Pearl Jam’s “Ten”: A Listening Experience with Mix Engineer Tim Palmer

If you’re a music lover, you’re probably used to the modern world of streaming, playlists and the solo listening experience of that comes with ear buds. But even in 2023, there’s something magical about the experience of listening to an album in its entirety, without any interruptions, and in the company of people who share your love for the music. We were reminded of this last summer when we first attempted hosting a “listening experience” for Weezer’s “Blue Album” with engineer Chris Shaw. The experiment was enough of a success that we decided to see who else we could wrestle into talking about a cool record they’ve done. Fortunately, we happen to know the mix engineer of another notable record, Pearl Jam’s “Ten”, and believe it or not, Tim Palmer agreed to participate.

“Ten” by Pearl Jam is a cultural artifact of early 1990s grunge and the alternative music explosion. The album broke the band into mainstream success, selling over 13 million copies in the United States alone. “Ten” is also one of the top 50 best selling records of all time, and it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2021. Do I need to keep listing impressive accolades or does it make sense why “Ten” was a natural fit for our sophomore listening event? This was only confirmed when droves of fans decked out in Pearl Jam t-shirts and hats started arriving at the studio. We even had an attendee that traveled all the way from Philadelphia and another who admitted that he lost his virginity to the record. (To be clear, not during the event. *Thank god*!)

Tim Palmer played an instrumental role in the success of “Ten”. As the album’s mixing engineer, he helped shape its sound and bring the band’s vision to life, sometimes adding such pivotal parts as the fire extinguisher, and pepper shaker. (Seriously. Check the liner notes if you don’t believe us.) Tim Palmer has also produced and mixed albums for a huge selection of classic and alternative artists, from Robert Plant, David Bowie, and Tears For Fears to Ozzy Osbourne, The Goo Goo Dolls, and U2. With the recent success of the Psychedelic Furs album that Tim mixed, he has succeeded in having Top Ten albums in the UK for 5 decades. All to say, I suppose he’s pretty good in his own right.

After the listening portion, Tim Palmer took the stage and talked about his experience mixing the record. He shared interesting stories about working with Pearl Jam and the creative process behind the album. He even brought an original Pro Tools session of his mix of “Oceans” which provided a rare glimpse into the deconstructed tracks of the song, and attendees got to hear his original audition mix of “Once” that landed him the gig as the album’s mix engineer.

We’re incredibly grateful for the guests that turned out to listen to the record with us. We hope to see many familiar faces at our next event.

Check out photos from the event below: