二十年

redhousepainter
2009-08-16 看过
年初和朋友闲聊胡扯的一些话:

(一)

清明前某一天,疙瘩发了条短信过来:今天是海子逝世二十年,南大中文院竟然一点动静都没有,诗歌的时代逝去了,悲哀!我刚刚吟了一首海子写给李贺的《金铜仙人歌》,也算纪念吧。

偶看了这条短信,苦笑不得。诗歌的时代有无逝去?偶不清楚,但偶清楚现在连小学生都会念几句【面朝大海,春暖花开】。海子之深入民心,可见一斑。再过二十年,偶相信还会有小孩子,年轻人念叨【面朝大海,春暖花开】。但二十年后还有没有音乐?还有没有人听音乐?偶感觉有点悬。偶给疙瘩回了短信:音乐比诗歌更惨,偶还没有叫了,你叫个啥?you,还想怎么样?

这些年,音乐基本上成为了咱们的公共痰盂,和中国足球结成了双胞胎。所谓“迷”,便是咱觉得所迷恋的东西——牛逼!咱对所迷恋的东西有一种——盼头。比方说球迷,足球在他心中很牛逼。那什么叫盼头了?比方说新春之际,球迷会预先想想今年有哪些想看的比赛,是欧洲杯,冠军杯,联赛德比还是世界杯。再比方说影迷,虽然在他们眼中艺术电影也死翘翘,但每年好莱坞的几部大片依旧提供了和亲朋好友一起娱乐的机会。那咱们乐迷了?那是既不觉得音乐牛逼,更对音乐没有盼头。上帝问:红红,2009年你想听到哪些唱片?偶那心中真是地上白了,树上白了,房子上也白了,天地间白茫茫的一片。

但仔细想想,2009年,偶还真有点期待一张唱片,一张专辑的周年纪念版。偶不知道唱片公司会不会出版。如果不出,偶继续出来打酱油,无欲无求。如果出,丢下酱油瓶,张望一下。

什么唱片?今年是the stone roses第一张专辑整整二十周年。1999年,十周年的纪念版是外送一张remix碟。今年若出二十周年纪念版会玩出什么花样?偶不知道。该出的单曲,小样已轮番出过几次。前些年的一张dvd也包含了5.1声道的musci video,早年的live现场,电视现场,录音室花絮。去年年底,曾经传出the stone roses重组开巡回演唱会的消息,但最后也不了了之。

23走之前,偶和死火,23三人一起看the stone roses的dvd,看到口沫横飞。重听【fool’s gold】,惊叹于鼓手reni,一个英国白人,一个当年也不过二十岁出头的英国白人,居然可以把drum打得这么松,这么松弛,这么funky,真是天赐的素质。23语:随便采【fool’s good】里面的任何一段drum break,都是groove的上品。偶有半句话咽在心头,没吐出来:【fool’s gold】是把玩guitar,bass,drum三种乐器的至高境界。Reni的drum break,John squire的wah wah吉他,mani的bass line,三种乐器不是融合,而是画出一个完整的圆,无缝,循环,毫无破绽。音乐玩成这样,便是无价之宝。咱还当着23和死火面痛骂四个老弟兄:你们这四个傻逼,干嘛第一张专辑塞满十三首歌?搞这么奢侈干什么?你们就不会把歌分一分,分成四张专辑,花上十五年啊慢慢出版,那现在二流三流乐团还能混饭吃啊?!

Ian brown和 John squire的双人访谈和89年录音室内的八卦让咱们三人笑得喷饭,很星爷很无厘头。也只有如此烦不了如此吊的家伙才能玩出如此遗忘时间的音乐。有句话,偶藏在心头好些年了,怕得罪人,今天不妨一说(得罪就得罪吧):拿the stonne roses与其余英国摇滚乐团一比较,好比灵缇之于犬类。【I Wanna Be Adored】的前奏对我而言依旧是一个解不开的迷,我到今天还是只能用八个字形容:风雨欲来,气象万千。单曲加长版【Elephant Stone】的前奏依旧是另一个解不开的迷,十多年听了无数遍,每次听都能感觉到自己的“眼帘”(小学作文时经常写到“映入眼帘”,可真能感觉到“眼帘” 吗?),“眼帘”之上闪着露水和荧光。reni左右来回的嚓片音效,john squire灵光四溢的吉他弹奏,ian brown的第一句【burst in to heaven】之爽之肆意,无敌啊!结尾的drum break混上exploding音效亦是神来之笔。

