Monday, May 09, 2005

Mixing "Layla"

My latest Netflix rental is Tom Dowd and the Language of Music. It's a documentary about Tom Dowd, the producer of basically every good piece of music, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Cream, Rod Stewart (HAHAHA!), Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, Dusty Springfield, and Eric Clapton. Though it masquerades as a biography of the man, through him, it tells the history of recorded music. And it's really awesome.

The best part is near the end, a scene called "Mixing 'Layla'", where Tom is sitting at his mixing station with the individual tracks that play during the second half of the song. (If you don't own the mp3, go get it right now--not the Clapton Unplugged version, but the original, by Derek and the Dominos, it's 7min05sec. I'll wait while you listen.) It starts with the piano melody, and one by one, he raises the slideythings to bring in the base, Duane's guitar, Eric's guitar, and each component of the piece, all the while describing the music with such affection that you can't help but adore it.

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