Steve Albini - is it flattering?

Jerzy Rajkow-Krzywicki
Jerzy Rajkow-Krzywicki
Steve Albini - is it flattering?

The goal of Steve Albini is to produce music in a way that was intended by the artist and not to alter it in any ways. He uses the term "flattering" as some kind of a trigger whether to perform something or not.

Topics from Vlog #26:
  • How I made room for the important things?
  • "Flattering" by Steve Albini.
  • Are you too self-critical?
  • Are the projects you are undertaking "flattering" for you or not?
  • Change is not something easy, but sometimes it's necessary.

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Last time I was talking about limiting purposefully yourself and your projects.

Creating limits to be more productive and more creative is what I did last year pretty much. I have ditched half of the projects and half of my passtimes in order to make room for other, more important things.

It cost me a lot of emotions, a lot of thinking and a lot of questioning. A lot of anxiety, also. I can tell you right now, it was totally worth it.

Let's examine one word - "flattering".

Steve Albini uses the term "flattering" in relation to the operations to perform in a music mix. Basically, if you are thinking about making some change while mixing or during a recording, you should think whether this operation will be "flattering" to how the instrument already sounds. Will it enhance how it sounds or will it alter its sound?

Steve Albini's goal is to mix music in a way that was intended by the artist and not to alter it in any ways. He uses the term "flattering" as some kind of a trigger. This determines whether to perform something or not in a mix. If it's "flattering" for the sound already recorded, then he will do it. If not - he will not do it.

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Photo by Brett Jordan / Unsplash

You can pretty much take this rule and apply it to your own life.

You can think about:

  • people in your life, or
  • the thoughts you are thinking, or
  • the projects you are undertaking;

as far as whether those things and those projects will be "flattering" for you or not. In the long term.

A good question you can ask yourself on your day to day basis is:

What you think about yourself, what you think about how you reacted in a given situation - is it flattering? Is it helping you? Is it making you think about yourself more positively and with more confidence?

If not, you should probably stop thinking like that about yourself. And no - it is not simple. It is not easy. If you're like me, you are probably way too harsh and way too judgmental about yourself. And yet.

Picture speaks for itself
Photo by FPVmat A / Unsplash

I'm asking myself this question all the time. If I was Steve Albini, would I judge this situation to be "flattering"?

Is it helping me in any way what I just thought about myself? Do I feel better after that? Do I feel more confident? Am I a better person after this?

Often the answer is no, I'm catching myself up. And next time I will probably think something else. It's not simple. It's not easy. It requires effort.

One time will not be enough to change how you feel and how you think about yourself. You will have to catch yourself up several times, several dozens of times, maybe. And it's OK.

Change is not easy, but sometimes change is necessary if you want to feel better.

This is especially true for all the creative people out there who want to make a change in this world and who have ambitious goals.

It is worth asking yourself this question:

"Is it flattering"?


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