Welcome to issue #48 of Tape Op.
A few weeks back a potential client asked me for a CD-R of tracks I'd worked on to get an idea of what kind of projects I had done in the past and the sounds I went for. I put it off for a while, but finally had time last week and grabbed a batch of CDs off the "Wall of Shame" at Jackpot! and started copying tracks onto my computer. Nineteen songs later I was ready, and I burned them onto a CD-R (using Jam with Toast). I even made a nice little CD tray insert on the computer that I could print on those perforated sheets they sell. Looked pretty good, or at least functional — I'm no graphic designer, ask John Baccigaluppi. Anyway, I grabbed a copy and put it in my car to see how it sounded, all these tracks from the last eight years compiled together. It was a great learning lesson, and one I'm still working on. In what ways do these tracks sound consistent? How do they improve over the years? Do they get worse? Which have better drum sounds? What's up with the varied level differences (all are post-mastering)? Can I tell which mics I used? What skills do I need to improve?
I'd recommend that anyone involved in recording try an experiment like this. It's making me think a lot, and also listen to a spectrum of past work and try to grow. It's all part of this learning-something that will never end for me, I guess.