New album: "Out Of Silence"... Is he bringing us along for the ride?

Has everyone seen Neil's latest tweet over on Twitter?

Apparently, he wants to bring us along for the ride as he lays down the tracks on his new album. 

Webcasts every Friday in August (His words). 5PM Australian Eastern Time. (GMT +10:00) August 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th & Sept 1st.

________________________________________________________________________________________

 

And so, that's how it goes. Never the first, always the last to know! Last To Know-Neil Finn "

 

*There's a lot of good acts around. Plenty of profound performers, but there's only one, who really gets through to me*

Original Post
silent stream posted:

but, um, do we take from this that he has NOT recorded anything yet as we had all been led to believe ?

Or has he thrown out what he had for this live idea?

I don't think Neil or anyone else has specifically said he's been recording his solo album, I think it's just been said that he's "working on it" and our minds naturally went to recording.

He's also been "working on" an album together with Liam - if any recording has been mentioned it's probably in connection with that album.

I seem to recall that Mick Fleetwood's visit a while back involved some recordings. So I too was under the impression that there were recordings in progress.

Whether or not they end up being for a Neil & Liam collaboration, a musical with Tim, some kind of reworking of old CH songs, or another 7 Worlds Collide-type project, we'll just have to wait a little longer...

This is very good news.  Should be fascinating to follow along as the songs "take shape."  Neil Finn said today that this is likely to be his most complex project to date.  And the brilliant Victoria Kelly is helping write the arrangements which may be the best news as Victoria and Neil work so well together. Can't wait!

First, thrilled to be a getting a new NF album.

To dig a little deeper here, I have to admit to having slightly mixed feelings about the process. I mean, judging from his live improvisational songs over the years, alone, if anyone could pull off something more spontaneous, it's Neil Finn. On the other hand, judging from the development of some of my favorite CH/NF songs from demo through final recording, sometimes taking a step back and rethinking a song with a good, objective producer's input creates magic. 

I guess he's splitting the difference here by doing the song composition first (as well as including older, already established songs) and just playing with more spontaneous arrangement ideas in the studio. Plus, I suppose the same kind of rethinking and evolution that happened to "Now We're Getting Somewhere" and "Fall At Your Feet" could happen during the arranging process. Either way, he'll certainly be getting a lot of feedback on the progress, so he'll have an idea what everybody (including the fans) thinks, which he can take into account, in terms of the songs and what to include or not on the final album, if he chooses to. 

I'm very interested in seeing the process and hearing the final results, but some little voice inside is just worried that setting the mixing, mastering and release all on the same date - where just allowing the public to watch the entire process up to that point would have generated enough interest and spontaneity, alone -  may not be a particularly useful risk he NEEDS to take artistically. I'm not sure, exactly, what the point is of rushing the final steps and trying to compact them into one day. He could have attempted it in one day and released it that way if he was thrilled with the results, but leaving himself no escape clause means if he's not 100% happy, artistically, with the results, he's knowingly releasing an album with which he COULD have been completely satisfied had he allowed for a little reflection. 

Ultimately, I have faith in Neil to know what he's doing and to know what he needs to keep himself as actively engaged in the process of creating music as possible at this point in his career. Maybe it's simply a mental bias on my part that I'd prefer to hear a new album without having to consider the context in which it was made as part of the artistic statement (for instance, it's almost impossible to divorce Nick Cave's new album from the context of the tragic loss of his son, which, for me, at least, colors the final results in some way). If one publicly puts unnecessary, purposeful restrictions and limitations on oneself in creating a piece of art, can that art ever truly be viewed independently of those restrictions and limitations? Will there always be an (at the very least, subconscious) addition of "despite the restrictions" or "for an album made under those limitations" to any opinion of the results and/or the sense that somehow the restrictions were a "gimmick" or some reflexive assumption that the results may not be as good as they could have been had the artist not placed those restrictions on themselves (though we'll never know)?

koabac posted:

First, thrilled to be a getting a new NF album.

To dig a little deeper here, I have to admit to having slightly mixed feelings about the process. I mean, judging from his live improvisational songs over the years, alone, if anyone could pull off something more spontaneous, it's Neil Finn. On the other hand, judging from the development of some of my favorite CH/NF songs from demo through final recording, sometimes taking a step back and rethinking a song with a good, objective producer's input creates magic. 

