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221 of 235 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Digital Killed The Analog Star
When you think of where some of rock's greatest and most memorable albums were recorded, chances are that Sound City is not what you have in mind.

Located in a run down neighborhood in Van Nuys California, Sound City's dilapidated appearance looks better suited to the production of meth, not music.

This is the story that Foo Fighter's front-man and...
Published 18 months ago by Dana Sciandra

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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Forty minutes too long
The beginning and middle of "Sound City" were amazing. I was captivated by the music, the stories, and the photographs. I'd give the first hour and ten minutes of this movie 5-stars. Easy.

But where the documentary should have stopped, it didn't. Rather, we're treated to a strangely out-of-place, forty minute masturbatory jam session with Dave Grohl and others...
Published 12 months ago by Jeff Thomerson


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221 of 235 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Digital Killed The Analog Star, February 7, 2013
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When you think of where some of rock's greatest and most memorable albums were recorded, chances are that Sound City is not what you have in mind.

Located in a run down neighborhood in Van Nuys California, Sound City's dilapidated appearance looks better suited to the production of meth, not music.

This is the story that Foo Fighter's front-man and first-time director, Dave Grohl, sets out to tell about this unlikely rock landmark that changed the face - and more specifically, the sound - of music.

And Grohl would know, as Sound City is where Nirvana recorded their seminal album, "Nevermind," before it exploded onto the scene and transformed the rock landscape forever.

** "This Place is a Dump." **

Sound City opened its doors in 1969 to an inauspicious beginning. It was not until 1975, when Fleetwood Mac recorded their heavily praised self-titled album there (a serendipitous and well documented story in the movie), that the tiny studio landed on the rock map and began attracting artists who wanted to come and record there.

Overwhelmingly throughout the documentary, artists' recollection of their first impression of the studio was that it was a complete dump... many nearly refusing to record there as a result.

However, what Sound City lacked in polish, flash or even clean furniture... it more than made up for with something that no other studio at the time had.

** The Neve Console **

The Neve console was designed and manufactured by Neve Electronics for high-end recording studios during the 1970s and was the last of the "80 series" hand-wired analog mixing consoles.

It was a custom-built beast that could record and produce a unique and organic sound that could not be replicated by other studios. It was this sound that attracted such artists as Tom Petty, Pat Benatar, Rick Springfield, Nice Inch Nails, Nirvana, REO Speedwagon, Metallica, Johnny Cash, The Grateful Dead, Rage Against the Machine, Tool, The Arctic Monkeys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fleetwood Mac and even Barry Manilow (go figure).

The Neve console features prominently in the telling of Sound City's story, as it was also the catalyst for the creation of the film. When Grohl learned that the famed studio would be closing its doors, he purchased the console to ensure its place in rock history and installed it in his own studio.

Which leads me to one of my favorite parts of the film.

** Jam Session **

After Grohl dismantled, moved, cleaned (not an easy task according to Dave) and reassembled the famed Neve console, he invited back many of the artists whose careers were launched at Sound City.

The result was one of my favorite sections of the film, as the likes of Trent Reznor, Stevie Nicks, Josh Homme, Paul McCartney and Rick Springfield tried to recreate the sound and vibe of the famed studio by recording the film's soundtrack.

I particularly loved this part of the film because I find it amazingly inspirational to see the creative and collaborative process between truly talented musicians. Just the portion between Reznor, Homme and Grohl is a reminder of what true artists actually are... and quite frankly made me resent the manufactured, auto-tuned and over-produced-pop crap that passes as "music" today.

Later, you are treated to Paul McCartney (whom I have never been much a fan of during his post Beatles / Wings career), but I developed a new-found appreciation for him after this documentary. Again, witnessing the collaborative nature of real musicians is a sight to see... and hear.

Which leads me to my next topic.

** Digital Killed The Analog Star **

One of the major reasons that Sound City eventually went under, was due in large part to the introduction of digital recording and audio editing programs such as Pro Tools.

