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 Execrable Egregious Eighties Examples
Author: MrFab 
Date:   10-26-17 11:28

What's the most egregious (a great word we should all use more often) example of that dreaded '80s production sound?

I think Roxy Music's execrable (a word I learned from TP reviews - thanks, Ira!) album "Avalon" may have invented that sound. I know Delvin claims its charms as a make-out album give it a useful purpose, but all i can hear is how far a once-genius band had fallen. The one song I really like on it 'To Turn You On" was fortunately covered in a stripped-down arrangement by Robyn Hitchcock, and thank Godzilla for that, cuz I find the original recording well-nigh unlistenable.

On the other hand, Phil Collins' boomin' beats on Peter Gabriel's "the Intruder", often credited with inventing that big '80s drum sound, works great in the context of the Gabriel song.

Unforgiveable Execrable Egregious Eighties culprit: the Yamaha DX7, particularly the 'electric piano' preset. Every crappy Lionel Ritchie ballad or whatever trotted out that damned sound. It may be impossible to make good music with it.



Post Edited (10-26-17 13:19)

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 Re: Execrable Egregious Eighties Examples
Author: steevee 
Date:   10-26-17 14:43

Destroyer's excellent new album KEN takes that '80s production sound, especially the icy digital synthesizers, and makes it feel like the perfect aural counterpart for our dystopian times. Actual synth-pop bands of the '80s usually had some hidden warmth; KEN has none.

I think BORN IN THE U.S.A. is a perfect example of how the synthesizer and drum sounds fashionable in that period ruined excellent songwriting. (Springsteen would get a much better handle on how to work with them on TUNNEL OF LOVE.)

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 Re: Execrable Egregious Eighties Examples
Author: Paganizer 
Date:   10-26-17 18:38

Avalon is great (even the worst, Manifesto, is not execrable), but Rhett Davies isn't usually lumped-in with that '80s sound. There are several components of that sound, but to oversimplify, it's the gated reverb. It was started by the Thin White Duke himself. Breaking Glass/Visconti > Phil Collins* > Hugh Padgham > Steve Lillywhite > Mutt Lange & Tony Platt.

It's all over the top 40 albums this year. Sought, not dreaded. It's long been a punch-in on laptop studios.

http://en.wikiaudio.org/Gated_reverb

*For the 1980 Peter Gabriel album, after famously pestering Eno & Visconti

edit::
The Yamaha DX7 wasn't that unique, in the studio setting. The Roland and others were just as widespread. The compressors and noise gates are more important to getting that sound. I would note the release of the Eventide (compressor/shifter/noise gate & feedback looper all-in-one toy).

Got the new Destroyer but currently working through a big pile - Alex Lahey, Beck, Broken Social (lots to chew), The Deers (tick and hoof), Downtown Boys, Hiss Golden, Liam, Barnett & Vile, M Goats, G Bear, Sparks, Ted Leo, Church, Fall-uh, Raveonettes, Mats Live, War on Drugs, Smiths Queen Deluxe, Twin River, Wand, Wolf Parade. Whew! It's that kind of autumn.

Springsteen - OTOH, it remains his most accessible and it was the one that put him over the top.

Thousands of '80s releases fit the bill...

edit::
went back and underlined potential band name
band sounds like > Clap Your Hands Say Yeah



Post Edited (10-29-17 06:02)

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 Re: Execrable Egregious Eighties Examples
Author: HollowbodyKay 
Date:   10-26-17 18:45

Quote:

What's the most egregious ... example of that dreaded '80s production sound?


Some of the usual suspects:

Howard Jones.
The Fixx.
INXS.
Etc.

. . .

And that last one's not a band. At least not that I'm aware of.

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 Re: Execrable Egregious Eighties Examples
Author: Aitch 
Date:   10-26-17 21:48

I've got this Beggars Banquet compilation and it's very very shiny, especially Flesh for Lulu.

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 Re: Execrable Egregious Eighties Examples
Author: Delvin 
Date:   10-27-17 00:49

Whatever your views on Avalon, I don't hear its virtues or faults as having much to do with the decade of its provenance. To my ears, everything about the Eighties pop sound that qualifies as "execrable" really took shape in the middle of the decade. (The cream always rises to the top, but of course, so does the scum.) The song that seems to encrapsulate it for me is Animotion's single "Obsession." Those big freezing-cold synthesizer hooks, as if Dr. Frankenstein had somehow turned Ultravox into a monster; the synthetic beat, the voices that are neither humanly passionate nor truly robotic ...



