Verse Chourus Verse: The Recording History Of NIRVANA
Goldmine #432, February 14, 1997
PAGE: 15 | back

In the end, Nirvana decided to remix both "All Apologies" and "Heart-Shaped Box" (recording another guitar parts and backing vocals for the latter song). The recording was done in Seattle's Bad Animals studio, partially owned by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. The record was then remastered at Gateway Mastering in Portland, . Maine. Albini explains how remastering effects the overall sound of an album: "In the mastering process, you can make changes in the sound quality changes in the tonal quality, the stereo width, the dynamic range. When you're mixing a record, you're mixing one song at a time. When you're mastering an album, you're trying to make the album as a collection of those individual songs sound coherent. And owing to the sequencing of the songs and the fact that they're mixed at different times and different frames of mind, they can sound different one to the next So the mastering is intended to make minor adjustments for those sorts of changes.''

Albini remains critical of the final work done on In Utero. "The mastering session that was done took several days, at a studio where the mastering engineer is famous for being very manipulative of the material," he says. "A normal album mastering session is a couple of hours. So obviously they thought that they should butcher it in some way to try to satisfy these people and try to satisfy their own expectations. The dynamic range was narrowed, the stereo width was narrowed, there was a lot of mid-range boost EQ added, and the overall sound quality was softened. And the bass response was compromised to make it sound more consistent on radio and home speakers. But the way I would describe it in non-technical terms is that they fucked it up. The end result, the record in the stores doesn't sound all that much like the record that was made. Though it's still them singing and playing their songs, and the musical quality of it still comes across.

"But they paid- me to do a high quality recording of the band, and I don't feel like that's represented in the finished record," Albini concludes. "So it's impossible for me to feel proud of the end result. Although I very much enjoyed doing the record and I enjoyed the company of the band. And I have a lot of respect for them as people. I consider Dave and Chris friends. Dave approached me about working on a Foo Fighters record and changed his mind for whatever reason. But yeah, I consider them friends. I have a lot of respect for them. It's just all the pigs around them that sicken me."

Albini adds that the controversy over In Utero also had a negative impact on his career. "It was totally devasting to me from a business standpoint," he says. "The year following that Nirvana album I nearly went broke. Because it was officially regarded as inappropirate for bands to record with me on a mainstream level. Previously I'd been doing one or two big records a year. And after that Nirvana record there were two years that went by where I didn't do any And it still rears its head. The Bush record that I just did went through very similar record label fucking the record up after we'd finished it kind of thing."

Nirvana did three more shows prior to their fall tour. On April 9, they headlined a San Francisco benefit for the Tresnjevka Woman's Group, formed to aid rape survivors in Croatia; as a result of becoming more aware of the events in the former Yugoslavia, Novoselic went back to the original spelling of his name, Krist. On July 23, the band performed at Roseland, in New York City, as part of the New Music Seminar. Unreported at the time was the fact that Cobain suffered an overdose in his hotel hours before the show. On August 6, the group performed their last show as a trio, at Seattle's King Theater (a former movie house). The show was another benefit, raising money for the Mia Zapata Investigative Fund; Zapata, lead singer of Seattle band the Gits, had been found murdered the previous month.

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