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View Full Version : Broken: Guitars, or no?



billpulsipher
06-12-2013, 08:00 PM
Not really, I remember Trent talking about how he and the Pantera guys worked with developing the right sound on the guitars for Broken. You can clearly hear the feedback inferno on plenty of broken tracks. Some of it is clearly computer generated but there are guitars in the mix, if I'm not mistaken.

From wiki: "Reznor characterized Broken as a guitar-based “blast of destruction”, and as “a lot harder than Pretty Hate Machine”. In the TV interview with that girl on Request Video in 1992 (to promote Broken), he specifically stated that no guitars were used on Broken and that it was all done on computers

Jinsai
06-12-2013, 08:09 PM
In the TV interview with that girl on Request Video in 1992 (to promote Broken), he specifically stated that no guitars were used on Broken and that it was all done on computers

dude, there's guitars on Broken.

Leviathant
06-12-2013, 08:14 PM
In the TV interview with that girl on Request Video in 1992 (to promote Broken), he specifically stated that no guitars were used on Broken and that it was all done on computers

http://www.theninhotline.net/archives/articles/manager/display_article.php?id=546

"I tried doing an album that I actually just wrote on guitar rather than my tried-and-true method of a drum machine and keyboards. So with the exception of 'Happiness in Slavery' all songs were written on guitar. I was gonna make it totally stripped down to guitar, bass and drums but as I started it I realized I could easily fall into another trap. What might sound interesting to me - because I'm not used to it - may sound like a garage band to the world. So we just took the three instruments and sampled 'em, fucked with 'em, processed them. It's kind of overboard, we did go crazy. It's kind of dense, too dense. It's over analyzed - every song has 20 different melodies that you won't hear the first five or ten times you listen, or maybe never."

butter_hole
06-12-2013, 08:29 PM
In the TV interview with that girl on Request Video in 1992 (to promote Broken), he specifically stated that no guitars were used on Broken and that it was all done on computers
Pretty sure all the amplification/distortion/effects were done on computers (as opposed to regular amps) but seriously? no guitars?

billpulsipher
06-12-2013, 11:23 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RIbkQspiag (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RIbkQspiag 4) 4 min 20 secs in (Trent says very little real guitars, almost everything on Broken is electronic)

hobochic
06-13-2013, 04:12 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RIbkQspiag (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RIbkQspiag 4) 4 min 20 secs in (Trent says very little real guitars, almost everything on Broken is electronic)

In NIN standards when Trent filters his guitars through electronics and digital modules the result ends up more "electronic" than standard "guitarish", yes. That doesn't mean there's no guitars. Just listen, the guitars are blatantly there.

Cat Mom
06-13-2013, 07:17 AM
It doesn't matter if it's guitars fed thru electronics; if it SOUNDS like guitar or guitar feedback, that's all that matters. And I think somebody here knows zero about "rock" and its history and is a tad too sensitive about it being related to NIN.

Max Leo
06-13-2013, 09:39 AM
I think that billpulsipher's point is that the guitar sounds in "Broken" could be mostly computer generated and not "real" guitars (maybe you all understood this and I'm just pointing the obvious XD). Of course there are blatant guitar and drum sounds in "Broken", but that doesn't mean that they were made with real guitars or drums, you can easily replicate many "real" instruments with computers or use all kinds of samples.

Maybe Trent created the guitar riffs/sounds with computers or maybe he recorded and sampled them all and played with them later on computers, I don't really know because I'm not very good noticing the differences between real instruments and computer generated instruments pretending to be real instruments. A musician that is really good with computers can create guitar sounds that sound almost exactly like real guitars (most of you probably already know this being NIN/music fans).

However I've always thought that the guitar and drum sound in "Broken" sounded more like computer generated than like "real" recorded guitars and drums, but maybe Trent recorded real guitars to use them as samplers that were heavely processed by computers later, I have no idea tbh.

fillow
06-13-2013, 09:46 AM
psst. not everything that trent says on interviews is 100% true.

Leviathant
06-13-2013, 01:12 PM
However I've always thought that the guitar and drum sound in "Broken" sounded more like computer generated than like "real" recorded guitars and drums

Listen to computer generated music from 1991 sometime, if you haven't recently. Heck, listen to some computer generated guitars from 1993 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBWl9p0fH28).

jmtd
06-13-2013, 01:12 PM
Bear in mind that computer technology has come a long long way since 1991/1992. I'm always impressed thinking about how TR achieved what he did, how he did, right back then. Running everything into a computer and using soft synths and filters is de rigeur now but it wasn't then.

