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Post Info TOPIC: So: how do we actually feel about Ed Buller's production for Pulp?
Which of these opinions comes closest to how you feel about Ed Buller's production for Pulp? [22 vote(s)]

It's brilliant and a perfect treatment for this era of Pulp
54.5%
It's generally good though not always appropriate
22.7%
A bit ambivalent, in the end I don't really mind or care about the production that much
0.0%
Not a huge fan, it doesn't work for some songs though it has its place for others
18.2%
It's a definite misstep, ill-suited to Pulp and generally doesn't work, with maybe a couple of exceptions if we're generous
0.0%
It's criminal and unforgiveable, and ultimately holds back this era of Pulp by misrepresenting it on wax
4.5%
At least it's better than Simon Hinkler/Chris Thomas/Scott Walker (delete as applicable)
0.0%
I want to see the results!
0.0%


Street Operator

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Ahh, this old chestnut.

A very polarising subject indeed. I'd be interested to know where the majority opinion lies...



-- Edited by lipglossed on Thursday 30th of November 2023 05:53:33 PM

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Ian


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I don't have a problem with it. I have always found it interesting to speculate what might have happened in a parallel universe. For example, Chris Thomas got involved earlier and produced "His n Hers" or Buller stayed on and produced "Different Class".

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Street Operator

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Ian wrote:

...or Buller stayed on and produced "Different Class".


 You'll bring Eamonn out in a rash. 



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The Only Way is Down

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Ian wrote:

I don't have a problem with it. I have always found it interesting to speculate what might have happened in a parallel universe. For example, Chris Thomas got involved earlier and produced "His n Hers" or Buller stayed on and produced "Different Class".


 

Can't even...



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Loss Adjuster

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Hmmmm. His 'n' Hers is more cohesively electronic and consistent in vibe compared to Different Class so it really suited Mr. Buller. I really don't think Ed would have been a good fit for Different Class which sounds more like a solid guitar band at play- still lots of great gadgets in the mix though. Ed Buller's sound is more glassy and ethereal, Chris Thomas was more earthy and workman-like- I always thought that even the contrast of white and black of the sleeves reflected that. Giles Acrylic said something similar about the HnH artwork that was just spot on.

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Hardcore

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i love HnH. I think one of the reasons it is my favorite is how it sounds... also very happy he didn't go overboard like Dog Man Star. that was a bit too much

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I remember when I first heard His n Hers and being a bit disappointed that it didnt sound as good as Pulp live. 30 years on, its probably as good as it could have been. I dont know who could have captured that live sound, but the recordings didnt quite match it.

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Peel's engineers seemed to capture it pretty well (Pink Glove, March'93 in particular). I do concede that a radio session with overdubs and a limited degree of tinkering, is always going to be rawer than the same song being put through an album session recording with major label money behind it, where each track gets many more hours of care (too much, sometimes...).

But I'm with Russell and his upset towards his violin parts being neuteured, specifically on She's A Lady.
Also, Happy Endings is too over the top schmaltz, possibly to the point of parody. Is that what they were going for - a piss-take Eurovision entry? Bit of a cop-out if so. The 1992 demo version and 2002 live outing give cause for proper re-evaluation of the song's merits.

I think some tracks work brilliantly with Buller's treatment - often the more idiosyncratic songs. Acrylic Afternoons, David's Last Summer and Street Lites being absolute hallmarks. In fairness, all the singles he worked-on have that Pulp pop magic that we all fell for although it's interesting that Razzmatazz was one which Pulp weren't happy with and handed duties over to another mixing engineer. The end result making Razz sound noticeably more muscular than say, Babies or OU. Buller also couldn't work his magic on Live On which is a real shame as it could have been Pulp's first brilliant single.

Overall, the boy done good but if he could have dialled down the reverb a tad and got Russell on-side and brought his violin to the fore (maybe he did try but grew tired of Russell's patchy playing?), it could have made a big difference. I do like Ed, though. He produced three of my favourite albums and whenever he pops-up on Suede docs, he comes across as a good egg.



