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Creative producing tips

Advice from Craig Street, producer of albums for Cassandra Wilson and k.d. lang

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You’d think being a construction worker for almost a decade would have dulled Craig Street’s ear for musical detail, but in the last four years the 43-year-old record producer has become a finder of lost loveliness. Here’s how he builds a wall of sound on albums like Cassandra Wilson’s New Moon Daughter and k.d. lang’s new Drag:

· Stay open to chance. Wilson’s Daughter includes the sound of chirping frogs: ”You could hear them faintly on the track, and it felt right, so we left them there.”

· Give in to the Dark Side. ”I learn from what people are afraid of. That’s usually where they’re strongest.”

· Strive for la dolce vita. ”Fellini is an inspiration — he loathed rehearsal and adored it when things went awry.”

· Don’t hide rawness. ”Sometimes a little flaw makes a record real. It’s like a beautiful woman in a gown who doesn’t shave under her arms; it doesn’t detract from the glamour. In that way, I make records with hairy armpits.”