I guess he's splitting the difference here by doing the song composition first (as well as including older, already established songs) and just playing with more spontaneous arrangement ideas in the studio. Plus, I suppose the same kind of rethinking and evolution that happened to "Now We're Getting Somewhere" and "Fall At Your Feet" could happen during the arranging process. Either way, he'll certainly be getting a lot of feedback on the progress, so he'll have an idea what everybody (including the fans) thinks, which he can take into account, in terms of the songs and what to include or not on the final album, if he chooses to. 

I'm very interested in seeing the process and hearing the final results, but some little voice inside is just worried that setting the mixing, mastering and release all on the same date - where just allowing the public to watch the entire process up to that point would have generated enough interest and spontaneity, alone -  may not be a particularly useful risk he NEEDS to take artistically. I'm not sure, exactly, what the point is of rushing the final steps and trying to compact them into one day. He could have attempted it in one day and released it that way if he was thrilled with the results, but leaving himself no escape clause means if he's not 100% happy, artistically, with the results, he's knowingly releasing an album with which he COULD have been completely satisfied had he allowed for a little reflection. 

Ultimately, I have faith in Neil to know what he's doing and to know what he needs to keep himself as actively engaged in the process of creating music as possible at this point in his career. Maybe it's simply a mental bias on my part that I'd prefer to hear a new album without having to consider the context in which it was made as part of the artistic statement (for instance, it's almost impossible to divorce Nick Cave's new album from the context of the tragic loss of his son, which, for me, at least, colors the final results in some way). If one publicly puts unnecessary, purposeful restrictions and limitations on oneself in creating a piece of art, can that art ever truly be viewed independently of those restrictions and limitations? Will there always be a (subconscious, at the very least) addition of "despite the restrictions" or "for an album made under those limitations" to any opinion of the results and/or the sense that somehow the restrictions were a "gimmick" or some reflexive assumption that the results may not be as good as they could have been had the artist not placed those restrictions on themselves (though we'll never know)?

I agree with your concerns about getting the best out of Neil when he allows a little editorial control to pass to someone else but I also think Neil has let himself down a few times by overthinking things. I think many felt that Intriguer ended up losing much of the spontaneity he was seeking once it got to the studio and he started second guessing himself. I suspect that his decision to do this in public (and to mix and master the album in a day while we watch) is an attempt to force himself into not being able to overthink things: he's set himself a deadline he needs to keep.

Finally, I think magic can happen this way: The Beatles famously recorded their debut album in a day (albeit with the addition of four tracks recorded previously) and most of their material was worked up in the studio on the day each songwriter presented their song to the others.

I suspect in truth, that this isn't going to be as "bottom up" as it's being made out. Rest assured the songs are written, the players rehearsed. This is about trying to catch some of that spontaneity I mentioned earlier and, by doing so in public, adds a little excitement that may otherwise be missing.

if nothing else, it shows that our man is prepared to do something new and different even at this (later) stage in the game. Whether it works or not will, as with all projects, depend on the quality of the songs rather than the way they're recorded.

Paul H posted:

I suspect that his decision to do this in public (and to mix and master the album in a day while we watch) is an attempt to force himself into not being able to overthink things: he's set himself a deadline he needs to keep.

Where are you guys getting this idea about mixing and mastering the album all in one day?

As far as I know, we only have the Spinoff article and Neil's announcement video to go on. And neither of them mention mixing or mastering. They just say the album will be recorded in one 3 hour session with songs being played no more than twice.

I tend to agree with those who are saying that Neil can sometimes overthink his songs so studio versions are often vastly inferior to the live versions. Some of the best versions of Neil's songs have been live such as 7 Worlds Collide, Sessions at West 54th, the Auckland concert from 2015, etc. I cannot wait to hear these 11 songs as they evolve and breathe over the next month.

Paul H posted:
koabac posted:

First, thrilled to be a getting a new NF album.

To dig a little deeper here, I have to admit to having slightly mixed feelings about the process. I mean, judging from his live improvisational songs over the years, alone, if anyone could pull off something more spontaneous, it's Neil Finn. On the other hand, judging from the development of some of my favorite CH/NF songs from demo through final recording, sometimes taking a step back and rethinking a song with a good, objective producer's input creates magic. 

