Back when we were all going back and forth about Chinese Democracy, one of the things I kept complaining about was the way that critics wrote about how "loud" and "compressed" the album was. But people who actually know what those terms mean, such as Dr. Kittybrains and Tex Plush (and the rest of us really), heard something very different: dynamics. And on a hard rock album of all places.
And yet still the critics wrote the same lines over and over again, making me think that either a) they had written the reviews before the record actually came out or b) they were just copying what they read in other reviews, throwing in terminology like "compression" without actually understanding what it means.
Well it's vindication time. I stumbled across this press release/blog post from Bob Ludwig, the mastering engineer who did Chinese Democracy, other GNR, tons of modern rock and also tons of classic rock from Zeppelin to Hendrix to Springsteen. Basically he is the rock mastering engineer.
Check out the link, because damn if he doesn't reveal the truth: There is NO compression in the mix. Yes, some of the individual instruments are compressed, but the mastered mix has none. In this respect, it's the very opposite of over-produced. Over-written is a valid argument (although one I disagree with.) Over-produced is simply wrong.
Anyway, the point here is not to re-pimp Chinese Democracy all over again. Rather it's to take critics to task for not even knowing what they're writing about. It's very unfair for people's careers to be at the mercy of writers who genuinely do not understand the craft they critique. (I'd extend this criticism to 85% of the staff at Pitchfork.)
This concludes this installment of Drischord's rant against music critics-- from the letters to the editor of major newspapers to this here blog.