Technology has so blurred the lines between the bedroom songwriter and “major label artist” that the only difference today is a matter of distribution, not sound. With digital and computer-based recording becoming more and more affordable, while at the same time getting both easier to use as well as better sounding, it’s now possible to create studio quality work in a home environment. In fact, it takes more effort to sound “lo-fi” today than ever before. Advanced editing tools such as ProTools, and dropping prices on microphones and outboard gear put the home recorder very nearly into the big leagues; making an album that recalls the glory days of Guided By Voices and other kings of the 4 track cassette age probably would take more work than anyone has the stomach for. Thanks to the Internet and places such as http://www.homerecording.com, as well as publications including Tape Op, the pool of knowledge available is staggering, and practically any sound you’ve ever liked is down loadable or on a chip somewhere. All that’s left is the actual writing of interesting material.
Ah, therein lies the rub. Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t always mean you should. Reviewers have been known to visibly flinch when confronted with a “home brew” work to listen to, dreading the sophomoric lyrics, 5th generation Steve Vai wannabe guitar solos and dinky sounding loops. But thankfully, this 3 disc set is largely free of such annoyances. Sure, there are a few earnest-sounding Elliot Smith clones and some bad prog-rock, stuck in the ’80s metal lite, but it’s few and far between. For example, “Sunday Part 16” from Emeric is a wonderful collection of sounds that never obscures the heart of the song, while “Opposites Distract” from Brad is an edgy, loopy gem. There’s some great stuff here, personal and involving in a way that seems light years away from the dross that “the industry” attempts to foist on us. Granted, none of these folks will ever tongue Madonna on TV, but hey, trust me, it’s a small loss. Give these basement Brian Wilsons a chance — or better yet, buy a mic, a machine and do it yourself!
Home Recording: http://www.homerecording.com/