Magazine article The Spectator

Pop Producer Power

Magazine article The Spectator

Pop Producer Power

Article excerpt

What does a producer do on a record? I have often wondered this, as the evidence suggests that they either do (i) too much, or (ii) not enough. The heavy rock producer Steve Albini legendarily limits his contribution to switching on the equipment and pressing 'record'. The band bashes out the song, Albini switches off the equipment and everyone goes for a hearty lunch. By this studied policy of non-intervention, Albini seeks to reproduce a band at its most raw and primal. You don't go to him if you want fancy keyboard fills or a symphony orchestra wheeling away in the background. Indeed, Albini is so fast that he 'produces' more records than anyone else would be able to.

Not that he uses the word 'producer' any more. These days, his records are just 'engineered by Steve Albini'.

At the other end of the spectrum lies Trevor Horn. So fantastically produced are his records - and I love them, have loved them for years - that what you can hear feels like only a small proportion of what's actually there. …

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