Senateguard33
06-13-2013, 02:20 PM
Guitars are one of the hardest instruments for a synth to sound like. It has been done well recently, but by 1991 standards, I don't think a thing existed. There are archived interviews at The NIN Hotline where he talks about playing a guitar, and processing it in a program called "Turbo Synth" to get those loud, bombartic sounds. I'm positive the riffs were played on a real guitar, but sequenced in the computer.

eversonpoe
06-13-2013, 05:51 PM
Listen to computer generated music from 1991 sometime, if you haven't recently. Heck, listen to some computer generated guitars from 1993 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBWl9p0fH28).

god damn, i love that game (and its soundtrack).

glad my SNES still works, because now i have to go play it.

elevenism
06-13-2013, 06:30 PM
Ahhh, that old Capcom sound! This is precisely why i'm getting into chiptune.

Of COURSE there are guitars ALL OVER broken...jesus, listen to You're So Physical and Last for god's sake!
They're just SO distorted that sometimes they don't exactly sound like guitars anymore (which is precisely why i got into nine inch nails.) I was twelve and saw wish on headbanger's ball and it was terrifying but i couldnt look away. And i thought to myself..."good GOD how is he making the guitar sound like that," like a...a fucking digital chainsaw, if that makes any sense. That week i went and bought broken on "tape" (which is an archaic music recording format,) and fixed came soon after.

And yeah, Megaman did have some bad ass music didn't it? some of the songs on megaman 2 and 3 are drum and bass!

Max Leo
06-13-2013, 06:40 PM
Listen to computer generated music from 1991 sometime, if you haven't recently. Heck, listen to some computer generated guitars from 1993 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBWl9p0fH28).
I have that game, but I don't know exactly what track that is because the sound in my laptop has been screwed for a couple of weeks. XD

I don't know much about how electronic music is created with computers tbh, but I guess that back in those days you could create something that sounded better than the music for a SNES game, no matter how good said music could be. The sound chip for the SNES was better than the Sega Genesis', but I guess that computers could create something that sounded better than the music of my SNES' cartridges, but I don't really know.

I thought that PHM's drums were not "real" and they sound far better than the drums in any game from the late eighties that I can remember right now, and I don't know if the drums in PHM were made with a computer, with a drum machine or were just samples, but they were not "real", theere was nobody playing those drums in the studio. I don't know if back then the same could be done with guitars. maybe not, I was too young to know, and I've never tried to make music with a computer, which must be infinitely easier these days than in the early 90s, no doubt about that, but I don't really know how good or bad was the technology that a professional musician like Trent could use back then, hence why I don't really know which parts from his early records used "real" instruments and which parts didn't, but I thought that a lot of TDS was made with computers and it sounds better than all the music from my SNES, N64 or Genesis cartridges.

I repeat: I don't really know much about these things, I was just guessing that maybe those guitars were not "real", but I just don't know it. ;)

botley
06-13-2013, 06:50 PM
Real guitars: yes. Real amplifiers or microphones on them: no. Pretty groundbreaking technique at the time.

butter_hole
06-13-2013, 07:57 PM
I don't even see how this can be up for debate..

timdotexe
06-13-2013, 08:04 PM
I am sure there would have been infinitely more time spent processing, sculpting, chopping and looping than actually playing guitar to create broken but yeah, there is certainly live guitar all over it.

timdotexe
06-13-2013, 08:06 PM
From wikipedia:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_(EP)

As Reznor explains in retrospect: "Broken [...] had a lot of the super-thick chunk sound, and almost every guitar sound on that record was [tapes consisting of] me playing through an old Zoom pedal and then going direct into Digidesign's TurboSynth [software in a Macintosh computer]. Then I used a couple of key ingredients to make it [be heard as being] unlike any 'real' sound."[6]

HurtinMinorKey
06-13-2013, 08:20 PM
Real guitars? How would they fit in the cd player?:p

Could the OP define specifically what he means?

snaapz
06-14-2013, 10:10 AM
A couple of examples...


http://youtu.be/yVpw1SwJRBI


http://youtu.be/CBOhQamGGuI


http://youtu.be/kuoFiIFkdAA

mfte
06-14-2013, 04:00 PM
In an interview Trent said they didnt really mic the guitars for Broken but instead ran everything through a Zoom pedal.

Krazy
06-14-2013, 11:05 PM
I don't have much to add to this other than a pic of my favorite guitarist from the band mentioned in here, wearing the shirt of my favorite band:

http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/ii223/GoatKrazy/2F2B489F-0CB2-4592-A0D3-73D66DE2FED8-802-0000003B3E9937A9.jpg

elevenism
06-15-2013, 07:22 PM
I'm tickled to learn that trent used "an old zoom pedal." I've ALWAYS gone direct...NEVER mic my guitar when recording (unless someone else is producing,) and when i was a teenager, i went direct through...an old zoom pedal!

SM Rollinger
06-15-2013, 07:51 PM
Trents always been upfront about his production style. I remember when I was a kid, reading somewhere that the only "real" (as in, not heavily processed) performances on the Downward Spiral were the solo in Ruiner and the drum solo in Piggy.

