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Jordan Recording Studio (Recording Services In Northern Ky)
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Today’s average mainstream follower of all that is commercialized-to-death is obsessed with fitting in themselves more than fitting the pieces of music or art together. Taylor Mill Kentucky's Jordan Recording Studio lets us in on how to figure out which notes to hit while we try to sing the right song without singing off key!

 

Finding the right musical balance at

JORDAN RECORDING STUDIO In TAYLOR MILL, KY

Record Your New Album Or Have Your Old
Tapes Updated to Digital Technology!


(Studio Services, Sound Recording Studio, and Recording Services
In Northern Ky)

                                   -----------------------------------------


Dennis Hensley has been the owner of Jordan Recording Studios for 42 years and with this kind of time in the local music business, his experience level is such that you can trust and depend on many things about making music and recording that music in a high-quality environment here in his plush, yet comfy studio setting.  Hensley is unique in that he even owns and uses a vintage analog mixing board and if you’ve seen the popular and must-still-see 2013 music documentary, Sound City,  directed and produced by Dave Grohl (of Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Them Crooked Vultures bands), then you know how important it is to remain true to the old-school way of recording music!


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If it’s one thing for sure that Mr. Dennis Hensley can respect – it is the retro style and the old-fashioned way of recording music for his clients. But don’t misunderstand; Hensley is also ahead of the curve when it comes to staying with the current digital methods too – he can take your old technology products, such as cassette tapes (if you still have any) and transfer them over to an updated digital way of hearing them.

Jordan Recording is respectful of using the old methods when necessary but open to any new way of doing things as well – in that sense, you can say, this place is versatile and balanced in their perspectives about music and recording.

What so many fail to see is that beneath the surface lies a deeper, yet simple beauty in being a little raw or ‘edgy’ and therefore, more real. But finding balance between the black ‘or’ white theories can be exhausting and as a result, we often miss the lost logic as well as the lost magic in the middle. The music teacher in the 2015 controversial film, Whiplash, may be an extreme example of teaching a music student how to think outside of the box and become more creative, trying to break him into becoming this generation’s Charlie Parker, but the philosophy, the agenda behind his abusive instruction, may be precisely the point many viewers missed.

 Dennis Hensley at work for a client>   dennis_hensley.jpg - 33.83 Kb

 

 

OUR 21ST CENTURY MUSICIANS – BLACK SWANS OR WHITE STRIPES?

 

 

It all comes down to making the right choice for the right reason…choices, choices – always a conundrum when searching for the gray matter between two extremes. Or, maybe the question eventually becomes more simplified to get to the point quicker – do you want to be a white stripe or a black swan…?

 

Think rock/blues musician and guitar genius Jack White (from former band The White Stripes and his current bands, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather) who always performs with passionate spontaneity by taking to the stage without a set list and even plays his guitar out of tune on purpose sometimes just to be more in touch with the emotion of the music instead of its technical proficiency. Or, you could be so hell-bent on perfection that you lose your joy in the process and forget who you are and why you  are even pursuing your artistic endeavor (think Natalie Portman’s character in the 2010 movie Black Swan). It’s a choice and there will always be peer pressure to be perfect or to ‘sell out’ to achieve more success, but how realistic is this expectation, really?

 
Hensley’s main assistant engineer – Scott Ballou – tackles these tough topics regarding art and music and ‘music as art’.  His answers are as wide as they are diverse, but his insight and impeccable wisdom brings us some fresh and deeper insight that we all need! Ballou takes a pretty balanced approach to music production  – and he tells our editor what he thinks of today’s music and how Jordan Recording works with the old and new trends in the music business today and if we can find the balance in between!

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Altro’s Editor, Kaitlyn Karol: What do you think of today’s youth obsessed with hipster trends and ways of doing music that can often cheapen the sound quality?  For example, the big debate that rages on today about the digital process of using Pro Tools versus the old-school analog way of recording and listening to music.

Jordan’s Scott Ballou: I see this as a non-issue if whatever method you’re using is done right and done for the right reasons. Everything depends upon the reason why you’re doing it in the first place.  It’s not supposed to be about what’s cool or trendy; it’s supposed to be about the quality of the content and using the right tool for the job.  With a great movie, I don’t care whether it was shot on film or digital or if it was done with the latest, most trendy processes.  If it’s masterfully produced and entertaining, the goal has been achieved.  

