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Do musicians ever wonder why they have two ears?
As a record producer and A&R man on the French music scene, I always
why artists hardly ever think about why they have two ears. Obviously, it has a lot to do with
successful communication, but communicating what? Close your
eyes and listen. Now, try that in the jungle at night and you'll come closer to the answer.
Your brain only knows
where a sound comes from because you have
two ears. One is enough to recognize sound, but only two can evaluate distance
location. Your very basic instinct, as a living entity, tells you
only have one priority: reproduction of the species.
To do that you have to stay alive! Thus, your two ears are an important part of your survival
While you don't live in the jungle any more, (rather the concrete jungle), your
surroundings can still shorten your life.
What has at
this got to do with music? Because of this basic instinct
to survive, all
beings fear the unknown. Suppose
is too much sonic and musical information for your brain to deal with
given time in a musical piece. What would your natural reflex reaction be? Your brain
urge you to flee, to get away from there, because it is programmed by nature
you safe from danger. A "confused environment" might be
So the very first question I ask myself as an arranger or producer
is, is the musical message confused?
or is it clear and understandable?
A follow-up question might be, is there enough excitement
music to keep the listener on guard?
You have to keep things relatively
and simple so that listeners don't get scared away, while at the same time keeping
the song interesting and edgy
enough to keep the listener's senses sharp so they
get bored. This is true regardless of the musical style.
Listen to your favorite records with this in mind and note
much detail there really is in each of the songs. More than likely, your favorite
songs contain minute changes,
placing sounds in
and moving them around a bit to keep your brain excited.
how much is done to keep the audible message clear and not confused. This, to me, is a
major aspect of a producer's
When some A&R person says
your music is too complicated,
remember that, as Miles Davis used to say (quoting Stravinsky), "Less
is More." Ignoring those basics will
make your music difficult to
credits on 150 indie records marketed and selling well and 20
behind a mixing board.
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