I guess he's splitting the difference here by doing the song composition first (as well as including older, already established songs) and just playing with more spontaneous arrangement ideas in the studio. Plus, I suppose the same kind of rethinking and evolution that happened to "Now We're Getting Somewhere" and "Fall At Your Feet" could happen during the arranging process. Either way, he'll certainly be getting a lot of feedback on the progress, so he'll have an idea what everybody (including the fans) thinks, which he can take into account, in terms of the songs and what to include or not on the final album, if he chooses to. 

I'm very interested in seeing the process and hearing the final results, but some little voice inside is just worried that setting the mixing, mastering and release all on the same date - where just allowing the public to watch the entire process up to that point would have generated enough interest and spontaneity, alone -  may not be a particularly useful risk he NEEDS to take artistically. I'm not sure, exactly, what the point is of rushing the final steps and trying to compact them into one day. He could have attempted it in one day and released it that way if he was thrilled with the results, but leaving himself no escape clause means if he's not 100% happy, artistically, with the results, he's knowingly releasing an album with which he COULD have been completely satisfied had he allowed for a little reflection. 

Ultimately, I have faith in Neil to know what he's doing and to know what he needs to keep himself as actively engaged in the process of creating music as possible at this point in his career. Maybe it's simply a mental bias on my part that I'd prefer to hear a new album without having to consider the context in which it was made as part of the artistic statement (for instance, it's almost impossible to divorce Nick Cave's new album from the context of the tragic loss of his son, which, for me, at least, colors the final results in some way). If one publicly puts unnecessary, purposeful restrictions and limitations on oneself in creating a piece of art, can that art ever truly be viewed independently of those restrictions and limitations? Will there always be a (subconscious, at the very least) addition of "despite the restrictions" or "for an album made under those limitations" to any opinion of the results and/or the sense that somehow the restrictions were a "gimmick" or some reflexive assumption that the results may not be as good as they could have been had the artist not placed those restrictions on themselves (though we'll never know)?

I agree with your concerns about getting the best out of Neil when he allows a little editorial control to pass to someone else but I also think Neil has let himself down a few times by overthinking things. I think many felt that Intriguer ended up losing much of the spontaneity he was seeking once it got to the studio and he started second guessing himself. I suspect that his decision to do this in public (and to mix and master the album in a day while we watch) is an attempt to force himself into not being able to overthink things: he's set himself a deadline he needs to keep.

Finally, I think magic can happen this way: The Beatles famously recorded their debut album in a day (albeit with the addition of four tracks recorded previously) and most of their material was worked up in the studio on the day each songwriter presented their song to the others.

I suspect in truth, that this isn't going to be as "bottom up" as it's being made out. Rest assured the songs are written, the players rehearsed. This is about trying to catch some of that spontaneity I mentioned earlier and, by doing so in public, adds a little excitement that may otherwise be missing.

if nothing else, it shows that our man is prepared to do something new and different even at this (later) stage in the game. Whether it works or not will, as with all projects, depend on the quality of the songs rather than the way they're recorded.

I imagine (and hope) you're correct in that this will bring out some new energy and creative zest in Neil. He definitely seems to like to shake things up, take more chances and experiment with his solo albums (rather than with CH) - and the results are always, at least, interesting, and many times transcendent. 

slowpogo posted:
Paul H posted:

I suspect that his decision to do this in public (and to mix and master the album in a day while we watch) is an attempt to force himself into not being able to overthink things: he's set himself a deadline he needs to keep.

Where are you guys getting this idea about mixing and mastering the album all in one day?

As far as I know, we only have the Spinoff article and Neil's announcement video to go on. And neither of them mention mixing or mastering. They just say the album will be recorded in one 3 hour session with songs being played no more than twice.

I got it from this article:

 

http://www.udiscovermusic.com/...-new-album-silence-1

ah ok. Hmm, I love the rest of his plan but this mixing/mastering part kind of worries me. Even someone like Bob Clearmountain, known for his speed, might still take several hours to mix a song (I seem to recall it took him about 10 days to mix Together Alone, which was considered blisteringly fast). Neil also says this album features his most complex arrangements to date.