-- Edited by Eamonn on Friday 1st of December 2023 11:03:38 AM

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I think it's 65/35. Buller's style definitely suits most of the songs on His n Hers through the heavy use of ambience while still being tight, straight pop. His work on the bass on some tracks is amazing and treatment on the guitar against the keyboards on songs like Do You Remember the First Time? are stellar, but he doesn't pull through on punchier tracks with DYRtFT as an exception. Despite much of the violin parts being destroyed on most songs, I think he did well on OU (although only mixed by Buller) or Have You Seen Her Lately?.

As Eamonn said with Razzmatazz being with another mixing engineer, I think the flaw for many tracks is the mixing preventing some of the songs reaching their full potential. Happy Endings, while beautiful, feels like everything under Jarvis's vocal is completely blown out compared to the other songs on the album. The rawness of Pink Glove and She's a Lady (which happen to be my favorites of the HnH era) feel completely removed with the reduction or removal of Russell's parts, the effects on the vocals and emphasis on the synth and lingering pad/chords. I also think Live On's exclusion due to studio difficulty is a shame. I feel like his influence on many of the other tracks like Lipgloss and Babies are rather asinine as they sort of sounded similar to their live versions, but they're well done so I'll give him that.

I like it but some songs could have been a bit less produced/softened. Acrylic Afternoons, His n Hers, Seconds, and the spooky sections of Joyriders wouldn't be the same without Buller.

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Well, i'd say HnH has a unique sound, which is what we expect from a producer. So for that, it's spot on. It sometimes could have been softer, but it fits the sound of the time, adding Pulp style on top of it. HnH is the perfect bridge from the late 80s sound and the 90s sound that was about to take over the planet...

That said, i'm glad they didn't make another album with him.

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Eamonn wrote:

...although it's interesting that Razzmatazz was one which Pulp weren't happy with and handed duties over to another mixing engineer. The end result making Razz sound noticeably more muscular than say, Babies or OU.


Good point.  I always considered Razzamatazz to be the best single of that era.  In fact, I think it is their best.   Had His n Hers had similar production/mixing it may have been closer to the live sound. 



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I think the Gift era had the best and most unique production for the band, even on the demos. I think one of the problems was the limits they had before their hit period no longer applied, so they took it far above for the post-Razz recordings. In this case, less was more. I feel like Different Class returned to that approach slightly before Hardcore (amazingly and gloriously) smashed that ideal.

Intro is close to my favorite for this reason; it's the closest to the live sound at the time (which mid/late '91 to '93 was their peak, followed by the last run before the hiatus in 2002).

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Someone Like The Moon

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Mixed feelings - but I would miss him if His N Hers was different. On certain tracks he does an astonishing job, those layered synth sounds at the start of DYRTFT are kind of the Pulp sound, and for that I'll be forever grateful.

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HnH is my favourite album, but I get that it definitely sounds of its time with some of the mixing. Sometimes it really works, sometimes it's a bit too much. Even without the violin issue it's weird knowing how much tighter some of these songs were (Peel session Pink Glove for sure) Not that it'd happen but I'd be interested to hear whatever came of it if they got someone to remix it all.

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I prefer the ed buller pink glove... might have to bump the unpopular opinions thread!

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me too, above any other version- love everything about it!

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Ah, that's my top track on Spotify (although part of that is that the algorithm would play it when my queue ran empty). Have to admit I still prefer the Peel version, alas.

The Bullet version, though, has a frankly INCREDIBLE vocal take from Jarvis, topped by that incredible "OHHHHH". It's still Pink Glove, so of course it's incredible. I think She's a Lady suffers far more (and even then, I still love the disco version) than Pink Glove does in the final cut. I also end up wondering - if it weren't for Buller, would Joyriders be even more straight-bat Britpop then it is already?

For what it's worth, those are the only two Buller tracks I really have quibbles with. I've always enjoyed the overblown-ness of Happy Endings; it fits thematically, and the album is wry enough elsewhere that the sincerity of the song doesn't matter. And DYRTFT? might have a special rawness live, but I arguably fell in love with it BECAUSE of Bullet's touches. That incredible frisson of synth in the opening seconds is so hair-pricklingly perfect, so INSTANT... the way the final riff of beep-guitar enters is so brilliant... the final dying wash of the song as it fades out... it's marvellous.

