'd been panning my bass, which is a real no-no, but I was trying to be clever and throw basslines across the club. When I gave it to Jason, he turned around in his chair and said, "We're going to have to cut this mono you know, bruv" and I felt like such an idiot. Jason wouldn't tell you what to do, but if you asked the right questions "How could I make my bass sound tighter?"; "Would it be a good idea to compress it, or limit it?" he'd vibes with you. And not just for the quality of the sound, either: it's the way the tracks were built. Jason would get solid bottom ends, and the hard crack of a snare out of you. Other engineers may have tried to round those elements off, to make it more of a "poppier" mixdown, but he got it.

JASON GOZ: When I started out cutting for the reggae soundsystems it used to take me forever, and there was a lot of financial commitment involved. It took me four hours to cut a dub with four tracks on it once, and my brother said, "It's taken you four hours to earn 35 quid, are you mad?" I wasn't a mastering engineer. I wasn't even a dub cutter. I'd spend six months working to get money to buy a box of dubs, which was 220 quid at the time, then cut them and go home depressed because they didn't sound good. I learned to cut by playing them myself and not liking what I heard.

It worked out for everyone in the long run, though. I was learning when dubstep was beginning to grow, and it was perfect for all of us because there weren't any rules and by the time dubstep had come into its own, I knew the sound that I was looking for. The thing that I loved most about dubstep was the bass and historically, engineers are scared of bass. The sound of wood vibrating is my favourite sound in the world. I used to stand in DMZ and think, 'I wonder what the foundations of this building are like?' because the building was physically shaking.


Towards the end of the peak of garage, I was cutting for people like Hatcha when he was in a crew called Stonecold GX Crew, I believe and he started bringing me this new stuff which he just referred to as "more tribal". He'd cut a few garage pieces with me and then slip that Something Else in, until gradually the focus became more and more about this Something Else. He was without a doubt the first person to bring dubstep to Transition.

There were times when I'd go out to a club, hear a track that I'd cut, then ring up the producer on the Monday and say, "I've cut it for you again." They'd be shocked "What? Why?" "I didn't like the way it sounded," I'd tell them and I wouldn't charge them for it again, either. If that dub is leaving Transition with my name on it, it has to be perfect. I've had so many arguments with sound engineers in nightclubs, and with other producers, too: people asking me to re-create Mala, Loefah, Coki. When DMZ blew up, it nearly gave me a nervous breakdown. I'd be getting 15, 20 calls a day while pulling a 70-hour week.

Because of that, at the time, I was always aware of the fact that if this sound got really big, I couldn't cut every dubstep record that came out so I held the levels back. I didn't cut them too loud. I didn't make the music too un-dynamic because, physically, it needed somewhere to go. A lot of current pop is really loud, so for a given level on your hi-fi, it screams at you. An old Bob Marley track isn't as loud, though. It's dynamic: peaks and troughs, loud parts and quiet parts. That's what I mean when I say I held back, because there's only a certain point before it's no longer listenable.

Everyone came to Transition, but some really stood out. Benga was coming to me when he was 15 years old. I remember sitting there, in the studio, and I said to him, "You know what, bruv? I'm going to give you a discount. I can't believe you're saving your dinner money to cut dubs." Then there was when Kode9 came to me with Burial's music, and said, "Don't take too much time on it. He doesn't want too much processing," so I just made it presentable.

A lot of electronic music at the time was too computerised for me quantized, even but Burial reminded me of how Robbie from Sly and Robbie played bass. When he wants to hype it up, he'll sometimes play in front of the drum note, others on the note, sometimes behind the note all to create mood. That's why I loved it when Kode9 brought me Burial's music: life isn't on the beat.

SGT POKES: When we turned up to play the big drum and bass raves with our boxes of dubs, Roni Size and his lot would turn up with their CD wallets, clock us, and be like, "These kids have got bags full of fucking dubplates. They're not mucking about." People used to talk about elitism and audiophilia with dubplate exclusivity, but the ability to keep a tune alive and keep it on dubplate, white label and test pressing, for 18 months or more was important. Like Coki's "Burnin'". I remember hearing it a few days before a DMZ and thinking, 'This is going to smash up the place.' In the club, drop it four pull-ups. Skream and Benny play it two pull-ups. By the end of the night, people were still screaming for it.