Last week marked the final edition of Tom Werman’s run on our Producers column and, in the course of his finale, he mentioned a special mixtape disc he made for his family and friends. Many readers replied wanting to know which songs he chose as his most indicative productions, the work he was most proud of. We’re hoping maybe to get Tom’s input for a future Friday Mixtape based on those requests.
But overall, it’s not a bad idea, is it? A mix themed not so much on a topic, artist or concept, but on the producer involved in the project gives insight to that producer’s choices, inclinations and “sound” and there hasn’t been a producer of recent time as prodigious as Brendan O’Brien.
His first high-profile job came with Stone Temple Pilots’ debut disc Core. After that he became Pearl Jam’s de-facto producer for life, starting with Vs., their second offering. He also mixed The Jayhawks’ Hollywood Town Hall and Soundgarden’s Superunknown. Recently he has found himself behind the boards for Mastodon and Bruce Springsteen. Music fans are mixed on O’Brien, some believing he’s the quintessential producer of the ’90s into today, while others are put off by his signature ‘dry’ sound, lacking reverb and sparkle. This miniature capsule of a very small part of his output serves as an opportunity to decide for yourself.