Buller might fail to live up to the live sound, but there's certainly a real value to having the band's breakthrough record sound so emotionally direct. That's how I'd describe the Buller sound. And it's a double-edged sword - Lipgloss has an incredibly addictive guitar sound, but they don't feel able to pay it justice live. But overall the music has this real emotionality that Pulp would always shy away from in the future. And perhaps that makes up for all the times Buller tries to make them sound like Suede.

I do think he erred with She's a Lady, though. It needs Russell's violin, and all the roughness that entails.

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I rarely favor live versions over recorded tracks, I really love studios tracks, because that's where the artist knows its gonna stick forever.

So Ping Glove studio version for me too

+ its bloody good. :D

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Since we are on that topic, do we know why they never record You're a Nightmare in the studio ?

It's probably one of their best song from that era. It was one of my favorite back then, growing up.

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I've never found a comment from the band re You're A Nightmare's status. It was recorded at the BBC a few weeks after they remixed Razz and had moved away from Buller, temporarily. Maybe they were having doubts about him.

Or maybe they were unsure of its status during the HisnHers sessions until they had to pick a B-side for Lipgloss and they hadn't decided on the LP tracklisting yet so didn't want to give-up future B-Sides.

Or...more likely...that the Peel version was perfectly fine so no point wasting more time on it in the studio if it's only ever going to be a B-Side.

They clearly rated the song though. It was played a lot at gigs in 1994/live radio sessions when songs like Happy Endings/Moon/David/Seconds/Babysitter/Street Lites/Kelvin barely or never got a look-in. So it would be natural to assume that they would have wanted to spend more time and care on it while making the album.

And that is more than I ever thought I would think or write about this anomaly! The things Pulp make you do....





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lipglossed wrote:

... the way the final riff of beep-guitar enters is so brilliant... the final dying wash of the song as it fades out... it's marvellous.


 Great description and completely agree. Talking about trying to make Pulp sound like Suede, I always though Trash sounded like Ed was trying to make Suede sound like Pulp. Always reminded me of His 'n' Hers with the belting chorus and synth string sound.



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The chorus of Trash itself is a rewrite of their own song, A New Generation.

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Eamonn wrote:

I've never found a comment from the band re You're A Nightmare's status. It was recorded at the BBC a few weeks after they remixed Razz and had moved away from Buller, temporarily. Maybe they were having doubts about him.

Or maybe they were unsure of its status during the HisnHers sessions until they had to pick a B-side for Lipgloss and they hadn't decided on the LP tracklisting yet so didn't want to give-up future B-Sides.

Or...more likely...that the Peel version was perfectly fine so no point wasting more time on it in the studio if it's only ever going to be a B-Side.

They clearly rated the song though. It was played a lot at gigs in 1994/live radio sessions when songs like Happy Endings/Moon/David/Seconds/Babysitter/Street Lites/Kelvin barely or never got a look-in. So it would be natural to assume that they would have wanted to spend more time and care on it while making the album.

And that is more than I ever thought I would think or write about this anomaly! The things Pulp make you do....




 

Could be any of those right, Pulp being Pulp biggrin. Radio recordings bug me because they have that fat radio sound, with radio mics and radio equipments. They sound like... radio. Even those special sessions like Peel have that radio sound. 

Noel Gallagher did the same thing with Dead in the Water in 2017, and what shame. A good or great song should always get the studio treatment. Imagine the Beatles never recording Strawberry Fields, or the Bowie never recording Ziggy Stardust. Surely You're in a Nightmare is not in that category, but it could have a been a great studio track. Even only for a bside. 



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You're a Nightmare would've slotted nicely into the spot occupied by Someone Like the Moon. Would've been a much better fit tonally than any of the Sisters EP songs. But I guess they tied their own hands by not re-recording it with Buller.

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