Monday, June 25, 2007

Contraband Recording

Well, for those of you that got a blank post in your email, well,.. oops. Here's the real deal. We have a busy week. Allen Corneau will be mastering projects for Christy Suggett, and yes, the Anne Loo project. Yea! I'm still talking with several new artists about projects for the Fall, and I'm going to be talking to the Drop Trio about finally doing their project.

Now that the housekeeping is done, I can relate what went down yesterday at Maple Leaf Studios. MLS is really the home of Zac, Lucy, and Ken Valentino--the three members of Contraband. We officially embarked on a two CD project yesterday. The first CD is of CBand arrangements of cover songs. John Griffin joined us in the effort which entailed bringing a bunch of my and John's gear over to Ken's home and transforming his living room into a studio. New Paradigm recording, for sure. Our mission was to record the band olde-school-style, no net: We recorded all of the playing and singing at once (how about THAT o' contrived record makers). Once we got in the groove, we didn't think about the process at all. We just recorded some great performances. We did 10 songs, and we got about half of them on the first take. Lucy had some awesome chopped beef sandwiches to keep us going, as well as cookies, coffee, and of course, Diet Coke. I'm not really sure that we appreciated how well we did until later. I am really pleased with the results. The recording was about the musicianship--not the gee-whiz of the process. Very well done, indeed.

Here are some shots from the day:

Here is Ken's "Contraption" (as Lucy has dubbed it). Ken plays guitar, hi-hat, porch board, and sings. All at the same time. This is his rig:

Here's Lucy wondering wtf we are doing to her living room:

Here's a view looking back towards the front of the room. You can see 'the contraption' area being blocked off with blankets to prevent hat-bleed:

Lucy, singing and playing at the same time:

Here's Zac and Ken:

I love this shot,... You can almost see it in Ken's face,..."left foot, hat,... left foot hat,...." How in the world does he play with both hands, both feet, and sing?

As you can see, my job was easy. I hung out on the couch and did quality control. I did get to put my hands on the gear,.... maybe twice. John did a killer job of that. So I got to hang out like Rick Ruben, chillin' with my homies (or doggies), Holly and Winnie.

By the way, the part of Ken's 'contraption' at the top of this post, is the porch board (with Ken's special clod-hopper, 'trigger shoe', resting on top). The porch board is an electric device that, when plugged into an amp, makes a sound like your foot keeping time on an old porch. Next year's model will probably have a midi out port. ;)

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Short Breather, KPFT INTERVIEW

Anne Loo's project is finished, except for the mastering. Wow. THAT was one hell of a ride. Thank you, Anne. And Brad, and Peter, and Hannah. And Steve, and Eric, and Matt, and Paul, and Dennis, and Max, and Rick, and Jose Miguel. The music is amazing, and the journey was one that will mark the past year and a half in a wonderful way. If it's ok with Anne, I'll post some of the music on this site after it's mastered. I hope that everyone reading this gets to hear Anne's amazing songs.

Right now, I'm getting ready to record a TWO CD SET for Ken Valentino's Contraband. John Griffin is going to engineer, and I am very excited with the rehearsals. We're going to do a cover song CD, and an original song CD. Both will be very original. I'll write more about that project soon.

I'm making great headway on Jennifer Grassman's Christmas CD. I'm about half way through the writing and arranging and recording and mixing (whew) of what will also be a two CD set. (What the HELL am I thinking with all of these double CD's,... I am grateful for the work).

I'm also working on Sara Hickman's arrangments, (but don't tell her,.. it's a surprise), and Kevin Ryan and I are getting started working with Sarah Sharp's (the original Sarah) band on arrangements for her new CD.

Even though I have all of that going on, I'm considering this to be a bit of downtime for me. I'm getting ready to go to the annual Tape Op Conference in Tucson on Thursday. Allen Corneau will fly up there with me. I'm honored with the task of moderating the mastering panel this year, and I'm pumped about that. Christine Wu will be joining us on Friday as she wings it over from LA to do the Tape Op hang for the first time.

Today I was a guest on the local Pacifia affiliate, KPFT 90.1. The show was the Living Arts show. The format of the show is to interview artists and discuss their work. This was exciting for me because I usually am interviewed about my work in support of the artist I'm working with. This time I was the artist in question. Check this link for the show.

I'm the second guest, and I got a whopping 35 minutes of the show. I played Kawasaki Green, by the SK-1 Project, Anne Loo's Perfect Rainy Day, and part of Christine Wu's and my composition, Darkest Night at the end of the show. During the rest of the time I waxed prolific on all sorts of topics ranging from the state of the music industry (local and international), as well as iPods vs. LP's (those old big black CD things that played with a needle). It was a TON of fun.

Finally, in this multimedia age, I made an avant garde video resume for a performance art piece in NYC. The video is mostly a delivery system for the music, but I had a good time doing it. I found it to be a BRUTAL experience to edit footage of my face. ROUGH! The music is all stuff that I have produced, performed, composed, or mixed. You can check it out below thanks to youtube. Woot.