Steve Albini

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Steve Albini

Post by onthebandwagon » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:45 pm

Do you feel like his production techniques (or maybe lack of) have been to the benefit of most the albums he’s produced? Seems like despite being so prolific as a producer he hasn’t really amassed the money one would imagine from what I’ve read...
Last edited by onthebandwagon on Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Steve Albani

Post by metasonix » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:47 pm

"Albini"
:tu:

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Re: Steve Albani

Post by onthebandwagon » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:50 pm

metasonix wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:47 pm
"Albini"
:tu:


:bang: he’s not even Albanian...

(corrected)
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Re: Steve Albani

Post by galanter2 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:00 pm

onthebandwagon wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:45 pm
Do you feel like his production techniques (or maybe lack of) have been to the benefit of most the albums he’s produced? Seems like despite being so prolific as a producer he hasn’t really massive the money one would imagine from what I’ve read...
It's spelled Albini.

He calls himself an engineer not a producer.

He does this to emphasize his role as a service provider to realize the band's vision. He associates "producer" with what he sees as an archaic idea; someone who represents the interests of the record label, and will push the band in directions they potentially don't want.

Regarding his money:

1. You don't know how much money he has. It would be his nature to not make a show of material wealth.
2. Your inference that if he isn't making superstar money he must not benefit the bands he works with is … well … exactly the kind of attitude he's been speaking out against for as long as I can remember.

I consider him to be one of the wealthiest people I've known…in the way that matters. He does what he wants, when he wants. He is charitable in a local, personal, low key kind of way. He owns his own, very nice, recording studio. People fly him in all over the world to have him present. If there's a piece of gear he wants, he buys it. But he doesn't buy to accumulate goodies. These are working tools. He has a band that can tour when he wants, and record when he wants. He stands up for the little guy. He rubs shoulders (at times) with some of the biggest names in rock.

He is pursuing his dreams, and helping others pursue theirs, every single day.

Very wealthy indeed.

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Re: Steve Albini

Post by GuyaGuy » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:02 pm

Most? No idea because he's done tons of albums and I've never listened to things like his Fred Schneider album.

But in general yes--because bands that approach him probably know what to expect and want that sound and his laissez faire approach. I'm guessing he may refuse a band if he doesn't think they'd be happy with his style.

He seems to be doing fairly well for himself but he's not sitting on piles of money like he might have been able to after the Nirvana album because he charges fairly affordable rates, viewing his role almost purely pragmatic.

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Re: Steve Albini

Post by onthebandwagon » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:06 pm

@galinter3 Ok... corrected my post before you replied, as to his money situation I read an interview where he was lamenting about how it was hard for him to keep the lights on in the studio or something to that effect, and well yes in this regards if you would like him to still be able to continue to *engineer* good albums this is certainly a factor. This question pops into my head pops every time I pop into Gearslutz answer see ads for his production seminars, not sure he’s teaching only engineering in them as I never clicked.
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Re: Steve Albini

Post by onthebandwagon » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:13 pm

GuyaGuy wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:02 pm
Most? No idea because he's done tons of albums and I've never listened to things like his Fred Schneider album.

But in general yes--because bands that approach him probably know what to expect and want that sound and his laissez faire approach. I'm guessing he may refuse a band if he doesn't think they'd be happy with his style.

He seems to be doing fairly well for himself but he's not sitting on piles of money like he might have been able to after the Nirvana album because he charges fairly affordable rates, viewing his role almost purely pragmatic.
Well I hope he is... I find him to be an interesting sympathetic figure, willing to talk in a less than flattering way about bands he’s produced re: the Pixies but being very generous with other re: the Breeders. I guess it’s a bit of a double edged sword not having a “signature sound” but rather the capacity to bring an artists vision of themselves to fruition.
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Re: Steve Albini

Post by galanter2 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:14 pm

Just about any recording studio owner will tell you it's been hard over the years to keep the lights on. Budgets are way down. Technology has diminished the role of traditional studios. Competition is fierce. Streaming pays artists a sliver of what they used to make selling records. Recording has become a way to sell concert tickets, and concert tickets have become a way to sell merch.

IMHO Albini has stayed in business where so many have failed because his operation is so unlike the others. The facility and other engineers and staff reflect Albini's particular POV and aesthetic. If that's what you want, you're going to have to go to his place to get it.