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 Re: Execrable Egregious Eighties Examples
Author: Post-Punk Monk 
Date:   10-28-17 09:36

I agree with Delvin. It's the dreaded mid-80s where seemingly everyone went off the rails. Bowie, as usual, was two years ahead of the pack with "Let's Dance."

McFab - Yes Gated drums were the quintessential 80s audio sin. And the Yamaha DX7 is absolutely my pick for most soulless keyboard ever! And I maintain that no song ever that used its soporific "Fender Rhodes electric piano" preset ever achieved listenability, much less greatness! It's the worst keyboard sound ever.

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

https://postpunkmonk.com
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®

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 Re: Execrable Egregious Eighties Examples
Author: nosepail 
Date:   10-28-17 09:57

I think BORN IN THE U.S.A. and Avalon (especially the former) are genius brilliant records. I may not be made for this thread...

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 Re: Execrable Egregious Eighties Examples
Author: Post-Punk Monk 
Date:   10-28-17 10:57

nosepail - I Like "Avalon" a lot. It's not my go-to Roxy music, but I do ascribe a certain classic status to it. When I do play it it's always mournful and it espouses a certain bloodless and poised Romanticism that has some undeniable appeal to me. I find it a work of great anguish.

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

https://postpunkmonk.com
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®

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 Re: Execrable Egregious Eighties Examples
Author: MrFab 
Date:   10-28-17 11:32

Maybe there's some other good songs in "Avalon" that I would like if early '70s Roxy recorded them, but when I've tried to listen to that album I just can't get past that proto-80s production.

Roxy wasnt well known in the US (outside of maybe "Love is the Drug") til "Avalon" so saying you liked Roxy Music was akin to liking Julio Iglesias or Anne Murray or sumthin.
I have a friend who thought he hated RM til he heard "In Every Dreamhome a Heartache." 'Twas an ear-opening experience for him. I did try to hip one of my Roxy-hating friends by putting "Remake Remodel" on a mix tape. Don't know if he was convinced.

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 Re: Execrable Egregious Eighties Examples
Author: Paganizer 
Date:   10-29-17 05:50

It's the logical progression from Flesh + Blood. I love the simple guitar line in Take a Chance with Me; Yanick in the title track; the headphone spaciness of True to Life; the typical Ferry cool irony of Main Thing. I can even sit through the opening track though it was the theme song of my first wedding. It plays as a trilogy with Boys & Girls and Bête Noire, all of which have the same production notes (even though the last wasn't Davies), and none of which have ever struck me as bad production or quintessentially '80s production.

Also not to be missed (as most of you know):
More than This - the single a-side mix with different Manzanera lines
Always Unknowing - the b-side
Avalon - the single a-side mix with different bridge
Take a Chance with Me - UK single a-side, different take/mix
Main Thing pt.2 - Chance's B-side had this remix
To Turn You On [single mix] - the original mix is the b-side to Jealous Guy

Mr Fab - the songs I used were Whirlwind and Amazona.



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 Re: Execrable Egregious Eighties Examples
Author: Delvin 
Date:   10-29-17 12:29

Is the production on Avalon slick and polished? Oh yeah, it's about as frictionless as they come. And many fans who love Roxy's vintage '70s art-rock sound will have a hard time with the more pop-friendly latter-day Roxy -- just as many of those who fell in love with Avalon (and perhaps Ferry's post-Roxy solo work) will find it difficult to appreciate the '70s albums.

I discovered Roxy through the first Greatest Hits LP, and worked my way back from there and my way forward from there more or less simultaneously. "Flesh and Blood" was getting significant airplay on the local rock station, believe it or not, so I went for that album at the same time I went for Siren and Country Life.

As far as I'm concerned, it all works, and it's all timeless -- just in different ways. If I associate Avalon with the '80s at all, chalk it up to the fact that on my first date with my future wife, "More Than This" started playing in the bar where we were having a drink, and we both perked up to the sound in the same way, at the same moment.



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