record producers' reviews
February 7, 2012 4:32 AM   Subscribe

Where can I read music producers' opinions of the production value of specific albums/tracks?

I'd like to read expert opinions on music from a producer's perspective. Ideally the writer is a trained expert in his/her field.

Isn't there some outlet for this sort of review? Google only leads me to inde blogs which, though nice, aren't exactly looking at production value.
posted by mateuslee to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Mix Magazine - Classic Tracks
posted by timsteil at 4:54 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: this was from the musician's perspective, but it was all about the recording and editing sessions with the producer. A really insightful read:
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 5:10 AM on February 7, 2012

Best answer: Like Mix, Sound on Sound magazine has a recurring Classic Tracks feature.
Also, they have a "mix review" section where current chart hits get reviewed from a mixing/engineering viewpoint.
posted by anthom at 5:17 AM on February 7, 2012

Tape Op magazine also has a lot of that kind of stuff.
posted by ericthegardener at 6:12 AM on February 7, 2012

Best answer: Nthing all of the above, plus you could check out ProSoundWeb, Pro Sound News, and Electronic Musician, who run interviews with bands, engineers and producers talking about their work.

Note, however, that these are all basically interviews with people talking about their own work. If you're looking for something where a producer/engineer listens to new releases and says stuff like, "Well, I liked the kick drum sound, but I thought the guitars were kind of muffled," I don't think you're gonna find much (if anything) like that.

In the second place, it's kind of a "busman's holiday" situation - these people are interested in making music (and getting paid for it), so I don't think it's likely that they'd be willing to use their time off to do even more critical listening and then write about it for the relatively low dough of a written review.

In the first place, the world of professional producers & engineers (especially "big name" ones) is pretty damn small. I highly doubt anybody's really willing to go on public record saying, "This album's production sucks," when it's more than likely they will have a shot at working with the artist/producer/engineer/label/different artist with the same management company/etc etc etc in the future. They're not interested in career suicide, IOW.

Probably the closest thing you'll find is that sometimes these mags (and mags aimed more at musicians, like Guitar Player, Bass Player, so on & so forth) will have short "staff reviews" of new releases. Mostly these are pretty positive - the general tone is "hey, check out this cool new music you might not be aware of!" - but they will sometimes talk about strengths & weaknesses of the production. Some of the staff are journalists & not really musicians or engineers or whatever, but a lot of them are active pros who are using an ability to write as an additional income stream.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:44 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Along with the classic tracks and mix review, Sound on Sound also interviews contemporary producers, and has a "Mix Rescue" feature where readers' problematic tracks get investigated and reworked. So if you're interested in learning more about production from a practical point of view, it's well worth reading.
posted by iivix at 8:00 AM on February 7, 2012

Note, however, that these are all basically interviews with people talking about their own work.

So producers might not write regular reviews, but a lot of professionals had a lot to say about Loudness War issues. OK, so strictly speaking that's about mastering and not actual track production, but when there's a hot button issue there are definitely producers willing to weigh in with opinions on other people's tracks.
posted by iivix at 8:05 AM on February 7, 2012

Oh sure, I didn't mean that it's all sweetness and light and a bunch of butt-kissing - there are plenty of people in the industry who have strong opinions and aren't afraid to express them.

I was more explaining the reasons why I don't think there's anyplace where "record reviews" are regularly done by producers or engineers; generally speaking it's not in their own self-interest.

Maybe mateuslee (the OP) could chime in to clarify what their goal is.
posted by soundguy99 at 12:34 PM on February 7, 2012

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