So much to say... I'll just start a mind-dump now with my personal experiences:
Kevin Sawyer, in his RARB Review wrote:Producer Bill Hare deserves special credit for bringing such an ambitious project to life. Where his past projects have suffered from a measure of conformity (albeit to a standard partly of his own making), Hare's work is notable here as much for what it doesn't do. He is unafraid of silences. Of grunts and whirls and visceral music-making.
I've gotta say, while working on tracks like Sound of Silence
that I was scratching my head a bit, thinking things like "what the heck does Charlie want me to do with this??" While I'm happy to take credit for a lot of things I have done, I also give it where it is due, and I followed Charlie's brilliant lead on a lot of that. Not that he always knew where he was going himself, but I did find if I let him stew on things long enough (much to the worry of the people in charge of Harmonics' accounting) that he'd eventually be able to communicate to me these insane visions deep inside his mind.
I don't know about the "conformity" comment, though - not sure if Kevin has heard enough of my work to say that - I don't think if he listened to Bella Sorella, The Swingle Singers, Voces 8, Talisman, Cluster, The Ghost Files, Soul Influence, The House Jacks, Beelzebubs, Apes & Babes, +4dB, Maybe6ix, Divisi, Chordials, etc that he'd be able to find a specific "Bill Hare Sound" common to all of them, but I do admit that there are probably a handful of collegiate
albums I do each year that sound alike, more based on budget and available "tricks" I might have to fix problems in a short time.
But back to Escape Velocity
On other tracks, I took a more active role, such as the opener Battle Without Honor or Humanity
Tom Czerwinski, in his RARB Review wrote:Yet throughout I couldn't help but notice the mediocre singing. Tuning is spot on, but clearly helped out by studio wizardry....When backing parts do come out, the poor vocal technique is clear: spread vowels, lack of support, swoopy, nasal, breathy in the men, mousy and overly trebled in the women.
This can be said about many of the great "singers" throughout history. What kind of vocal "technique" did Astrud Gilberto use? Or Joe Cocker? Two of my favorite vocalists. It's about the character - the attitude - what moves you. Let's talk about untuned, not-a-whole-lot-of-wizardry, anti-technique... which I actually love!
I would send several of them into the booth, some probably not-so-sober, and say "sing something like this - ya ya yaya ya ay ya" but not giving them a lot of syllabic or note direction.
"Which notes?" they might ask.
"I don't really care" I would respond - just rock!
And rock they did. I wouldn't (and couldn't) do this with a lot of groups, collegiate or otherwise, but I know the Harmonics aren't shy. Even if unsure, they are going to make a sound, make it loud, and not apologize for it. And since they are all singing together, there's nothing I could do to "fix" the tuning even if I wanted to (and I don't want to).
Blend? Who gives a damn? I sure don't in some circumstances. Applying choral values to this music makes no sense to me. If guitars and horns can be deliciously out of tune and timbre on some of my favorite records of all time (ever notice the trombone sticking out on all those great Chicago records? Go Jimmy Pankow is all I have to say to that!)... well, you know where I am going with this...
Speaking of going, I just got back into town, catching up on emails, and probably should unpack the suitcase. More later.