Mike Mettler

Mike Mettler  |  Jul 12, 2024  |  0 comments
In the summer of 1984, two ascending musical forces vaulted themselves into the megastar stratosphere on a parallel tract that would be virtually impossible to duplicate today. Bruce Springsteen upped his own iconography by touring stadiums in support of Born in the U.S.A., a perpetually catchy album whose underlying message actually served to tear down the tenets of the American mythos. At the same time, Prince and The Revolution dominated the charts with Purple Rain, the ostensible soundtrack to the low-budget box-office phenomenon of the same name that chronicled the rise of “The Kid” and his killer Minneapolis-bred band, despite their respective struggles with a myriad of mental and physical obstacles alike.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 10, 2024  |  5 comments
The art of songwriting can sometimes be mysterious, frustrating, and even off-putting, to a certain degree—but when it’s done right, a songwriter can literally teach the world to sing. One such songwriter who has an inherent knack for consistently reaching the masses in a special way is Jesse Colin Young. During a recent Zoom call, Young and music editor Mike Mettler discussed the impetus behind The Perfect Stranger Songwriting Contest, how “Get Together” beat the odds to become an indelible hit, and why he feels “Darkness, Darkness” is among his best-loved—and most covered—songs. . .

Click here to enter The Perfect Stranger Songwriting Contest.

Mike Mettler  |  Jun 30, 2024  |  5 comments

When last we met in this column space, Dweezil Zappa was describing the truly immersive 24-bit/96kHz remix—key word, remix—that he did for the 50th anniversary 3CD/1LP/1BD super deluxe edition box set celebrating Deep Purple’s seminal March 1972 album Machine Head (Warner Records). Here in Part 2, music editor Mike Mettler and Zappa discussed how “Space Truckin’” really takes off in Atmos, what sold him on the Atmos format in the first place, and how he honed his mixing skills by zeroing in on how he feels drums should sound in Atmos. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Jun 26, 2024  |  2 comments
50 years ago, Tom Petty and his soon-to-be Heartbreakers were on a crash course for success or bust. What these rebels with a clue achieved over their rightfully acclaimed multi-decade career stands as a benchmark for how to match universally appealing songwriting with uncompromising sound quality.
Mike Mettler  |  Jun 07, 2024  |  5 comments
Performances
Sound

Machine Head is one of those perfect storm albums. As Deep Purple entered the 1970s, they undertook a creative shift from the psychedelic blues/pop of their late-’60s origins — embodied by hits like 1968’s perpetually catchy “Hush” and their cover of Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman” — to move into full-on rock overdrive with June 1970’s Deep Purple in Rock and July 1971’s Fireball. With that tableau firmly set, Deep Purple ramped it up yet another notch to construct March 1972’s truly seminal Machine Head, which features enduring hardrock staples like “Smoke on the Water” (ahh, that right-of-passage guitar riff), “Highway Star” (their 8-cylinder vehicular love letter), and “Space Truckin’” (“Come on!”) among them.

Mike Mettler  |  May 31, 2024  |  3 comments

Dweezil Zappa knows how to push the boundaries of surround sound. He was already testing the limits of 5.1 when I asked him to be on a surround-centric panel I hosted at CES two decades ago. More recently, Dweezil has been laser-focused on mixing in Atmos, and his highest profile Atmos mix to date is the truly immersive 24-bit/96kHz mix he did for the 50th anniversary 3CD/1LP/1BD super deluxe edition box set celebrating Deep Purple’s seminal March 1972 album Machine Head. During Part 1 of a recent Zoom interview, music editor Mike Mettler and Zappa discussed his “bookend” approach to “Highway Star,” how he put an additional spotlight on keyboardist Jon Lord on “Lazy,” and what his specific directive was for the Atmos version of “Smoke on the Water”—and how he honored the song’s references to his late father, Frank Zappa. . .

Mike Mettler  |  May 30, 2024  |  3 comments
Performances
Sound

Because of his close association with Yes’ signature sound, guitarist Steve Howe is assumed to have been a member of the British progressive giants from the outset — but he only came aboard with the five-man band’s third studio release, February 1971’s The Yes Album. Though his fretboard predecessor, Peter Banks (who later co-founded the prog-adjacent ’70s outfit Flash), foreshadowed the aural adventurism to come on July 1969’s Yes and July 1970’s Time and a Word, it was The Yes Album that cemented the wide-ranging, time-signature challenging sonic template for one of the most forward-thinking progressive acts of the past six decades.

Mike Mettler  |  Apr 29, 2024  |  4 comments
When I spoke with Neil Young back in April 2014 about his ongoing search for how to share his music in the best resolution possible (Pono, we hardly knew ye), he was laser-focused on what he wanted his audience to experience. “Back when I started recording, we did everything we could so that our listeners could hear the music,” he told me. “The more we presented and the more you were able to hear, the happier you were.” And that brings us to one of the best examples of that superb-sounding emotional uplift impetus — February 1972’s Harvest, Young’s fourth and most successful solo album.
Mike Mettler  |  Apr 26, 2024  |  4 comments

If anybody has Mark Knopfler’s ear, it’s Guy Fletcher. He’s the legendary British singer/songwriter/guitarist’s longtime go-to production partner, and he’s also the man (or guy) responsible for the stellar Atmos mix of Knopfler’s latest solo album, One Deep River. During a recent Zoom interview across the Pond, music editor Mike Mettler and Fletcher discussed how he convinced Knopfler he had no choice but to release One Deep River in Atmos, which Dire Straits tracks are his favorite Atmos mixes to date, and what Knopfler solo material he’d like to tackle in Atmos next.. . .

Mike Mettler  |  Mar 30, 2024  |  3 comments

Bruce Soord, guitarist, vocalist, and founder of the British post-prog collective The Pineapple Thief, caught the surround-mixing bug well over a decade ago, and he’s yet to shake it—something that’s quite good news for those of us who admire his learned approach to the 360-degree soundfield. Soord’s recent Atmos forays include The Pineapple Thief’s evocative new album It Leads to This, as well as current albums by Jethro Tull and Big Big Train—and he’s not done yet. During a recent Zoom interview across the Pond to Paris, music editor Mike Mettler and Soord discussed how he first got into surround mixing, what mistakes he made along the way, and why he strives for achieving a “natural feel” in his Atmos mixes. . .

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