The Dying Art Of Recording A "groove"
Todd Simpson
Nov 21 2020, 01:01 AM
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Posts: 21.414
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
It wasn’t that long ago that musicians would get together in a studio, and record. Recording musicians playing at the same time is an art. Also, playing with other musicians at the same time is an art. Both appear to be dying out to a degree. This is partly due to the march of technology, and partly to do with remote collaboration, and partly due to recent events. It’s not a good thing IMHO. Getting musicians together in a room creates an “Energy” that is almost palpable. When musicians are responding to each other in real time, that’s when the magic happens.

Decades ago, entire albums were recorded in this way. Some of the greatest recorded works ever made were done in one long take, with all of the musicians going at it at the same time. When this works, it’s brilliant. Back before the days of Pro Tools and Click Tracks, musicians had to learn to play with the drummer and bass player. The groove could be felt by everyone and it could speed up or slow down organically. Good musicians can follow the groove as it develops. As years went on and Click Track recording became the norm, something was lost. A clinical kind of precision crept in to music. It got more and more sterile. It even impacted the vocal performance with quantizing and auto tune to the point where popular music began to sound entirely synthetic.

Forcing everything into a quantized grid essentially kills the groove. There is no give and take, no push and pull. It becomes a math experiment. Sadly, many musicians born after the advent of the click track have not been exposed to actually playing without a net. That is to say, many musicians have just never learned to vibe off of the drummer and let a song “breathe”. Instead, the rise of bedroom musicianship has created an isolated world of music creation. To be sure, it’s made music more precise on some level. But it’s killed off much of the groove as well. Not to say there are no bands around that do it “old school” and turn off the click track. These bands do exist.

I’d suggest that every musician would benefit from turning off the click track when recording. Click tracks are great for playing drills. They help reinforce precision and help us keep time. However, music is about more than that. It’s about feeling. I’d go so far as to say even the drummers should turn off the click track and jus let things breathe a bit. It’s ok if a track rushes or lags in service of creating a groove. Of course, MATHROCK and MATHCORE, etc. are built around precision, so clicks are fine for that. But to create an emotionally resonant bit of music, it’s sometimes important to listen to the music and let it move you rather than listening to the click.

Just something to think about as you create your own music. Let it breathe a bit. Don’t quantize everything. Allow for some mistakes. Some noise. Let it be organic. There is less and less music that has these qualities these days. I hear tons of music that is clinically perfect on youtube, and so much of it sounds exactly the same. That’s just boring IMHO. Rebel against perfection now and then for the sake of emotional connection. Use a click for practice/drills/etc., but let your instincts guide you now and then when being creative.

What do you think?


This is a great article about the death of groove in music. With a detailed history.
https://www.prosoundnetwork.com/pro-sound-n...T=1014865811902

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Phil66
Nov 21 2020, 11:23 AM
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Posts: 7.864
Joined: 5-July 14
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I've said many times that there must be an opening for backing tracks recorded live, maybe it's just too expensive but it would be good.

Maybe there will come a time when we here at GMC can jam live across the interweb, that would be awesome.

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Todd Simpson
Nov 22 2020, 06:21 AM
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Joined: 23-December 09
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Im all for it smile.gif Also, it's worth noting that the click track does turn off in most daws. It's possible to just listen to the drums/bass and record to that. This to is a dying art. I personally never use a click track to record guitars. But that's just me smile.gif

QUOTE (Phil66 @ Nov 21 2020, 06:23 AM) *
I've said many times that there must be an opening for backing tracks recorded live, maybe it's just too expensive but it would be good.

Maybe there will come a time when we here at GMC can jam live across the interweb, that would be awesome.

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

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