Dennis and I both try to take advantage of the best of both audio technologies.  Good analog trumps bad digital.  Likewise, good digital trumps bad analog.  Use the good in each and with experience and education, you’ll find what works best for your purposes and hopefully get the desired result.  One thing about digital though, is its power and flexibility, as in Pro Tools or any other digital audio workstation (DAW).  Sometimes it may not be the best sounding tool for the job, but it’s hands down the best for an efficient and productive work flow in this society of instant gratification and results.

KK: Yes, I had heard similar things like this from a few other people. For example, in Dave Grohl’s Sound City, industrial/alt-rock musician, Trent Reznor, says that sometimes using Pro Tools is the way to go and other times, the analog method is better. He uses a balanced approach because he knows how to use both systems in a creative way that makes more sense and is more interesting. Assuming this is what you mean, can you speak more to that?

SB: This sounds like we’re on the same page. Like I said, I believe in using the best tool for the job.  Basically, if you know how to use both technologies, you can benefit a lot more from using both. Analog & Digital are not rivals, but allies.  However, you cannot know how to determine which is the best approach for your music if you don’t educate yourself in both and gain experience using them; otherwise, it can sound amateurish. Technology doesn’t make good recordings – talented people do!

KK: Exactly. This is relevant also to the trendy hipster nonsense of how kids or inexperienced recording artists want to do something that is ‘popular’ or convenient and time-saving, just for ‘the sake of it’ but what ends up happening in so many instances is that they end up sounding derivative – like everyone else. Isn’t this part of our problem with mainstream, Top 40 music?  It sounds phony and contrived because it was done to sound like everyone else to be popular and therefore, it was not done right.



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SB: Yeah, following trends can be beneficial or detrimental, depending on how you approach it and what your motives are. There’s a lot you can learn from following someone else’s path and trying to reproduce their work, but in the end, you have to create your own thing and do it armed with the understanding and knowledge of how to properly achieve your goal.  It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘what’s popular’ momentum.  It’s a crazy business.  My view is this – it doesn’t matter what you did or what products or methods you used to get somewhere, it’s that you actually got there. If you go about it the right way and you take your time doing it right, does it really matter that you used an old or a new method? This philosophy has nothing in the least to do with trends.

KK: Right. So, in this way, it’s kind of like cosmetic surgery –people use it to enhance themselves, and so many other people think it’s phony and a sell-out thing to do to one’s physical appearance, but if it’s done right for the right reasons, who really cares? Enhancing anything is an art form and it takes a little finesse. It’s no different than cosmetic enhancements women use from make-up we purchase in a bottle from the store – it’s just on a lower grade scale with a lower price.

SB: That’s a good analogy.  The tools that artists, producers, musicians, and sound engineers use to augment sound, should be used to ‘polish’ and enhance what is already there.  It’s done throughout the entertainment industry and is the norm.  For example, you’ll never see the raw footage of a movie in the final release.  It’s color corrected, color graded, edited, enhanced with foley audio, etc, with all manner of old and new technologies.  All to the end result of making the original content shine and look it’s best.  Sometimes things are augmented in an un-natural way for artistic or creative reasons, and that’s okay too.  Use the technology to get the best product you can, but don’t change it for the sake of change or trends.  If you over-do it with the ‘face lifts’, it’s going to lose its identity and its uniqueness.

KK: The industry is hooked these days on auto tuning/ pitch correction machines and making non-talented or mediocre talent sound like they’re way more talented or sophisticated than they really are.  I recall reading that Cher really started this whole thing where she just wanted to use some special sound effects to jazz up a song, but the industry took it too far after that little experimentation because they saw it as a quicker way to fix problems and make bigger bucks.

SB: The industry has been using pitch correction, or vocal tuning technology for years now on nearly all major label recordings.  It’s used extensively in the smaller markets as well.  It’s actually a good idea and I recommend it to all of my clients if it’s in their budget.  It’s very effective in ironing out the smaller imperfections in a vocal performance and gives it that ‘nip’ or ‘tuck’ that is needed to complete their intended vision.  It allows a good singer to concentrate on the power or emotion of the performance and less on the little tuning or pitch imperfections.  If they have to worry too much about every little flaw, they tend to lose the feel or organics of it and in the process, lose their unique style or identity.  That’s where the ‘polish’ comes in and underscores the ‘proper’ use of the tool.                                            
                                                                                                                           
Continued...


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