Goodbye to Steve Albini

Goodbye to Steve Albini

Steve Albini, best known for being the singer and guitarist of Shellac, has passed away at the age of 61, as well as for having worked as a producer for great artists, including Nirvana, whose “In utero” he produced.

The news was initially reported by “Pitchfork”, before being confirmed by the staff of his studio also to “Consequence”. The artist was reportedly struck by a heart attack while at work at his Chicago studios, Electrical Audio.

A cult figure in American alternative rock, coming to define the sound of grunge and post-punk in the 1990s, Albini worked as a producer on hundreds of albums over the course of his career, including “Surfer Rosa” by the Pixies, “Pod” by the Breeders , “Things We Lost in the Fire” by Low and “Rid of Me” by PJ Harvey.

He was also appreciated as a guitarist, first with Big Black and Rapeman, and then above all with Shellac, with whom he had recorded six studio works: the best known, “At Action Park”, was from 1994.

Last year it was told in a beautiful article in the Guardian, reproduced here by Rockol.

Shellac announced last March 21st the publication of a new studio album, “To All Trains”, the first in ten years, for May 17th. The band was in the cast of the next edition of Primavera Sound, scheduled between May 29th and June 2nd in Barcelona. “We are speechless”, the organizers of the festival announced in an official note: “Steve Albini left us at the age of 61. We have lost a music legend, but above all a friend. (…) it's very difficult for us to imagine a Primavera Sound without him, because no band explains it to us better than Shellac. All our love to your family and friends.”

Albini, who has always refused the title of producer, preferring to accredit himself as a “sound engineer”, owes his fame among the general public to his work in the recording studio, characterized by an extremely clear and uncompromising philosophy. In the second half of the Eighties he contributed to the creation of “Strange, I…” by Urge Overkill (under the pseudonym Li'l Weed) and by the standard bearers of what a few years later would go down in the annals as post-rock Slint, for the album “Tweez” (as in “some fuckin' derd niffer”). Signing “Surfer Rosa”, the first, dazzling album by the Pixies, earned him the respect of the big names in the stars and stripes alternative scene, leading him to collaborate with – among others – Jesus Lizard, Jon Spencer (both with Pussy Galore with Boss Hog, as well as – obviously – with the Blues Explosion), up to Nirvana, whose leader Kurt Cobain – a great fan of the Pixies – fought with Geffen Records to have him in the control room during the working sessions of ” In Utero”.

Non-aligned genius, extremely eclectic – he was able to combine his musical career with that of a food blogger and poker champion, reaching twelfth position in the world ranking of the World Series of Poker Seniors Championship – in 1993 Albini signed the essay “The Problem with Music ”, a lucid and extremely detailed indictment aimed at the practices implemented by the majors towards artists (available at this address in full version).

Read also: Thus spoke Steve Albini

Among the very first to remember Albini were the Pixies: