Currently listening to: Departure and Farewell by Hem; there was a plug in the New Yorker with a nice video sample so I checked out the site and there was the album for sale, lossless format, fair price; why wouldn’t I just buy it instantly?

Now, not every band is gonna get noticed in the New Yorker; but if you get noticed somewhere, and you have a nice sample, and your site will sell me the music, uncompressed, with a couple of clicks, I’m probably gonna buy it right there. And I don’t think I’m that eccentric.

The songs are very pretty and Sally Ellyson’s singing has got to touch your heart if you have one. The playing and arrangements have an effortlessly light touch, the kind it takes serious effort to achieve, something I appreciate more and more with the passing decades.

One gripe on the production: Instruments and voices well-captured, but emerging here and there from black silence, no sense of an enclosing room or live ensemble, a band leaning forward and back into the flow of the song.

More producers ought to go and listen to what their counterparts did in the Fifties and Sixties by putting bands in a room and pointing a high-quality microphone at them. Or, to the Cowboy Junkies.

I put an LP from way back then on the turntable and it creates the illusion that the musicians are at the other end of the room, and I know perfectly well it’s not the ineffable wonderfulness of vinyl, it’s because the musicians were actually there and the producer was capturing the track, not constructing it ex post facto.



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From: Nicholas Adams (Apr 03 2013, at 05:02)

I discovered Hem back in 2005. They have a great sound. Actually just bought tickets to see them live here in Ann Arbor if a few weeks.

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From: Jake Munson (Apr 03 2013, at 12:14)

I'm just curious: did you buy the album before sampling the songs? Or did you buy it on an impulse (without knowing if you'd like it) because you were so excited that they offered it for sale that way?

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From: JulesLt (Apr 03 2013, at 12:47)

This is what people pay Steve Albini for (hence his claim to be a producer rather than engineer).

However I understand the number of studios with live rooms big enough for a band to play in is hugely in decline.

But at the same time, decent recording kit has become very portable.

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April 02, 2013
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