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Thread started 10/13/18 9:23am

nextedition

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How did they make 12" versions in the 80s?

I've been wondering about this. Now everything is in the computer and its very easy to let a beat loop or something, but how did they do this in the 80's?

Did they also use computers?

I dont even know how they edit a song. If there is a long recording of a song, how did they take away some parts? Wasnt everything recorded on tape?

There are also 70's remixes, i cant imagine they had computers to make the remix or extended version.

Anybody know?

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Reply #1 posted 10/13/18 3:02pm

TrivialPursuit

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Some people did use computers. I remember Lynn Malsby, from Klymaxx, telling me once how she used an Apple to sequence her keyboards.

Abba once told a story about how they literally cut and taped 1" tape together, and looped part of it around the doorknob in the studio, then ran the reels to create the base & drum loop for a song. The only reason the song ended was that someone opened the door from the other side.


I would imagine making another master of the track, then literally cutting and pasting tape to create that loop and record it to a new master was one method. Keyboards sampled things as well. Even the Beatles used a Mellotron, which was a primitive sampler keyboard thing.

Also remember that with so many groups using the Linn or other drum machines, it was easy to bring up the beat and replay it on a loop while working out the other parts.

Needless to say, it was incredibly creative compared to the ease of today's technology.

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Reply #2 posted 10/13/18 4:50pm

lool

Also, it was common for instrumentals and a cappellas to be issued commercially or for DJ use. I believe some remixers even mixed songs live on their turntables until they got a take they liked. Back in the day I did a remix of "The Pleasure Principle" using the 12" and my aunt's dual-deck cassette player. My 12 year old self was very impressed with the results.
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Reply #3 posted 10/13/18 5:29pm

modified

Single/7" versions were often edited versions of longer studio "jams" anyway. The edits were made by simply cutting and pasting the reel-to-reel tape. Many 1980s 12-inches are the original studio jam + some unrelated bit of filler spliced in the middle of it - let the drum machine go for a few minutes longer, call it the Special Disco Mix.
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Reply #4 posted 10/13/18 7:44pm

TrivialPursuit

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lool said:

Also, it was common for instrumentals and a cappellas to be issued commercially or for DJ use. I believe some remixers even mixed songs live on their turntables until they got a take they liked. Back in the day I did a remix of "The Pleasure Principle" using the 12" and my aunt's dual-deck cassette player. My 12 year old self was very impressed with the results.


I once did a near 45-minute version of "Thriller", filling up one whole side of a cassette. I used the 12", which contained the instrumental, and a quick finger on the pause button. It was decades before I lived it down with my brother.

[Edited 10/13/18 19:45pm]

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Reply #5 posted 10/14/18 1:43am

nextedition

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Thank you all for the answers! I heard about cutting the tape, didnt know if it was true. I must have been a lot of work!
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Reply #6 posted 10/14/18 9:32am

TrivialPursuit

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nextedition said:

Thank you all for the answers! I heard about cutting the tape, didnt know if it was true. I must have been a lot of work!


In case you haven't read it, find Duane Tudahl's book about the Purple Rain sessions, they talk about cutting tape. It's a great read in general and very specific.

Coke Johnson got his nickname because he was such a good tape editor with cutting the tape, it was as slick as if he was cutting lines of cocaine. I believe there is an edit in "Purple Rain" where the snare sounds like a quick reverb or an echo. I've always believed it was a bad cut in an attempt to shorten up the song a bit. There is another where the background synths are louder after a snare hit, which makes it a clear edit as well. Coke is listed on a few albums and was there from 1987-1990 (says Princevault). Although I swear he was listed on ATWIAD. Maybe not.

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Reply #7 posted 10/14/18 10:43am

duggalolly

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Quote from a 1990 article about Paula Abdul's remix album:

"Extending songs into sleek, continuous dance tracks is a specialized art form, involving creative slicing and dicing, either by hand or on high-tech multitrack recording consoles (complete with DAT tape and computers). To create ”The Way That You Love Me (Houseafire Edit),” for instance, Las Vegas DJ and remixer Chris Cox used two reel-to-reel tape decks to cut the track up into tiny bits. Then he physically rearranged the song and taped the bits together for a final edit. ”Dance-club DJs love (a dance mix), because it gives them more variety to work with,” Cox says."

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Reply #8 posted 10/14/18 11:27am

nextedition

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TrivialPursuit said:



nextedition said:


Thank you all for the answers! I heard about cutting the tape, didnt know if it was true. I must have been a lot of work!


In case you haven't read it, find Duane Tudahl's book about the Purple Rain sessions, they talk about cutting tape. It's a great read in general and very specific.

Coke Johnson got his nickname because he was such a good tape editor with cutting the tape, it was as slick as if he was cutting lines of cocaine. I believe there is an edit in "Purple Rain" where the snare sounds like a quick reverb or an echo. I've always believed it was a bad cut in an attempt to shorten up the song a bit. There is another where the background synths are louder after a snare hit, which makes it a clear edit as well. Coke is listed on a few albums and was there from 1987-1990 (says Princevault). Although I swear he was listed on ATWIAD. Maybe not.


Gonna read about it
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Reply #9 posted 10/15/18 10:33am

paisleypark4

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I think Larry Levan was big in making his own extended mixes right from the album using 2 of the same lps
[Edited 10/15/18 10:35am]
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Reply #10 posted 10/16/18 3:19pm

Cinny

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Definitely splicing tape, cutting pieces of sections and hanging them on the wall to arrange them, and splicing them together.

Prince usually did overdubs on top of edits with new vocals and instruments.

My favorite edits are by the Latin Rascals because they would do very tiny beats that these days would just be reprogrammed or sample triggers. A labour of love for sure.

You can kinda tell because sometimes they don't keep the right tempo, but they were often verifying it with the ruler-length of the tape pieces.

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Reply #11 posted 10/17/18 3:50pm

coldcoffeeandc
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I have never once considered how this was done. Potentially one of he most interesting things I’ve read in so long and what a skill and labour of love. Mind blown.
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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > How did they make 12" versions in the 80s?