LCR Mixing

I, like many home recordists, track a pile of music and audio recording sites, blogs, podcasts, etc. And now, having done this for a few years, I am starting to notice that there are some subjects that keep coming up in peoples questions of the experts. Recently, on The Home Recording Show, somebody asked about LCR mixing. Now for those that don't know, LCR mixing is a technique where the mixer will pan things either hard Left, Center, or hard Right. No half measures here! Now my personal opinion is that anything applied that dogmatically is retarded. But people keep asking if that's what they should be doing.

To me, to LCR or not to LCR is not the question.

 To whit, here are a couple of tracks that have (by today's standards) weird panning:

Now, the intro seems relatively normal.  But then the left side just kind of drops out, rhythm section on the right, then Nancy starts singing (in the centre).  Eventually, the horns come back in the left.

Clearly, some extreme LCR but some interesting choices about where each element is placed in the stereo field (as though you're sitting somewhere in the middle of the band, rather than in the audience facing the band).

Here's another:

Here you have rhythm section occupying the left.  Guitar solo on the right.  But some twists.  The reverb and delay returns are sent to the opposite channel (at the two minute mark, it's pretty obvious).
As the track progresses, there are other games played but this was the first time I heard a dry signal in one speaker and a full wet signal in the other.

To sum up, your pan knobs are creative tools.  Use them.


Did I do that?

Today, @TaraBusch tweeted a link to video of Jefferson Airplane performing White Rabbit at Woodstock. In the typical meandering that seems to be an essential part of the YouTube experience, I soon ended up on the video below.

At 1:30 she talks about her varying reactions to her own work. The surprised, "did I do that?" And, of course, the inevitable judgment.

I have that reaction all the time. I certainly don't think it's a unique feeling but I have to admit that I am surprised that a lifelong career artist would still feel that way about her own work.

Which I guess is really cool. That the joy and surprise of creating doesn't have to dim with age.


Odd Path

When I was younger, I used to get a little frustrated that those older than me weren't up on new music. Even if they were a musician or claimed to be very into music. Now I am that older person and while I track much I accept that I cannot track it all. Even if I'm a "big fan" of a particular artist. Case in point.

I love the music of Jose Gonzalez. You may know him from his solo work, you may know him from his appearance on Zero 7's "The Garden" or you may remember this:
I have been listening to his two solo albums for a bunch of years and I almost drove three hours to a show of his but was stopped by a snowstorm. But I hadn't heard anything lately until...

One Saturday morning before anybody else was up, I was flaked on the couch catching up on an episode of Elementary. At the end of the episode, a song is playing and it doesn't quite get through until the fade to black and the credits roll. Huh, I know that voice. Rewind. Shit, yeah, that's Jose. So now I Google Jose along with some of the lyrics that I can interpret and I'm led to discover that he's got a new act called Junip. And this song has been on soundcloud. And reviewed by Pitchfork. All of which didn't get through until I stumbled on it at the back end of a TV show.

There's probably no big message here. Except perhaps, that the ways in which new music is discovered are myriad, changing and highly personal. How does it work for you?

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't share my "discovery".