And since @Leviathant (http://www.echoingthesound.org/community/member.php?u=1) brought up Megaman X, I saw a fellow geek covering what is my favorite level BGM the other day...

http://youtu.be/qtV4W63FacE
and I thought this was a cool interpitation of another of my favorite BGMs from the 16bit era...

http://youtu.be/etDon1LH1vA
I know Guiles theme is more "popular", but Kens has ALWAYS kicked its ass.

Capcom, for the most part, really nailed it when it came to awesome, energetic, guitar rock driven BGMs.

This is a good thread, shoulda clicked on it earlier!

Shadaloo
06-18-2013, 12:19 PM
For any Mega Man X fans out there, check out the soundtrack to the Maverick Hunter X PSP remake if you get a chance. It kicks all kinds of ass. Also: Fun fact: Ken's theme is basically a kind of reworking of the Top Gun end credits theme. I remember hearing somewhere that it was originally going to be Guile's theme, but the army connection was too obvious and they feared getting sued (same reason they switched around the JP boss names), so they switched themes. Man, 90's Capcom had some amazing soundtracks.

Sutekh
06-18-2013, 10:24 PM
There was more sophisticated stuff than the SNES in 1991...Penetralia by coil is from 1986 has some really heavy sounding guitars-but-not-guitars (I'm pretty sure broken tries to emulate their sound on that track). And there's tons of radiophonic music from the 60s and 70s that has guitarish tone generators that sound really organic. Not sure if you were being serious! Probably not, but I'm too pedantic to leave it

there's blatantly guitars on broken but i always cock an ear at the opening riff from "last"... Sounds too good to be true!

pigpen
06-18-2013, 10:53 PM
Of course there's guitar, I'd say more so on Broken than any other Nine Inch Nails record.

Leviathant
06-19-2013, 12:09 AM
There was more sophisticated stuff than the SNES in 1991...Penetralia by coil is from 1986 has some really heavy sounding guitars-but-not-guitars (I'm pretty sure broken tries to emulate their sound on that track).

Certainly, but were those sounds computer generated? In the mid-eighties, I'd go with most certainly not.

botley
06-19-2013, 12:19 AM
Trents always been upfront about his production style. I remember when I was a kid, reading somewhere that the only "real" (as in, not heavily processed) performances on the Downward Spiral were the solo in Ruiner and the drum solo in Piggy.No more "real" than the rest of that record. Drum solo is made from samples played on a keyboard and the "Ruiner" solo was recorded straight into the DI with no amp or mic, just like the rest of them are. Those are just about the only solos that weren't "fixed" in the Logic sequencer, however.

eversonpoe
06-19-2013, 09:07 AM
No more "real" than the rest of that record. Drum solo is made from samples played on a keyboard and the "Ruiner" solo was recorded straight into the DI with no amp or mic, just like the rest of them are. Those are just about the only solos that weren't "fixed" in the Logic sequencer, however.

i thought the "drum solo" in piggy was the only example of trent himself actually playing live drums. there's no way those are samples from a keyboard, there's too much differentiation in the expression.

Fixer808
06-19-2013, 09:39 AM
Certainly, but were those sounds computer generated? In the mid-eighties, I'd go with most certainly not.
Not an Atari or a Tandy, by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe... MAYBE a NORAD computer that had its own room at an airbase, and a bored USAF programmer...

Cat Mom
06-19-2013, 09:50 AM
The Mac had some mean MIDI software in the mid-80s. But primitive by today's standards.

Pyract
06-19-2013, 10:35 AM
No more "real" than the rest of that record. Drum solo is made from samples played on a keyboard and the "Ruiner" solo was recorded straight into the DI with no amp or mic, just like the rest of them are. Those are just about the only solos that weren't "fixed" in the Logic sequencer, however.


i thought the "drum solo" in piggy was the only example of trent himself actually playing live drums. there's no way those are samples from a keyboard, there's too much differentiation in the expression.


KB: Toward the end of the song "Piggy", it sounds very much like live drumming.TR: Okay, I confess, that one thing was live. For that part, I had a rigid, weird sixteenth-note pattern going. A kit was set up in the dining room, and I was playing along, fuckin' around, testing out the drums. I'd go in the other room, start the machine, run back in, put the headphones on, and play along. I couldn't hear it very good and I was way out of meter. So I just played as insaneley as I could so I could hear how the drums were going to sound on tape. When I listened back, I thought, "Hey, that's pretty cool. Someday I'll come back and fix it." And of course, I never did. That was it. That was the final take. A lot of what I do is accidental. I luck into things. I think that due to laziness---not coming back and fixing things---they end up becoming more interesting. My instinct is to repair, edit. "I'll get to it later". But then I'll get so used to hearing it, I'll end up leaving it alone.

http://www.theninhotline.net/archives/articles/key394a.shtml

Leviathant
06-19-2013, 11:05 AM
The Mac had some mean MIDI software in the mid-80s. But primitive by today's standards.

