mercredi 26 août 2009

Remastering: le diable est dans les détails (Bill Nelson)

Bill Nelson
, guitariste de Be Bop Deluxe, peut-être mieux connu au lecteur de ces pages pour sa magnifique contribution aux plages instrumentales de Gone To Earth de David Sylvian, a écrit ce texte fascinant sur le remastering et ses dangers:

"It's a strange thing, this remastering malarky. I remember, a while back, some Beatles remastered material coming out...and yes, it was 'brighter,'clearer and there was more separation between the instruments, etc. But you know what? I didn't like it. It lost something that the originals had. I much preferred the way the original releases sounded.

Clarity and prescence can make recordings that originally gelled and hung together perfectly sound clinical and artificial. Sometimes, it's the actual LACK of digital clarity that gives recordings made by analogue methods their magic and warmth.

There's much more to the process of mixing music than just cleaness and clarity. Some of the most wonderful and iconic recordings have deliberately used murkiness and mystery to achieve their effect. Often, it's the subtle blend of instruments, the blurring of lines, the foginess, that creates the magic sound, not their separation. Anything that alters that relationship will destroy it.

I know that, when I used to record at Abbey Road with Be Bop Deluxe, we spent a great deal of time and care getting the recordings to sound the way we wanted them to sound. That same care was applied to the original mastering, to preserve the sound we had achieved in the recording and mixing process. Any remastering aimed at 'improving' the sound picture, or 'clarifying' it will change the delicate balance of tonalities and instrumentation to some degree or other, and in many cases, I think, to the detriment of the music and often to the artist's original intention.

Cleaning up an analogue recording via digital means can be a negative step, rather than a positive one. Plus, as we all know, the myth of remastering has long been used by the industry to sell albums over and over again to fans who already bought the thing first time 'round. Remastering and 'alternative takes' are both useful marketing devices for record companies.
Vous pouvez suivre la discussion sur son site Web.

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