by Kyle Mittan
In case you're waiting to pull the trigger on Dave Grohl's Sound City flick, let me make it easy for you: It's well worth the money.
After Thursday night's one-time-only theater debut at The Loft Cinema among about 50 other theaters across the nation, the film went up for download on iTunes with a sticker price of $12.99. Sound City provides a superb look into what is arguably one of the most iconic landmarks in rock history, Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, Calif.
My word may be a little bit tilted on this one — I've been a Dave Grohl fan for as long as I can remember — but I've also seen my fair share of shitty documentaries, and this one is produced quite well.
The film itself covers the entire history of Sound City, and gives a behind-the-scenes look into all the major records that came from within its shag-carpeted walls. Records include Buckingham Nicks, the album that brought Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham together with Mick Fleetwood to form what Fleetwood Mac is today; Tom Petty's Damn the Torpedoes and Wildflowers, among others and Nirvana's Nevermind.
The story then turns to the science behind the sound, providing a detailed discussion of the legendary Neve Console, a $75,000 control board that made every Sound City record before being rendered obsolete by recording computer software like Pro Tools.
Throughout the film, Grohl beautifully provides a look at the human aspect of making a record, and shows the significance of being able to lay down tracks without the help of autotune and other shortcuts that have overrun the music industry today.
A rather profound statement from Nick Raskulinecz, one of the studio's record producers, illustrates the film's attitude toward the move to digital, and its ability to make anyone sound talented.
"Pro Tools has enabled people, any average, ordinary person, to do that now," he said. "But not so great is it's kind of enabled people that have no business being in a band or the music industry to become stars."
The statement brought cheers from The Loft's audience, as it helped people realize the importance of making music with nothing but organic talent.
Overall, the documentary provides a look into classic records from past generations through a fresh lens of one of today's best musicians. The end of the film sees a number of jam sessions from Grohl's Studio 606 in Virginia (which now houses the Neve Console), tossing together a set of new tracks with a number of Sound City artists. The songs will make up the soundtrack for the film, and the album will drop in March.
The film is available for purchase on iTunes, or from the film's website.