Category: Studio Tech

Messin’ With The Music Part 19 – ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’

Welcome back to Messin’ With The Music. For this episode we’re covering The Hives ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’. It was originally released as a single in 2000 and is from their album Veni Vidi Vicious. It’s a straight ahead garage rock style song although it has cleaner studio production than you would expect in a lot of songs that fall in to the garage rock category. As with a lot of garage rock songs it’s built on a straight forward beat. There’s a single chord pattern that is used throughout the song with another chord added during the chorus. When you keep a simple chord pattern like that, changes in dynamics are used to make the song more interesting. In this song the dynamic changes are accomplished by adding multiple layers of guitar with different effects such as crunchier distortion. Other areas will drop out the guitar totally to change the dynamics. The vocals also add to the dynamics by being very rhythmic. It’s a fun song to crank up the electric guitar and play along with.

The challenge with doing an acoustic version of this type of song is how to keep a strong rhythm going without the use of a drum kit. In this case we decided not to put any percussion instruments in the song except for a small break in the beginning. A lot of the rhythm during the song is created by playing arpeggios on the mandolin part. There are two acoustic guitars playing the basic rhythm and are panned hard left and right to create the foundation tracks. There is a twelve string guitar that sometimes single strums the chords and sometimes follows the pattern of the other guitars. This was used to change the dynamics throughout the song. Bass is added to give more bottom end. A banjo part is added in a couple of different places for more dynamic change. For those new to this series we followed our basic principles: Play the tracks straight through and use the same single mic for all the tracking.

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Electrostatic Rhythm Pigs play ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’:

January 2022 Grapevine

Welcome to our first Grapevine of the new year. It’s been a while since I’ve been really excited about the beginning of a new year. First there’s the continuing nonsense and horror that’s been going on for a few years now. At this point it’s not even worth discussing. We can only continue to hope and work for change, but it’s definitely become a full time and long term job. Second, I live in the northeast. This time of year is overcast, cold, rain, snow, slush. Lack of sunshine is not a good prescription for ambition and happiness. So creativity can also become a somewhat difficult job too. But, as with every new year, we will persevere. Some of our monthly Grapevines follow a musical style or theme. I thought January would be a good month for a theme. So for this month musically, we’re going to simplify. Sometimes I just want to hear a good, simple sampling of garage rock. Straight forward, to the point. The kind you listen to and go, “I could learn to play that”. Start the year simple and build to complex. So for 2022, let’s hit the ground running…..

First Up: The Shadracks – ‘No Time’

Guitar, bass, drums, vocals. And there you are. I’d refer to it as garage rock. Some people might say punk rock, but I think in this day and age the word ‘punk’ has been twisted, bent, flattened and beat up so much that it’s almost devoid of meaning. Originally the word was more about attitude than sound. This song gives me attitude from that first chord strike. It actually sounds more like someone dropping their guitar on the floor. That’ll catch your attention. The band starts rolling in to the song. Four chords is all it takes. It’s like going downhill and slowly picking up speed. There’s a good amount of fuzz and dirt on both the guitar and bass. Then at the :50 second mark it seems like we’re going to step on the gas. But that only lasts about ten seconds. Then they slow down and start the tempo build up again. But it’s another false start and we’re back to the beginning verse style. These great tempo changes continue through the entire song. Even the vocals don’t really have a consistent pattern. If I was recording this I’d be saying “I get it, no click track on this song”. The recording is very crisp throughout. Not a lot of bottom end on any of the instruments. That works perfectly for this style. Brilliant way to keep your listeners off balance.

Next Up: Wavves – ‘Hideaway’

Let’s keep rolling on this month’s theme. Wavves “Hideaway’ gives us the straight forward guitar rock we’re looking for. There’s a bit more separation for the bass guitar as compared to the previous song. I like the double tap on the snare as that gives the beat a bit different feeling. When a song has a relatively simple structure, and that’s what we’re looking at this month, a simple change like the beat on the snare can have a larger influence on the feel of the song. The vocals are placed at a nice level in the mix. You can hear the lyrics, but they don’t overpower the musical end of the tune. The guitar playing has the same feel in the verses and the choruses, with the difference being a subtle change in the chords and some snare rolls added to the drums. Even though the production is simple, there’s some cool subtle effects and background in the production. The guitar sounds as if there is a second ‘ghost guitar’ in back of it. I like the sonics of the vocals. When all the other instruments are playing full out you don’t hear it as much. Listen when the second verse starts at 1:30. The vocal sounds like it is doubled (with some nice effects on it). However they create the vocal effect, it is perfect for this song. At the beginning of the second verse the instruments are pulled back to put the lyrics out front. “The field looks so pretty but it’s covered in land mines” is a great line. Listen closely to the lyrics as this is the theme throughout the song. ‘Hideaway’ does a good job of combining lyrics and music to create emotions in the listener.