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Re: Steve Albini

Post by onthebandwagon » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:18 pm

galanter2 wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:14 pm
Just about any recording studio owner will tell you it's been hard over the years to keep the lights on. Budgets are way down. Technology has diminished the role of traditional studios. Competition is fierce. Streaming pays artists a sliver of what they used to make selling records. Recording has become a way to sell concert tickets, and concert tickets have become a way to sell merch.

IMHO Albini has stayed in business where so many have failed because his operation is so unlike the others. The facility and other engineers and staff reflect Albini's particular POV and aesthetic. If that's what you want, you're going to have to go to his place to get it.
Fair enough...I’m not doing an audit of his finances, but the article I read which I will have to look for later, I foundation some biting humor in how he talked about it but didn’t mean for that to be the focal point of discussion.

And if anyone is interested in his coffee recipes: https://gothamist.com/food/steve-albini ... fee-recipe
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Re: Steve Albini

Post by syncretism » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:25 pm

Albini wrote:I would like to be paid like a plumber. I do the job and you pay me what it’s worth. The record company will expect me to ask for a point or a point and a half. If we assume three million sales, that works out to 400,000 dollars or so. There’s no fucking way I would ever take that much money. I wouldn’t be able to sleep

I have to be comfortable with the amount of money you pay me, but it’s your money, and I insist that you be comfortable with it as well. Kurt suggested paying me a chunk which I would consider full payment, and then if you really thought I deserved more, paying me another chunk after you’d had a chance to live with the album for a while. That would be fine, but probably more organizational trouble than it’s worth

Whatever, I trust you guys to be fair to me and I know you most be familiar with what a regular industry goon would want. I will let you make the final decision about what I’m going to be paid. How much you choose to pay me will not affect my enthusiasm for the record.
https://genius.com/Steve-albini-letter- ... ana-lyrics

This thread would probably get better traction on Gearslutz or Tape-Op, but so it goes. Electrical Audio charges everyone the same for time, afaik. Dude’s not in it to get rich.

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Re: Steve Albini

Post by onthebandwagon » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:29 pm

syncretism wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:25 pm
Albini wrote:I would like to be paid like a plumber. I do the job and you pay me what it’s worth. The record company will expect me to ask for a point or a point and a half. If we assume three million sales, that works out to 400,000 dollars or so. There’s no fucking way I would ever take that much money. I wouldn’t be able to sleep

I have to be comfortable with the amount of money you pay me, but it’s your money, and I insist that you be comfortable with it as well. Kurt suggested paying me a chunk which I would consider full payment, and then if you really thought I deserved more, paying me another chunk after you’d had a chance to live with the album for a while. That would be fine, but probably more organizational trouble than it’s worth

Whatever, I trust you guys to be fair to me and I know you most be familiar with what a regular industry goon would want. I will let you make the final decision about what I’m going to be paid. How much you choose to pay me will not affect my enthusiasm for the record.
https://genius.com/Steve-albini-letter- ... ana-lyrics

This thread would probably get better traction on Gearslutz or Tape-Op, but so it goes. Electrical Audio charges everyone the same for time, afaik. Dude’s not in it to get rich.
I certainly find that admirable.

Oddly I happened to be listening to Slint’s Spiderland when I authored this shitty thread. What a crystalline production it is...

Despite what he says re: being just an engineer and not a producer, I don’t believe this, maybe he wants to, he’s a humble guy, wants to downplay his contributions—that’s all fine and good and very much attached to his ethos: but often we don’t fully see our capabilities or effects on others, whatever his title maybe on his many recordings it is a stretch to say he was just an engineer. A game of semantics.
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Re: Steve Albini

Post by syncretism » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:15 pm

onthebandwagon wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:29 pm
Despite what he says re: being just an engineer and not a producer, I don’t believe this, maybe he wants to, he’s a humble guy, wants to downplay his contributions—that’s all fine and good and very much attached to his ethos: but often we don’t fully see our capabilities or effects on others, whatever his title maybe on his many recordings it is a stretch to say he was just an engineer. A game of semantics.
As far as I know, he works to document the artists' performances as best as he can doesn't tell them what to play and how to play it, apart perhaps from "do it as live and with as few takes as possible." I think he's making a fair distinction.