MIDI is all about sequencing notes and events though, not sound generation or audio processing.

Cat Mom
06-19-2013, 11:49 AM
MIDI is all about sequencing notes and events though, not sound generation or audio processing.
Well, yeah.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_2FCXedZ7Y

jmtd
06-19-2013, 11:54 AM
Neat. Maybe I'll listen to Art of Noise tonight.

Leviathant
06-19-2013, 01:38 PM
Neat. Maybe I'll listen to Art of Noise tonight.

Heh, to bring it back around on topic - even the Art of Noise brought in Duane Eddy on guitar when it came to doing Peter Gunn, because if you didn't use a real guitar in a 1986 electronic music recording, you usually ended up with something that sounded like, well, the music in that Apple video.

frankie teardrop
06-19-2013, 01:59 PM
Neat. Maybe I'll listen to Art of Noise tonight.

sorry to divert quickly again- but 'moments in love' never ceases to give me chills.

@Leviathant (http://www.echoingthesound.org/community/member.php?u=1) - agreed. i like my minimal synth (all primitive late 70s/80s analog electronics, and nothing but), but it's definitely limited and very same-y sounding without at least one guitar. throw a guitar into a dark electronic sound-alike track and you're instantly clan of xymox level awesome.

Leviathant
06-19-2013, 02:03 PM
Which one of these diversions counts as Diversion One? Useless trivia: Before I discovered Pretty Hate Machine, my favorite CD was "The Best of the Art of Noise." Their sounds really date pretty terribly (Hello, Fairlight!), but I don't care.

frankie teardrop
06-19-2013, 02:08 PM
Which one of these diversions counts as Diversion One?

i see what you did there, Leviathant.

dated? sure. pioneering? totally.

Jinsai
06-19-2013, 03:09 PM
i thought the "drum solo" in piggy was the only example of trent himself actually playing live drums. there's no way those are samples from a keyboard, there's too much differentiation in the expression.

I guess it might have been harder back then, but still possible, and you could do it with a pattern that was entirely programmed and not even performed "live" on a controller. Even back before dedicated drum software included "humanizing" features, it was possible to fake it with meticulous editing in a sampler. You'd have to go through it all and slightly nudge the notes off the grid to emulate human imperfection, as well as individually adjust the velocity of notes (and slightly change the pitch of hits with relation to the velocity on some of the sounds).

eversonpoe
06-19-2013, 04:17 PM
I guess it might have been harder back then, but still possible, and you could do it with a pattern that was entirely programmed and not even performed "live" on a controller. Even back before dedicated drum software included "humanizing" features, it was possible to fake it with meticulous editing in a sampler. You'd have to go through it all and slightly nudge the notes off the grid to emulate human imperfection, as well as individually adjust the velocity of notes (and slightly change the pitch of hits with relation to the velocity on some of the sounds).

given my experiences, it would be way easier to just record it on a real (or even electronic) drumkit.

SM Rollinger
06-19-2013, 04:54 PM
Yeah, i remember Trent saying that the Piggy solo, was actually a "milking" session that ended up just working in the song as is. He talked about how they would set up the drums in different rooms with different mic setups, and just bang away on them. Then take the results and manipulate them however needed.
edit: the link to the keyboard magazine article above, is what i remember reading. just saw it after the fact.

botley
06-19-2013, 10:00 PM
http://www.theninhotline.net/archives/articles/key394a.shtml

I stand corrected!

Powhatan
06-21-2013, 07:28 PM
in the late 90s I had the pleasure of doing quite a handful of mixing sessions working with one of the recording engineers from the Broken album.
Of course I had asked him about his days working with Trent back then (I was not working in the business at that time). He had a lot of respect for Trent and was very proud to have been a part of that record, even though it sounded like it didnt go how he expected. He told an amusing story of how excited he was to work with him and the first day he brought all his great guitar amps to the studio ahead of time and meticulously set them all up to be nice and ready to have Trent audition some mean guitar sounds (a skill he was recognized for and thought that was WHY Trent had hired him for the gig). He said Trent finally showed up and he told Trent to plug into the amps and Trent just looked at him and said something to the effect of "what are you doing?...thats NOTHING of what Im about".
Trent just plugged the instrument direct into the computer and tweaked the sound in the box - which - back then was not very common The engineer said he was pretty confused and just said "then why the f did you hire me?" haha But he was clearly very proud to have worked with him for the time he did.

Side note - I remember buying that 94 issue of Keyboard magazine as soon as it hit the shelves, excited to read all the juicy details of the recording/mixing process of TDS as Trent was always good to go into a lot of detail for us studio nerds.