Nowhere in the film does Grohl levy an indictment against digital recording (nor is it my intent to do so in this review), but rather makes the point that because of it, the music industry is unlikely to see another Sound City emerge or thrive again.

In a time when you can easily record, manipulate and produce music from your bedroom, the days of artists creating a truly organic musical experience in the studio is quickly dwindling. In fact, it is my opinion that Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters are one of the only bands remaining who proudly carry and wave the `rock banner' above a sea of mediocre and short lived musical acts that no one will remember in 10 years.

In the beginning of the documentary, you learn to appreciate the inherent challenges (and benefits) of recording on tape. Many artists had to play straight through a song, even if it meant dozens of takes in order to get it right and match the sound, since editing in those days is not what is is today.

Nowadays, you can record an entire album without having any band members present. Each member can come in, record their individual parts and call it a day... since it can all be mixed together later or "fixed" in post. This disconnect and dependence on technology is what the film truly laments and is what Sound City was able to provide.

Every artist featured in the film remarked about the unique sound that the space at Sound City produced, especially for drums and vocals... one that they were never able to replicate at another studio. This, coupled with the Neve console and the audio engineers who ran it over the years, is what combined to produce some of the most memorable recordings in history.

I venture to guess that what was considered a unique sound at Sound City, would be filtered, flattened or processed out by something like Pro Tools today.

If you consider yourself a music fan, it should be required viewing for you to see this movie. For a first-time director, Dave Grohl does an outstanding job and the film is paced perfectly.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For everyone who loves music, February 2, 2013
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This review is from: Sound City (Amazon Instant Video)
I saw this last night and was blown away. As a Foo Fighters fan, I expected to enjoy this, but it was even better than I expected. So much musical history about Sound City Studios, and then the second part, where they invite people back to make new tracks with them, was even better. Loved watching Trent Reznor, Josh Homme, Rick Springfield, and Paul McCartney create music! Left me wanting more.
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!, January 30, 2013
This review is from: Sound City (Amazon Instant Video)
Saw this at Sundance and have already pre-ordered my copy. I think this is going to be on the best documentaries of the year. The direction and editing were awesome and the music blew me away. Paul McCartney still has it as does Rick Springfield and Stevie Nicks!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!, February 1, 2013
This review is from: Sound City (Amazon Instant Video)
The movie was all around GREAT. So many great stories, such a great point of view on music in general. I DEFINITELY recommend seeing it.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly inspirational, February 2, 2013
By 
Gregory Bevington (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sound City (Amazon Instant Video)
A great story about people making music and a magical board that produced a one-of-a-kind sound. If you're not affected by Dave Grohl's enthusiasm for this project, then you must be half dead. A must watch for everybody.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, February 1, 2013
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This review is from: Sound City (Amazon Instant Video)
This is just amazing. It is great that he took the time to do this. Dave Grohl and everyone else is just perfect!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great documentary, February 2, 2013
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This review is from: Sound City (Amazon Instant Video)
The film is really good. It was similar in illumination as a documentary as the Tom Dowd documentary. This follows a classic Neve mixer rather than an individual, and is like seeing backstage of many of the Classic Albums DVDs.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Amazing :), February 1, 2013
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This review is from: Sound City (Amazon Instant Video)
This is so amazing its hard to put it in words. God bless you Dave :)100 out of 10 everyday all day. I am sooooo looking forward to buying this album :)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must See!, February 1, 2013
This review is from: Sound City (Amazon Instant Video)
Saw the premier last night-- it's amazing. A must see for music fans, but its a strong story that can appeal to anyone and everyone. Bravo!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Instantly one of the great all-time rock docs, February 4, 2013
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If you're a fan of good music at all, WATCH THIS! I could not believe what a large percentage of musicians I consider to be giants in my world are in this movie. And the number of incredible albums through the years that have been recorded at Sound City.
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Sound City (Amaray)
Sound City (Amaray) by Dave Grohl (DVD - 2013)
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