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Re: Steve Albini

Post by onthebandwagon » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:25 pm

syncretism wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:15 pm
onthebandwagon wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:29 pm
Despite what he says re: being just an engineer and not a producer, I don’t believe this, maybe he wants to, he’s a humble guy, wants to downplay his contributions—that’s all fine and good and very much attached to his ethos: but often we don’t fully see our capabilities or effects on others, whatever his title maybe on his many recordings it is a stretch to say he was just an engineer. A game of semantics.
As far as I know, he works to document the artists' performances as best as he can doesn't tell them what to play and how to play it, apart perhaps from "do it as live and with as few takes as possible." I think he's making a fair distinction.
An artist like Slint, with relatively little experience in the studio... I don’t know if they or even more experienced bands often are able to totally articulate how they want their records to sound. So if for example they say they want the vocals to sound harsh that’s like simply saying the color blue without specifying exactly what blue... i imagine what he does behind the console has many more variables than he’s able to express, re: offering choices, in such a circumstance, so he’s constantly making choices . Maybe my understanding of what a producer is, is totally misguided but I can’t imagine it begins and ends simply with instructions on how they should approach the recording or specific suggestions as to how the end result should sound.
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Re: Steve Albini

Post by syncretism » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:38 pm

Well, you've mentioned Slint twice; at least one of their members allegedly quit out of dissatisfactions with Albini's recording of Tweez, and Albini didn't record Spiderland!

But, that said, I think this podcast episode lays Albini's thoughts out pretty clearly: https://www.shure.com/en-US/performance ... eve-albini

If you still disagree at the end, then I guess we agree to disagree! :)

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Re: Steve Albini

Post by onthebandwagon » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:42 pm

syncretism wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:38 pm
Well, you've mentioned Slint twice; at least one of their members allegedly quit out of dissatisfactions with Albini's recording of Tweez, and Albini didn't record Spiderland!

But, that said, I think this podcast episode lays Albini's thoughts out pretty clearly: https://www.shure.com/en-US/performance ... eve-albini

If you still disagree at the end, then I guess we agree to disagree! :)
That’s a shame I really like the production of spiderland...now I recall their dissatisfaction with his recording of that album and some regret on his part over it :eyes:

I was listening to Zen Arcade after that wishing Steve Albini produced it because Spot did a crappy job, now I think I better put down my chalice and call it a night :guinness: (thanks for the link I’ll check it tomorrow)

P.s. Steve AlbIni’s review of Spiderland is delightfully acidic in it’s praise:

“Only two other bands have meant as much to me as Slint in the past few years and only one of them, The Jesus Lizard, have made a record this good. We are in a time of midgets: dance music, three varieties of simple-minded hard rock genre crap, soulless-crooning, infantile slogan-studded rap and ball-less balladeering. My instincts tell me the dry spell will continue for a while - possibly until the bands Slint will inspire reach maturity. Until then, play this record and kick yourself if you never got to see them live. In ten years, you’ll lie like the cocksucker you are and say you did anyway.”

http://toddiet123.blogspot.com/2018/04/ ... nd-by.html
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Re: Steve Albini

Post by GuyaGuy » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:16 am

onthebandwagon wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:13 pm
Well I hope he is... I find him to be an interesting sympathetic figure, willing to talk in a less than flattering way about bands he’s produced re: the Pixies but being very generous with other re: the Breeders. I guess it’s a bit of a double edged sword not having a “signature sound” but rather the capacity to bring an artists vision of themselves to fruition.
I think he does have a "signature sound"--or at least preferences. He usually keeps things pretty dry and uncompressed, apparently usually records the drums the same way, usually records in the same couple of spaces, etc. But he's no Eno, trying to play music with the band rather than just setting up mics.

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Re: Steve Albini

Post by onthebandwagon » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:20 am

GuyaGuy wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:16 am
onthebandwagon wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:13 pm
Well I hope he is... I find him to be an interesting sympathetic figure, willing to talk in a less than flattering way about bands he’s produced re: the Pixies but being very generous with other re: the Breeders. I guess it’s a bit of a double edged sword not having a “signature sound” but rather the capacity to bring an artists vision of themselves to fruition.
I think he does have a "signature sound"--or at least preferences. He usually keeps things pretty dry and uncompressed, apparently usually records the drums the same way, usually records in the same couple of spaces, etc. But he's no Eno, trying to play music with the band rather than just setting up mics.
Personally, I think Cluster (for example), were doing fine if not better without Eno...but maybe Albini could of cleaned up their sound.
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Re: Steve Albini