去年在《q》21周年特刊上读到ian brown的采访,记者问:如今你还觉得the stone roses比u2牛逼吗?ian依旧花果山孙悟空的腔调:废话!老子团里面有比bono更牛逼的主唱,有比edge更牛逼的吉他手,老子团不比u2牛逼啊!偶是the stone roses的铁粉,亦是u2的铁粉,想想还真找不出反驳ian brown的理由。因为面对1989年的同名专辑,没有一个团一个音乐人敢拍胸脯肯定自己的果实比它牛逼。这是一张无法用“水准高低”衡量的专辑,你会用奥运会跳高记录去衡量天空中的飞鸟吗?

顺便聊the stone roses的两个八卦:

《the stone rose》的制作人——john leckie,亦是流行音乐历史上的王牌制作人。《the stone rose》之后,他在90年代制作过哪些专辑了?说出三个就赫死人:the verve的《a storm in heaven》,radiohead的《the bends》,kula shaker的《k》 。

有一对曼城年轻人担任了the stone roses早期演出的摄像工作,结果演出进行到一半,摄像机坏了,这对年轻人就出去打酱油了。过了几年,这两人组了一支舞曲团体,名字叫——the future sound of london。

最后,偶想说:

连操刀摄像的工作人员都这么有出息,the stone roses能不牛逼吗?^_^


(二)

去年读到john leckie于95年前后的一份手记,当时他正在担任《the bends》的制作人,日夜和radiohead厮混在一起。这份手记让偶看的动容,身为制作人的自信,自尊和对音乐的谦卑尽露其中。这份自信,自尊和谦卑在今日看来有点“不合时宜”,在阿猫阿狗拿卧室录音当品质保证,当独立噱头的今日。

他说:身为制作人,音响工程师,可以使用上千上万元的话筒调音台等各种设备,我们应意识到这是一份特权,何等幸运。

早年the beatles录音时,四人不准进调音控制室,甚至连器材也碰不得。如今很多乐团自家内拥有不少录音器材,他们不会再吃惊于专业录音室的功能,企图一人分饰多个角色。在接收杂志采访时,他们把自己塑造成词曲创作者,歌手,哲学家,录影家。唱片公司当然想让旗下乐团多能多才,但这实在勉为其难。我想最起码在录音室,他们应该朝后靠,让制作人和音响工程师把关录音全过程。

在手记最后,john leckie也透露了点《the bends》的录制情况。当新作在录音室内磨砺为半成品后,他便带着radiohead四处巡演,观察现场观众的反应,是哪段演奏让大家hi?记住这些魔力时刻,再回录音室修改,直至落地为成品。


那天和23,死火看the stone roses的dvd,三人就感叹:音乐,这么难的东西,光是鼓的录音就是一门大学问。为什么如今会被宣扬成很轻松很简单?只要你【独立】你【自己写歌自己唱】【不受唱片公司控制】音乐就牛逼了?这是什么吊逻辑?少谈点【原创精神】,多谈点品质好不好?就拿鼓的录音来说,在偶看来就已经是不可思议了。不是说你鼓手牛逼,你鼓手技术好,你就搞定了。这里面的别别敲敲,学问大着了。什么型号的麦克风对snare drum?什么型号的麦克风对bass drum?什么型号的麦克风对hi-hats?又是什么型号的麦克风做整体收音?这些麦克风各自的距离怎么调?角度怎么调?这一切都影响到鼓最后的质感。别觉得音乐是感性,是灵感喷发。不敢说所有好音乐,最起码大半好音乐是由高度理性达到的感性。用朱天文的话来说:不是老师傅,哪能吃得透啊!

