Dec 13, 2012
You’ve probably heard of Mixerman.
If not, now is the time to find out !
I first came across him way back in the early days of the Mastering Engineer’s Webboard(*) where he sparked a minor controversy by refusing to give his real name and credentials – in fact I remember things got pretty heated when he got into an argument about whether it was possible to get “big” sounding mixes using a DAW called Alsihad. (Never heard of Alsihad ? You need to find out about Mixerman – read on !)
(*) I was about to type ‘RIP’ because last time I checked the Webboard was offline, but it seems that it’s back ! That’s great news, there’s masses of information there, check it out.
This was typical Mixerman behaviour (back then only a very few people knew who he really was) – he has strong opinions about almost everything, which he’s entirely un-shy about sharing – and defending. For example, just check out the comments on my old post LCR Mixing Sucks.
But whether you agree or disagree with his opinions, there’s one thing that’s not even slightly in question – listening to him make those opinions known is always interesting, probably educational and always insanely entertaining.
“The Daily Adventures Of Mixerman” is a classic example. Originally a series of online diary posts, it’s where Mixerman first really made his mark and is still perhaps the purest version of his vision of recording, producing and mixing. From the website:
“Mixerman is a recording engineer working with a famous producer on the debut album of an unknown band with a giant recording budget. Mixerman is supposed to be writing about recording techniques, but somehow, through that prism, he has hit upon a gripping story.
Like all great narratives, Mixerman’s diary has many anti-heroes for whom we, the reader, can have nothing but contempt. The band consists of the four most dislikable human beings you can imagine. The singer is vain and pretentious. The guitarist is a serious depressive. The drummer is as “dumb as cotton,” and the bassist is merely mean and petty, making him the only one that Mixerman can stand. All four of them hate each other’s guts, and they haven’t even been on tour yet.
Listening or reading to the diaries, you just know that the vast majority of the stories have to be true – and you can’t help wondering who the producer (and band) really were. Maybe it’s more likely to be an amalgam of many different acts and artists, who knows – it doesn’t matter. Anyone who’s been in a studio for a few days will recognise how true it all is. It’s superb.
And well as being laugh-out-loud funny, I’d go so far as to say it’s pretty much essential reading for anyone who is interested in recording, mixing and producing music.
Except… I haven’t read it.
I mean, I’ve read bits of it, and extracts, and quotes – but not the whole thing. Simply because I haven’t had time. So how can I say what I just did with any shred of credibility ?
Because TDAOM was just released as a dramatised audiobook, and I’m already up to Chapter 10 – since yesterday. And it’s confirming everything I just said. I’ve heard enough to know it can only get better.
Audiobooks can be a bit hit and miss, but this one is excellent, and the fact that it’s been “dramatised” only adds to the fun. You don’t know what a “dramatised” audiobook is ? Listen to the “trailer” above. It gives a pretty good idea of what’s in store – although it probably doesn’t convey quite how bad Mixerman’s language is !
I’m not going to write any more – there’s so much detail, depth and intrigue to the Mixerman saga I can’t possibly do it justice here. This audiobook is great – some people suck at reading their own material, but Mixerman delivers it with style. The “dramatised” element is effective and doesn’t overwhelm the text, the audio-nerd celebrity cameos are surprisingly effective, the quality is great and the attention to detail is insane – just listen out for the sections where Mixerman describes what EQ and compression are, for example. It reminds me a little of this – and that’s high praise indeed.
Oh, and I nearly forgot – it’s largely an LCR mix. But it works, and it sounds great
Update – Six days later
It’s over ! It’s finished, and I am bereft. And it was even better than I thought when I wrote this ahead-of-itself review.
There are so many things to enjoy here, so many characters, so many twists, so much rock-solid recording and mixing advice (and even a little on-the-money commentary on the Loudness Wars), so many details… the different musical “motifs” of the characters are a particular pleasure.
The pacing is excellent, too – in these post-MTV days of Twitter and YouTube it could easily have gone completely over the top and become an exhausting ordeal of a listen as a result – but Mixerman’s wry, measured delivery plus sensitive editing and production effortlessly sidestep this pitfall. The award for Best Delivery Of The Word Motherfucker is won several times over, and Ken Scott playing producer Willy Show is pure genius…
It even has a point, and a message, in the end !
I’m gushing now, so I’ll stop – this is highly recommended – buy it, listen to it it, tell your friends.
So now what do I do ?
Easy – listen to it all over again
PS. I also highly recommend Mixerman’s “Zen and the Art of Mixing” – and I’ll probably recommend “Zen and the Art of Producing“, too – when I’ve read (or listened to) it, that is !
And no, I’m not making a commission from this post…
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