Post by GuyaGuy » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:33 am

onthebandwagon wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:20 am
GuyaGuy wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:16 am
onthebandwagon wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:13 pm
Well I hope he is... I find him to be an interesting sympathetic figure, willing to talk in a less than flattering way about bands he’s produced re: the Pixies but being very generous with other re: the Breeders. I guess it’s a bit of a double edged sword not having a “signature sound” but rather the capacity to bring an artists vision of themselves to fruition.
I think he does have a "signature sound"--or at least preferences. He usually keeps things pretty dry and uncompressed, apparently usually records the drums the same way, usually records in the same couple of spaces, etc. But he's no Eno, trying to play music with the band rather than just setting up mics.
Personally, I think Cluster (for example), were doing fine if not better without Eno...but maybe Albini could of cleaned up their sound.
I was actually just listening to them and Harmonia yesterday, wondering how deliberate the grunge was. Sowieso was recorded in a couple of days so I'm sure they weren't laboring over gain stages.

But I love Eno with those guys!

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Re: Steve Albini

Post by onthebandwagon » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:42 am

GuyaGuy wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:33 am
onthebandwagon wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:20 am
GuyaGuy wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:16 am
onthebandwagon wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:13 pm
Well I hope he is... I find him to be an interesting sympathetic figure, willing to talk in a less than flattering way about bands he’s produced re: the Pixies but being very generous with other re: the Breeders. I guess it’s a bit of a double edged sword not having a “signature sound” but rather the capacity to bring an artists vision of themselves to fruition.
I think he does have a "signature sound"--or at least preferences. He usually keeps things pretty dry and uncompressed, apparently usually records the drums the same way, usually records in the same couple of spaces, etc. But he's no Eno, trying to play music with the band rather than just setting up mics.
Personally, I think Cluster (for example), were doing fine if not better without Eno...but maybe Albini could of cleaned up their sound.
I was actually just listening to them and Harmonia yesterday, wondering how deliberate the grunge was. Sowieso was recorded in a couple of days so I'm sure they weren't laboring over gain stages.

But I love Eno with those guys!

Sowieso is one of my very favorite albums, so unfussy in a way...but the album credited as Cluster & Eno has way too much Eno for my liking despite very much liking Eno...
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Re: Steve Albini

Post by Wartimetapestry » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:47 am

I personally feel where you notice Albini most is in his absence. Two of my favourite bands, Silkworm and the Jesus Lizard, had long collaborations with him. If my numbers are right, only 3 records between them didn't have Albini on engineering and they also happen to be the least exciting - sort of like something is missing.

I'm not downplaying his talents, as I think he is one of the greatest in skill and philosophy, but it's all about the rhythm section. He's a wizard.

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Re: Steve Albini

Post by what gives? » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:08 am

Yeah, the way he records drums is where he really shines. His guitar tone in Shellac is pretty unique as well.

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Re: Steve Albini

Post by onthebandwagon » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:25 am

Wartimetapestry wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:47 am
I personally feel where you notice Albini most is in his absence. Two of my favourite bands, Silkworm and the Jesus Lizard, had long collaborations with him. If my numbers are right, only 3 records between them didn't have Albini on engineering and they also happen to be the least exciting - sort of like something is missing.

I'm not downplaying his talents, as I think he is one of the greatest in skill and philosophy, but it's all about the rhythm section. He's a wizard.
Well if anything that is a sign of his talents as it comes downs to nuance which is like an endangered species these days.
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Re: Steve Albini

Post by syncretism » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:53 am

onthebandwagon wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:20 am
Personally, I think Cluster (for example), were doing fine if not better without Eno...but maybe Albini could of cleaned up their sound.
This is a very roundabout way of saying they had Connie Friggin' Planck working the desk for them, isn't it? ;)

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Re: Steve Albini

Post by onthebandwagon » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:58 am

syncretism wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:53 am
onthebandwagon wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:20 am
Personally, I think Cluster (for example), were doing fine if not better without Eno...but maybe Albini could of cleaned up their sound.
This is a very roundabout way of saying they had Connie Friggin' Planck working the desk for them, isn't it? ;)
Perhaps, maybe he was channeling toddler Albini.
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Re: Steve Albini

Post by sallowworm » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:35 am

Love him or hate him, he could always see through the bullshit and his criticism of Lyle Preslar and other A&R industry pigs who preyed on and promised unsigned bands the world is spot on. His work ethic is also interesting, particularly that story where he sat at the console browsing gear mags and doing sudoku in order to not interfere with the overall sound of the band he was working with. Also loved that comment he made with regards to a rare and expensive microphone he owns, you need to be a 'blues lawyer' in order to buy another one of these :hihi:

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