相比电影杂志,书籍和dvd花絮对电影幕前幕后的深入介绍。音乐产业搞了几十年,连音乐常识都没有普及开,尽是炒作名词和音乐人简历介绍(搞得音乐人好像是在找工作)。一个人会唱歌已经很牛逼了,还要会作曲?作你妈逼曲!音乐世界里有全才?全你妈逼才!


(三)

John Leckie于1995年的手记:

Every time a producer or engineer goes into a studio with a band they have an opportunity that very few other people get -- they can literally make magic. And I think people who work in recording studios should remember that we are all extraordinarily lucky -- we certainly shouldn't be taking it for granted.

Producers and engineers have so much technology at their fingertips that it is sometimes easy to become blasé. Every day we walk into rooms equipped with incredible state-of-the-art technology. We might have an SSL console, a tape machine that's worth at least £20,000 and microphones worth £5,000, and we sling them about as though they were worthless. Then we create sounds which we bung through a black box that costs £10,000 and we think nothing of it. But all these pieces of equipment are like magicians' tools -- and we should remember how privileged we are to be able to use them.

When I first started working in this business, I was awe-struck by the big loudspeakers and the big sounds coming through them. I thought it was fantastic that it was possible to do so much, and as technology moves on and we can do more and more with sound, that sense of amazement has never left me. I love what I do and that's why I get so annoyed with people who have a lethargic attitude to recording. People who work in studios should realise that every moment counts and that all the time spent in the studio should be cherished and made use of.

Of course, not everyone deserves to be criticised. A lot of people feel just the same as me -- they know how lucky they are to work in this business and they do make the most of all the opportunities. But there are some who have forgotten that it is a privilege. To them, I would say that there is no other job that allows you to make magic and create illusion to this extent. Maybe one could draw a parallel with film and TV, but it's not as intimate as recording. When you're in a studio, you're dealing with emotions, because you're recording the emotions of the performer and exposing them to the listener. If you have the right attitude you get a far better performance from the band. We should all remember that recording is a creative process and by working in a studio equipped with the best that technology can offer we have the opportunity to create something very special.

Most bands these days have some home recording equipment, so perhaps that's why they don't feel so astonished by what can be done in a professional studio. This means that they are a lot more knowledgeable, but this can also be a problem, because they're expected to perform so many different roles.

When the Beatles recorded their early albums, they were not even allowed in the control room -- and they certainly were not allowed to touch the equipment. These days a lot of bands know almost as much as the producer, and in some cases you can virtually let them do the whole thing. But I don't see why we should expect all bands to have the ability to produce as well -- they have enough to do as it is; they have to be the song writers, the singers, the musicians, the video artists, the marketing guys and even the philosophers, when it comes to interviews and projecting their image. I think that in the studio, at least, they ought to be able to sit back and let the producer and engineer look after the recording. I personally don't see anything wrong with an artist who only sings -- but record companies expect a lot from their signings, and that does make it harder for them.

It would certainly do no harm for people to remember that recording ought to be enjoyable. If you are working on a long project it can get tiring and frustrating, but you also have an opportunity to build up an intimate relationship and have some fun in the process. If you can do that, you end up with a much better result. There are times when I've looked back on a long project and realised that, for whatever reason, we missed out on opportunities because we couldn't keep a long-term perspective.

Another point that's worth remembering is how important it is for bands to play live. I've just finished working with Radiohead -- a band that does know the importance of live work -- and it was amazing how much difference it made to the recording session. We started recording in March, then they took a break and went on tour and played the songs we had already recorded in front of an audience. When we got back into the studio we ended up re-recording them and found that songs that had taken three or four days to get down were now taking a matter of hours. We were literally doing three or four songs in an afternoon because they could play them so well and because they knew where the magic came from. When they were in the studio they could remember how the audience responded when they played live and were able to capture that feeling on tape.

Technology has theoretically speeded up the recording process, but it has also made it possible to spend weeks looking for the exact sound you want. I don't mind that, provided the session remains fun rather than frustrating -- in fact I'd like to have a go at a project that was heavily programmed, because most of the work I do tends to be with 'live' bands.

I've been doing this job for years, but whenever I go into a studio I still feel that I am enormously lucky to be able to do what I enjoy, with so much freedom to do what I want. And if you want to produce good music, enjoyment is the key.


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