Tracking and Fear of Commitment

Oftentimes I’ll find myself in the studio, working with a client, doing multiple takes of a performance. Inevitably at some point in the tracking the client will say, “Can we go back to that take I did 18 times ago? I really think that was the one.” Inside I’m thinking “Well if that was the one, how come we moved on from it?” Shouldn’t we have known it was ‘the one’? Won’t ‘the one’ be glaringly apparent at the time? You see, back in the tape based days we didn’t have this luxury of undo. When you recorded over a part, it disappeared forever. You made damn sure that you weren’t throwing ‘the one’ away, because there was no getting it back. On one hand it’s nice to have the option of undo and non destructive recording. It saves the day for me all of the time. On the other hand, it sometimes takes away our need to commit. Commiting is not a bad thing. It’s our way of saying “this is the best possible performance that I can do at this given point in time, and I am fully comfortable in having the rest of the world hear it.” Ahhhh…. that feels good, doesn’t it? Just letting go of all of those other options is quite freeing I believe. I am all about getting it right and working hard until it is…I just feel like we shouldn’t be afraid to say “That’s the take, and I am not looking back.” Ultimately that uber indecision will cripple you in the studio and leave you thinking about all of the takes you didn’t keep, and not the one you did. Ultimately you will have to commit, so the sooner you can get it out of the way the better.

- Scott Smith, The Wood and Stone Room

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