Finally: Colleen Green – ‘I Wanna Be A Dog”

Let’s close up our newer selections with a song that has a bit more of an upbeat pop feel to it. This song is another example of how simple a good song can be. The guitar part is straightforward bar chords. There are both clean and distorted guitar sounds in the mix. The second guitar is either a clean electric or possibly an acoustic. And I would guess they they tracked the guitar several times. But the simple idea of multiplying the guitar part makes the song sound so much fuller. If you listen on headphones or stereo speakers you can really hear how they take the guitar parts and pan them left and right in he stereo field It sounds like there is a bass guitar holding down the bottom end, but it is just matching the root note of the chords being played. We also get a nice simple little ‘lead’ guitar riff in the middle of the song. They definitely want to highlight the vocals in this song. It’s a great melody and her singing is more pop sounding than garage shouting. The other thing that drew me to this song was the chorus. Such a great reference to Iggy Pop’s ‘Now I Wanna Be Your Dog’. I don’t believe that is an accident as not just the lyrics but the melody reference The Stooges’ song. Finally, I love any video filled with dogs running around. So Happy!

Retro: The Breeders – ‘Cannonball’

I thought I’d throw in one of the touchstone songs when you talk about combinations of garage, pop and indie rock. The Breeders were a band that were started when Kim Deal left Pixies. If you listen to bands, especially from the ‘grunge’ era, Pixies are usually named as one of the biggest influences. They were one of the best known bands for the ‘quiet verse, loud chorus’ style of song. Kim Deal certainly brought that style to this song by The Breeders. I don’t think they really thought this would cross over to a general rock audience as much as it did. I think the biggest factor in that happening was the vocals being more pop/rock sounding than the songs Pixies created. This song is fun from beginning to end. The quirky ‘vocal check’ to lone bass/spare drums intro is great. It has simple well sung verses with the Deal sisters combined vocals. And then the chorus kicks in……… and the rest is history.

From The Vault 3 – ‘No Class Lines’

Welcome to 2022! Another year has flown by. At this point I can’t say whether that is good or bad. Some things I wished would last forever (think vacation hiking, making music, friends and photography). The rest of the year? Meh. I was hoping the general tone of our world would improve and it sort of did, but just a smidge. We should certainly be able to do better. So we’re going to start 2022 on the blog by looking back. As we were searching through our files at the end of the year, we came across music that has never really seen the light of day. We decided to start releasing some of it online and began the ‘From The Vault’ series towards the end of last year.

For this edition of From The Vault we have a song recorded at the crossroads of Conduit changing in to Electrostatic Rhythm Pigs. We had a number of songs we were working on and decided the best idea would be to record live versions of them and work on production versions of them later. But for anyone who writes songs, you’ll recognize how you’re constantly coming up with new ideas and sometimes the older ones end up disappearing under the layers of dust. So ‘From The Vault’ is blowing the dust off and tossing the songs in to the light. This song is titled ‘No Class Lines’. When we recorded this live version the band was a three piece. The bass part was overdubbed later. Another thing I find happens when you’re recording live is your beats per minute starts to have the zoomies. The production versions often slow down a bit because you’re working with a click track. But not always. So this could have ended up slower, but……it could have been faster. We’ll see if we ever decide to do a production version. For now, I hope you enjoy the tune.

Messin’ With The Music Part 18 – ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’

We’re back with another song for our ‘Messin” series. This time we picked ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ by The Who. It’s always fun to see what you can do with a butt kicking rock song when you take it down to acoustic instruments. The song originally came out in 1971 for their album ‘Who’s Next’. When I heard it again recently what really struck me was the lyrics. I think that a lot of people who know the song can shout along with the lyrics. But when I sat down and read the lyrics in full, the ‘holy shit’ feeling of how relevant they are right now really washed over me. I thought it would be great to put out an acoustic version where the vocals and the lyrics are up front as the major theme of the song. I especially felt it when I got to the last lyric couplet of the song – “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. F#&! yeah!! Welcome to the 2000’s!

The song is anchored by two acoustic guitars that play the chords as arpeggios and are panned hard left and right. There’s twelve string guitar, mandolin and some banjo parts. For percussion there’s hand drums mixed lightly in the background of some parts as well as tambourine and shaker. We have two tracks of vocals through the song, some working as harmonies. All these parts keep the rhythm going throughout the song (it would be a fool’s errand to try to match anything like Keith Moon’s drums). We put in little pieces where some of the synth and lead guitar parts are in the song, which cut it down it down from the album length 8:32 to around 5:16. We usually drop a static picture on our covers, but decided to go with a video of our own little ‘mini dumpster fire’ which pretty much describes my view of our current situation in this country. Hope you enjoy it!

Electrostatic Rhythm Pigs play The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’

December 2021 Grapevine

Here we are at the end of another year. I had great expectations for 2021. Some expectations were met, some weren’t. It was definitely a strange and chaotic time. There is one thing I have found to be true. As you get older, every year gets shorter. I don’t know how to account for this in any type of scientific manner. There’s no actual physical proof that this is happening. But it feels true. The question then becomes what to do about it. The answer? Pack as much life in to every moment as you can. Live, dream, create. Take a drive down the road less traveled. Keep the people and things you care about close and boot everything else out the back door. With that in mind, let’s explore some more new music. With music you can always find a stylistic ‘road’ you haven’t traveled on before. You can create something new that you haven’t experimented with before. You can do whatever you want with no boundaries other than the ones you set. So in that spirit of discovery, let’s listen to this month’s tunes.

First Up: The Bug – ‘Demon’

I thought we could venture in to some electronic music this month. Evaluating how this type of music is constructed is very different than describing the pieces of an acoustic song. Rhythmic pieces take priority in this song. The rhythm is created using numerous small sound bites that are placed together in a repeating fashion. It’s interesting to try to concentrate and pull apart all the small pieces. You’ll hear sounds that are consistent pulses and at first don’t seem to have any rhythm at all. But if you pay attention you’ll find that even the background pulses will fall on the same beats per minute in a consistent fashion. There are drum machine (could be samples instead of a drum machine) lines that also keep the same BPM. They are set up to fall on a different beat within the measure. The same is done with keyboard lines. In the song all these pieces are used to create the non stop pulse feeling. Even the vocal lines are constructed with this in mind. The emphasis is on rhythm rather than melody. In the studio this could be constructed using repeating electronic devices, samplers or cut and paste within the recording software. It really does lend itself to a different kind of listening experience.

Next Up: W. H. Lung – ‘Pearl In The Palm’

For our second example of electronic dance music we have ‘Pearl In The Palm’ by W. H. Lung. Although it is built with the same type of rhythm first logic as the first tune, it falls much closer to a conventional song structure. The drum machine follows a pattern much closer to what you would experience using acoustic drums. You can recognize the snare, kick and other drum parts. The keyboards and samples accent the pulse and change throughout the song to keep the background interesting. They even feel more like a traditional bass and melody line. The vocals stay rhythmic, but there is a distinct melody line and the song is constructed to have verses and choruses. There are numerous places where small pieces of sampled sounds are put in to add a little spice and variety to the song. Music has always had the capability to move people physically. That may have been one of it’s primary functions in it’s beginning and creation. I still enjoy songs that make you want to move and dance. The great thing about music is that it can move you both intellectually and physically. This song absolutely led to me dancing around the house. It’s a wonderful release and a whole lot of fun.

Finally: Sturgill Simpson: ‘Ol’ Dood (Part 1)’

For our third song I thought we’d take a sharp turn and bring in something more country/bluegrass. I think it’s a great comparison to the first two songs in how rhythm and movement is created in a song. The song uses the classic bluegrass instrumentation: acoustic guitar, banjo and violin (in this type of song we’d definitely be referring to it as a fiddle). I can hear some bass down in the bottom, added in so the song doesn’t end up sounding ‘thin’. This also has to do with the way the guitar is recorded – when mixing you bring up the EQ on the bottom end. As with many bluegrass tunes the music is created in service of the vocals. It’s a classic story telling song and in many ways the instruments are used as a canvass to paint the vocal story on top. You can hear the difference in the tone of the song between the verses and the chorus. The verses tend to be lighter in instrumentation and have a more minor key feel than the chorus, where the instruments open up and feel slightly more major key. The fiddle often acts as a secondary or counterpoint vocal coming in between the lyrics. This song is taken from an album named ‘The Ballad Of Dood And Juanita’ which is written as a concept album and tells a linear story through it’s song cycle. That’s not easy to pull off and if you find it online it’s absolutely worth listening to start through finish.

