i know I’m making a ton of broad generalizations here, and that there are a ton of obvious answers, but i feel I’m missing something- as someone who doesn’t make recordings of my music, at least in the traditional sense for later consumption in whatever form, i have no relation to the process or ultimately overall goal. and i feel there’s some sort of unwritten rules that i’m not aware of-
what prompted this is that yesterday i, yet again, bought an album from an artist who i’ve enjoyed live many times and the record is boring as hell. and really, not to get confused with the live situation, i’m not talking about the energy or the vibe or the setting or the audience reaction or the sound of the room or studio musicians vs. stage musicians or the mixing of eras in their career or the length of the show. it just seems that the most very basic, foundation compositional choices are way more conservative on recordings than they are as compared to how the artist interprets the song for a live setting.
is it simply a case of the artist developing the material further once its recorded so there’s a deeper understanding of what’s important when presenting it for an audience? though of course there’s the opposite approach where bands will workshop material on the road and then record it. in which case it also usually ends up being drastically toned down. it seems that something happens in the studio which takes the edge off everything, smooths out the mix to the point where nothing is in focus. and for sure examples to the contrary can be easily found but i kind of always prefer a live recording over a studio cut.
for example, i’m totally into son lux and especially the new trio configuration. ryan’s studio stuff is really great… until you hear them live and then there’s no comparison. i guess there are so many things in a live show that just can’t translate to other kinds of listening experiences, but the arrangement of the material, the overall aesthetic is so amazing. i wish they would just “properly” record their latest live set as a real record. now I’m stuck listening to youtube rips for pretty much any of my favorite bands.