A sliver of light
When 18-year-old pop singer Billie Eilish swept the Grammys it was for her album When we all fall asleep, where do we go. The album happens to be a really good recording, one we routinely play in Music Room 2 as streamed from Qobuz.
What’s interesting is that the work was produced in her brother Finneas’ bedroom using pretty ordinary equipment: Apple Logic Pro X, a Universal Audio Apollo 8 interface, a pair of Yamaha HS5 nearfields with an H8S subwoofer, and an Audio Technika USB microphone for the vocals (she was reportedly sitting on the bed while recording her vocals). Basically, amateur stuff. And yet, it sounds terrific. How can that be?
Is there possibly a sliver of light breaking through popular music recording?
I think what’s happening here is maybe a trend that would be a Godsend: dynamic range without affect. Her brother, the producer and musician, lets the music and its dynamics stand on their own merits. He isn’t playing the loudness wars as so many home and pro studios of today are.
Bravo. We can only hope Finneas is at the forefront of where recording is going, but even if not, it shows that what’s needed today are recordings without noticeable compression.
Fingers crossed it’s a trend.