Retro: Front 242 – ‘Headhunter’

Front 242’s ‘Headhunter’ came out in 1988. The band is considered one of the pioneers of Industrial Dance Music. The version we’re listening to here is a shorter version of the song. Dance songs often have album versions and much longer extended single versions that are played in the clubs. Once you get moving, who wants to stop? The basics of the song sound very simple. Drum machine that keeps a repetitious beat; keyboard sounds, using a relatively simple structure that matches the drumbeat and a vocal that again reinforces the beat. During the chorus the keyboard notes match the notes the vocal is using. You need the beats per minute of the song to be danceable. Too slow or too fast doesn’t work. There is a trick to this if you want something you record to sound a bit different. If you’re trying to keep your song at 110 bpm you could also try to set the drum machine to 55 bpm or 220 bpm. Even though those times are much faster or slower, they are multiples of the original 110 bpm. Most people will naturally dance on the comfortable beat so, for instance, twice per beat on 55 or every other beat on 220. I’ve always been intrigued as to how some dance songs that sound so simple are really difficult to make.

The Dead South Messes With Some Music

If you’ve followed our blog for a while you know we have a series we call ‘Messin With The Music’ where we take songs we like and do cover versions of them. We didn’t want to do mirror image covers of the songs. The fun is in taking the song and trying to do something a bit different with them. So far we’ve done that by playing the songs in a more stripped down acoustic fashion. At times that makes the songs have less instrumentation and other times the songs will have more instrumentation than the original. It all depends on where we want to take the song to add some of our own personality to it.

We’ve reviewed music by The Dead South before. They’ve taken the instrumentation and feel of Bluegrass and Americana and added their own twist to it. So you’ll usually see them using guitar, banjo, mandolin and cello to perform their songs. I especially enjoy watching the videos where they use the cello as the bass part and carry it like you would wear and play an electric bass. Again, a nice little change up that makes what they’re doing a bit more unique. Even with their instrumentation, they’ve always said that they’re not really a ‘bluegrass band’ since they don’t do the songs in a typical bluegrass style of playing.

I came across a couple of cover songs they’ve done videos for. I’m going to put a video of the original song along with it so you can hear the differences.

‘People Are Strange’ by The Doors

Originally recorded by The Doors for their album ‘Strange Days’ in 1967. The original is spooky with an almost carnival like feel especially with the way the keyboard sounds. The Dead South definitely kept the same feel going even with the difference in instrumentation. The percussive nature of bluegrass instrumentation keeps a beat going even without a drum kit. I also like the funny ‘flying banjo UFO’ video they came up with that really shows their off beat humor.

‘Money’ by The Beaches

The Beaches are a Canadian rock band that formed in 2013. Their original version is guitar driven pop punk. I like that The Dead South took a song that is not as well known to work in to a cover version. Their version adds a much more Americana based feel and beat to the song, especially the banjo parts. The video is a live version of the cover, so you get to hear it without any studio mixing and polish. By the way, The Dead South are also a Canadian based band. Good things from up north.

‘House Of The Rising Sun’ – traditional song, this version by The Animals

House Of The Rising Sun is a traditional folk song covered by a wide variety of artists. The version that is probably the best known was recorded by The Animals in 1964. That’s the version we’ll be looking at here along with the version by The Dead South. In this case we’re looking at two cover versions and the way two different bands decided to interpret a song. I like the comparison between these two versions as The Animals take on the song is heavy on electric guitar and keyboard so you can hear really hear some differences. In some ways The Dead South’s version is probably closer to the song’s origins as a folk tune. The Dead South version in the video sticks to the slower traditional feel until they speed it up and go full blast at around the 1:20 mark. Great stuff!

