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Read Steve Albiniís Four-Page In Utero Proposal

Posted by: Jason Tate (09/26/13)
The letter Steve Albini wrote to Nirvana before recording In Utero can be found in the replies. This was included in the recently released 20 Year Anniversary box set.
 
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11:36 AM on 09/26/13
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Jason Tate
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11:42 AM on 09/26/13
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Whatareyoudylan
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Who and who?
11:42 AM on 09/26/13
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ludvista29
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This is amazing. I wish more engineers were like this today, as well as bands having enough talent to have their records treated in the same fashion.
11:47 AM on 09/26/13
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OldSchoolReason
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Listening to In Utero when it came out, I loved how raw and angst filled it was given I was a young teenager at the time. Just got the box set yesterday, and only now, re-listening to it, do I realize how daring and bold and "FUCK YOU" it was to release the album with many of the songs the way they were. At the height of their mass popularity, they went and released what borders on a hardcore album at times. Listening it through that lens, a lens I could not understand when I was younger, completely changed my perspective on the album (though not my enjoyment of it).

Bobcat's foreward in the liner notes is also worth a read. My favorite part is where he said that "mega-jockey dude" was being over-aggressive in the pit during a show, so the band pulled out their acoustic guitars and did 3-4 songs in a row to slow his roll.
11:56 AM on 09/26/13
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Jason Tate
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A different take from a different producer, Matt Dalton:
Just read this letter, and I may be no Steve Albini, but i AM a human being before I'm a record producer, and I have to say, there's a lot of non-committal language and predetermined passing-of-the-buck so to speak. Basically a guy like SA is good enough at being an engineer and has somehow assumed the role of being a producer but really puts the onus of producing back on the band so he basically can't be blamed if something doesn't go the way it was supposed to. This whole letter sets itself up to be like "i'll record you, and it's up to you to make it good... and my name will be attached to it... and if you love it AWESOME I DID MY JOB... and if you hate it it's not my fault cuz i told you to come here just being you." To me, that's not producing, that's refusing to be culpable for the litany of issues that can arise (technical, personal, inter-personal, unforeseen, acts of god, etc) during a recording process. I'm bothered by his "throw my hands in the air" approach of saying "hey idk man, i'll show up and do my thing and let you do your thing and hopefully it comes out the way you want it". it's so dismissive and NOT what the role of a producer should be. its what a label exec should be. it's what a manager should be. A producer is someone like Ross Robinson. TAKE THE BAND TO ANOTHER LEVEL. Make them live in a world that causes them to be more than what they thought they could be. Love them, hate them, push them, pull them and FORM a record. Get involved. Not just say "Hey I know Fugazi, I know Jesus Lizard, I'm punk rock man, let's be punk rock together"

All in all, In Utero is pretty good, but it was surely no great follow up to Nevermind (if you have a problem with me saying that, then I respect that you're a better Nirvana fan than me I guess) but I really don't think that album came out that great. it has its gems, but it also has its misses. A band like Nirvana should have never had a miss over the course of their short-lived career.

Pause rant... til the next rant. These are few and far between cuz I'm too busy living life to get too mad about stuff like this anymore. And I'm not MAD, but I do live life on the other side of the music that people hear, and maybe I'm just a little jealous that someone can build a career as successful as Albini by basically assuming no responsibility for the record he is supposed to be "producing". Movies have producers, directors, actors, etc. Music is just the same. The producer needs to do his or her JOB in carrying out the vision by any means necessary. Not sit back and let the actor do all the work and collect the check and the producer credit later. Kudos for not taking points though.
12:31 PM on 09/26/13
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Vance Mook
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This was such an awesome read. Dalton's response is also interesting. I find myself to inclined to agree with Albini's letter; it is the band's job to create the music...it's his job to assist in making that specific record sound intriguing, in whatever direction the band is shooting for. And In Utero does that successfully. I also feel as though the way he went about payment showed what a personal labor of love making music should and can be.
12:41 PM on 09/26/13
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Steve_JustAGuy
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Awesome letter, and great take from Dalton.

That being said, Ross Robinson is a total hard ass.
12:43 PM on 09/26/13
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j4callen
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There is no one way to produce a record and every producer does their thing and has their reasons for doing so. Albini's letter was great and if I was in a certain type of band I would get super excited reading that.

I don't know who the fuck the Dalton guy is.
01:01 PM on 09/26/13
Whatareyoudylan
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"Make them live in a world that causes them to be more than what they thought they could be. Love them, hate them, push them, pull them and FORM a record."

Righttt.
01:13 PM on 09/26/13
phaynes1
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Letter was great. Albini pretty much nailed it. Other producer guy's response wasn't very good at all.
01:24 PM on 09/26/13
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This letter was the only reason I'd even thought about buying this, way too much money. This was higher than "With the Lights Out" originally and that had alot more unreleased cuts. Albini is such an exciting guy to hear speak or write, he is so blunt and brutally honest it is just incredible. I'm not sure anyone can really say In Utero is not a good followup to Nevermind, and then not elaborate on it. I'm curious what the "misses" are, and as for "a band like Nirvana should never have had a miss over their short-lived career" - this doesn't make any sense to me. Should they have never had a miss because the singer of the band killed himself? Or because of their popularity they shouldnt have had a miss? That line of Dalton's doesn't make any sense at all and is made because its almost 20 years since his death. I'm not sold on Dalton's opinion....
01:28 PM on 09/26/13
am90
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Letter was great. Albini pretty much nailed it. Other producer guy's response wasn't very good at all.
Yeah...can be quite frustrating when you're in the studio with a producer and you want a particular part or sound for a song but they disagree with you so the final product can be something you're not completely happy with.
01:28 PM on 09/26/13
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Love it. Sounds exactly like what I would expect Albini to write. I'm one of those people that won't shut up about how great "In Utero" is though, so I'm probably a bit biased. Whatever. Awesome dude, awesome record.
01:32 PM on 09/26/13
richrad
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This is the greatest thing.
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