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Production versus Composition

Production versus Composition
January 12, 2012, 01:58:49 PM
Imagine a Stryper song.

You transcribe it onto paper, then go into a major studio.

The studio head tells you that you're going to make three versions of the song:

(1) A slick modern post-rock production, with muted drums and really slow, lots of layers.

(2) A totally necro Watain worship style with lo-fi production and bizarre tunings, and drums that sound like they're down the hall.

(3) A Dimmu Borgir style symphonic black metal version, played really fast with lots of keyboards and girly squee vocals.

So... it's still the same song. The composition is the same: Same chords, same notes, same riffs in the same order.

But the production has changed, depending on your taste. Some like necro-blak kvlt. Others love the Dimmu Burger sound. And 25 out of 100 people will "like" it (on Faceplant) if it's the modern rock sound.

Which is more important, production or composition?

Re: Production versus Composition
January 12, 2012, 02:46:21 PM
Obviously this is more of a litmus test than an actual question. 


I like good composition AND good production.  People shouldn't cut corners on art.  The albums that have "necro" production are fun to listen to for the same reason pre-84 extreme metal is fun to listen to.  You don't consider it the best, but hearing that pioneering force is really quite amazing.   Like with the 80s in general, the best bands are Slayer, Bathory and Celtic Frost, but it can be fun to hear the lesser bands in a time where their ferocitiy wasn't expected.

With Transylvanian Hungar and other Black Metal albums, the "necro" prodction can be meant as either a statement or a texture, and the merits of those attempts should be judged in a case by case basis, but if the composition is not with a song, then the song will lose meaning after a number of listens anyway. 

Re: Production versus Composition
January 12, 2012, 04:19:14 PM
If production has any legitimate value at all, it is surely when it helps enhance the compositional material in question. So in the case of something like Transylvanian Hunger or any of the Ildjarn albums, I think it's also a matter of there being no more appropriate a production than what they achieved given the compositional material.

But there's also some oddball albums that are not so easily separated in these terms. My Bloody Valentine's Loveless strikes me as more than a little dependent on that twisted, blurry production to carry the material through. It's a great album nonetheless.

Re: Production versus Composition
February 06, 2012, 05:46:29 AM
I tried posting something similar to this before, but unless someone does production on their own album, how can us listeners tell what makes the album sound and feel the way it does, is it the band or the producer? Varg went against that notion, and somewhat Beethoven because they lacked all the usual procedures of the music industry.