Begin the Begin: R.E.M.’S Early Years by Robert Dean Lurie:
Murmur was recorded during January and February 1983, often in two- to three-day bursts bookended by shows in Athens and Charlotte and one lone gig in Davidson, North Carolina. R.E.M. played the shows with their usual full-bore power, then went into the studio to recast the same material in rather quieter tones. In this, they were surely influenced by Easter’s view that albums should be self-sufficient works or art and not simply approximations on wax of a band’s live sound. The addition of Don Dixon’s expertise and discipline ensured that Murmur took a step forward sonically and melodically while maintaining the sense of experimentation and adventure that had distinguished Chronic Town. For the justifiably nervous Jay Boberg, whose reputation was on the line, the end result proved the best of all possible worlds: a seriously catchy album with fathomless depths.