All of which makes it seem very reckless to mix 11 tracks in one day AND leave time enough to master.

I'm all for the spontaneity and crowd-sourcing of the album recording process. But I wish he'd allow even just TWO days to mix and master.

slowpogo posted:

ah ok. Hmm, I love the rest of his plan but this mixing/mastering part kind of worries me. Even someone like Bob Clearmountain, known for his speed, might still take several hours to mix a song (I seem to recall it took him about 10 days to mix Together Alone, which was considered blisteringly fast). Neil also says this album features his most complex arrangements to date.

All of which makes it seem very reckless to mix 11 tracks in one day AND leave time enough to master.

I'm all for the spontaneity and crowd-sourcing of the album recording process. But I wish he'd allow even just TWO days to mix and master.

Right? I agree with the comments about trying to throw some spontaneity and urgency into the recording process, but I'm not really sure I see the creative advantage of forcing yourself to mix, master and release an album in one day. If, for whatever reason, he really IS attempting to avoid the issues from which some say "Intriguer" suffered, I would think those issues originated long before the mixing and mastering stages. Then again, NF knows himself and how to make albums as well as anyone does, so he must have his reasons. 

BRANDO BRANDT posted:

I hate to be the one to burst the bubble here, but the album is being recorded on August 25 and then released the following WEEK (not day) on September 1.

Its still a tight schedule but quite different than trying to pull it off in 24 hours...

I'm not sure to which "bubble" you're referring, but the "mix, master and release in a day" idea came from here:

"Neil Finn isn’t just releasing his new album Out Of Silence on 1 September 2017, but he is also intending to mix and master it on the very same day."

Which is the first paragraph of this article:

http://www.udiscovermusic.com/...-new-album-silence-1

Maybe I'm somehow misunderstanding what it's saying, but it seems fairly clear. I suppose the writer of the article could have his information wrong. I certainly hope the article is wrong and NF takes, at least, a week to mix and master it. 

 

(Neil Finn) “Every Friday in August at 7pm NZT / 5pm AEST, I will be performing on a live stream from my studio in Auckland. During these Friday sessions you will be witness to a series of musical happenings featuring friends, family, fellow songwriters and singers playing tunes both old and brand new. You can follow the progress of new song arrangements as we build towards the last stream on August 25. This final performance will be the actual recording of my new solo album."

Yep that's exactly right Painaporo. If you're on USA EST then the streams will be 3am Friday morning for you.

The east coast of the US is 14 hours behind Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, etc. 

Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra & Hobart will see the streams at 5pm their time (I'll get it at 4:30pm being ACST).

Jaffaman posted:

Mixing will be done over a few days, not just one.

I'm sure you're 'in the know' Jaffa. That was certainly my reading of it. Reading between the lines, 'some' of the recording process will be streamed, but I don't assume that the stream will be 100% of the recording. Then it will be mixed, etc within 7 days for release. It still seems quite an unnecessarily short time-frame. Intriguer definitely sounded over-worked, but this is almost the entire opposite approach. I hope it works out, and I also hope it doesn't gain negative bias based on how it's being recorded (i.e recorded quick ='throwaway'). I've seen that before with other releases, on a similar principle to the assumption that pay-what-you-want releases must be worth nothing! 

I'm very excited about this. Every Finn release offers something, and I rate Neil's solo work very highly. I hope we might see him in Scotland soon, as I missed the last one due to the birth of our daughter.

Anyone have any idea about a physical release (I'm assuming 1 Sept is digital only)?

Jaffaman posted:

Mixing will be done over a few days, not just one.

Glad to hear, but yeah, the article linked to above is putting out blatantly bad info: "Neil Finn isn’t just releasing his new album Out Of Silence on 1 September 2017, but he is also intending to mix and master it on the very same day."

Neil himself responded to a tweet: "we have 4 days to mix , no worries"

Live recordings can be recorded in an hour of course. Other artists do significant improvisation, and will release those improvisations as recordings.

The length of time do do the mixing will depend on the complexity of the instrumentation. Nobody seems to complain about the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band recording, even though it is exceptionally simple. Typically Ringo's drums, Klaus's bass, and John Lennon on either guitar or piano + vocals. Something like that could be recorded and mixed very quickly. And, that was before modern software.

Modern software (I dunno what Neil uses), makes things and order of magnitude easier. If you record with good mics and techniques in the first place, and are not doing anything too experimental, then a compentent engineer and producer should be able to get something that sounds good in the time available. It won't sound quite as glossy as if they could spend a month on it, but do we always want the music to sound ultra-glossy?

Similar for mastering. I've been impressed with the Izotope mastering software. It includes very well designed presets, and just going through the preset browser often resulted in something that sounded pretty good. With modern loudness metering, then getting an overall master where the tracks sound balanced is not that tricky. Again, there may be less of a consistent sound than if someone had a month to work on the mastering, but is this the end of the world?

The music industry is changing. Technology is cheaper than ever before. Returns from albums are less than they used to be, and even major acts fail to make a profit on albums after spending months in the studio. Perhaps it's time for us to accept something home-made because otherwise many artists may not be able to afford to release as many albums. Stevie Nicks says that she will not record any more albums as she can't make money on them. Stevie Nicks!!!!

Bill Nelson records large numbers of albums at home and releases them direct to his fans. I think he releases an album a month, and it's pretty much just him I think. I thought I'd go check out his latest album to show what can be done, but listening to it now (song 'I'm Dancing') the mix could be clearer, particularly the vocals. https://billnelson.bandcamp.com/ Too much 'verb and not enough frequency/pan separation of the instruments maybe. Though, who am I to second guess Bill Nelson with all he's done.

But even then, I'd MUCH MUCH prefer music recorded and mixed like this to no Neil music at all, if that was the choice. Though, I'm not suggesting that this is a financial decision, I'm sure it's an artistic one. It's just intersected with thoughts I'd had on whether more music should be recorded in less expensive ways these days.

EDIT: Belle&Sebastian's first album 'Tiger Milk' was recorded over three days as a Glasgow College course on the music business would record an album each year by a local band. I'm not familiar with them, but the 1996 album sounds reasonably Neil-like in genre (though maybe not so strong on the songwriting front as a Neil album). I can't see that there would be any reason why Neil's album should sound worse than Tiger Milk, and Tiger Milk sounds fine IMHO. Perhaps the drums are way back,  but that's not an unreasonable mixing choice.

OneIssue posted:

The length of time do do the mixing will depend on the complexity of the instrumentation.

That is the concern. We know Neil is recording with a choir of 12 singers. It also sounds like there are strings on at least some songs, not to mention whatever the supporting band/rhythm section is. There will be a lot of mics and a lot of channels on the mixing board. You're right, a simple arrangement of a few instruments can be mixed quickly, but that's not what this is.

We know they have four days to mix 11 songs. I don't doubt they can work up decent-sounding, traditional mixes in the time allowed. I don't think there will be a lack of polish. I just doubt they'll have time to take this one last chance to explore the construction of the song, the use of fx or novel approaches, or just messing with the sound of things to find something you haven't heard before. I think they'll have time to check the boxes...get the vocal sounding good, find the appropriate drum sound, blah blah...but not time for really interesting explorations.

I don't know who's mixing...Neil's in-house engineers, or is someone being brought in to mix? If it's Neil's people maybe they will be trying stuff out during the rehearsals, and come to the final mix sessions with some exciting plans or options.

How difficult it is to record a string section or choir depends on whether there are featured instruments. Otherwise you can set up a simple stereo pair, and record the whole lot at once. Moving instruments/singers to achieve a balance. Even if there are featured instruments, I would expect that a skilled recording engineer with sufficient equipment could set up microphones and achieve a reasonable sub-mix in an hour. They wouldn't have to record as a huge multi-track even if they did have individual mics. They could do a sub-mix through a mixer, and only record the (say) two channel submix.

If they did use stereo pairs then they would get some room sound on the recording: more than if they used individual microphones. However, I suspect that Neil is not going to be too worried by that.

Can I make it clear that I'm not suggesting that they should do this. I'm just discussing the plausibility of getting a reasonably good sound with the recording strategy that has been described.

@Gryphon

Clearly I would like to keep some sort of a copy of the broadcast sessions. I will definitely buy the digital download and CD when they are available. However, what is your view on capturing the media for personal storage? If this is the kind of thing that you feel Neil would not like people doing, then I'll not do it.

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