In connection with the superb Mixing/mastering thread, I was thinking about what tracks you view as the ‘goal’ when you’re mixing and/or mastering your releases.
I’m currently wading through literally hundreds of tracks that I started but didn’t do anything with over the past 5+ years. It’s an absurd process, but fun. The thing is, though - whilst doing this I’m entirely in a different creative space to when I’m actually creating music.
One of the key areas I’m struggling with is finding reference tracks which achieve what I’m looking to do with my own music. It’s heavily drum based, coming from hip-hop background, but features lots of field-recording and ambient noise textures with various analogue synths (either out of the box or, depending on the era and my gear setup at the time, virtual/simulations/samples of analogue gear) providing the main tonal and melodic elements (all with varying degrees of processing on them).
I tend to look at much of the more modern dark instrumental funk/psych releases as being the closest touchpoints - Beak>, Chop, Natural Yogurt Band, Drumetrics etc. but I’m also using less “faithful” tools such as sidechain compression which takes it largely out of those sort of groups. As a result, finding mix options is tricky so I tend to look for engineers whose work I love - Dave Cooley, Mike Burnham, Daddy Kev, Joey Raia - even though they’re often working with things that aren’t especially similar to my own productions.
How do others approach this? What’s your go-to A-B track, artist or engineer & does it matter to you that the genre is identical to yours?