November 2021 Grapevine

November. Where we turn our clocks back an hour. Why? WHY? Daylight is in short supply anyway. I know, we don’t actually lose another hour of daylight with the time change, but it sure feels like it. Who wants it to be getting dark at four in the afternoon? I’ve always heard a bunch of reasons why this is done. I’m not sure if any of them are actually true. Bottom line, I don’t care. I’d rather get my darkness in the early morning, thank you. There are places that don’t change the time, maybe I’ll move there. Of course it would be odd being in one town, driving to the next town and BAM, it’s an hour later. Strange when you think about movies concerning time travel and the impossibility of it. Technically, if you could fly east to west fast enough you could experience the same hour of the same day more than once. Or call someone in Australia from the U.S. – your talking to them tomorrow! Time travel! Well let’s move on to music where you can consistently time travel in your own mind. You can listen to new music that sounds like it was absolutely made thirty years ago. Or listen to music you loved growing up. Doesn’t it bring those years all back? Time travel!

First up: James McMurtry: ‘The Horses And The Hounds’

Classic example of a great mix of what a lot of people may call ‘country rock’. Fair enough description I guess, but that description covers so much ground. The difference between a song of this style that catches my ear and others that I’d just pass by comes down to a couple of things. If you’ve been reading the Grapevine series for a while you know that one thing that makes a huge difference for me is the mix. For this type of song I think a clean mix with a lot of instrument separation makes a huge difference. For the drums in this song they’ve given the high hat a very prominent place in the mix. It ends up being the main time keeper, where a lot of times the time keeping duties lie mainly with the snare drum. Bass guitar is there as a bottom end. They’ve kept it fat instead of sharp so it holds the bottom down without stepping on the prominence of the other instruments. Good crunchy guitar sounds. If you’re not listening on headphones or a stereo with good separation between the speakers you might not notice that the rhythm guitar is slightly different between the left and right channel adding to a wider stereo field. David Grissom, well known as a session player, adds some tasty lead riffs. Finally, clear vocals where you can understand the lyrics. The lyrics tell a story you can follow. This adds to the dark feel of the tune and matches the lyrics to the music. Background vocals add that final touch.

Next Up: Willie Nile: ‘Off My Medication’

Speaking of time travel, let’s head back to my early punk years. This song is just fun. A lot of early punk rock was supercharged bluesy rock with a big old attitude. The song starts with a cool guitar walk down riff. Listen closely to the song right after the walk downs and when the vocals come in. Boy, do I hear Sex Pistols (for all it’s ‘punk’ notoriety, ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ is an out and out amazing rock album). Great little guitar riffs punch out throughout the song. If you chart out the chords it’s a variation of basic 12 bar blues. Another neat trick is at 1:30 when the third verse starts. The entire chord pattern moves up a half note (a form of tonal ‘modulation’). It moves up another half note for the fourth verse and one more half tone for the fifth verse. Each move up ‘tightens the knot’ a little more and keeps the song from getting bogged down in repetition. So the song feels like it’s constantly changing even though the chord patterns and riffs stay the same. There’s a nice instrumental drop out when they hit the chorus for the last time. Every instrument does it’s part and keeps the song driving forward. Lyrically it’s something I can certainly relate to. You know when life gets to a point where you’re just “WTF”! I think you hit a home run when you have a song that makes everyone want to chant along with the chorus. This goes on my list of songs I’d like to play for a live audience.

Finally: Wet Leg: ‘Chaise Longue’

Well, once I get in to a punky feel, it’s best to just keep it going. Keep driving it forward. This song absolutely revels in it’s simplicity. It starts with a straight forward drum beat and a two note bass riff. They add in a deadpan monotone vocal for the verse. That’s all the instrumentation for the first minute of the song. So simple, yet so effective. When they add in the guitar part, the rhythm section really doesn’t change. The guitar just adds it own repetitive riff on top. It flows this way throughout the entire song. During the rest of the song the only changes are addition by subtraction. That’s all they need to have here folks. When you break a song down to this level of simplicity, it works or it doesn’t. For me, this song works. For some people it may not work. I don’t have a crystal ball to predict when simplicity works and when it doesn’t (if I did, I’d be rich). My analysis for this type of music comes down to – does it make me want to bounce around off the walls? Yes.

Retro: Beastie Boys: ‘Sabotage’

Since we’re on a roll, I decided for the retro track we should just keep rolling. This song was a huge hit for the Beastie Boys. They are considered an early rap band, but when I heard their first album, definitely felt more punk rock to me. Their career moved to more studio and sampling wizardry and they became innovators in that field. This song harkened back to their early days of being a loud, thrashy three piece band (although we do have some turntable FX). Again, so simple, noisy, sloppy. But everyone loved it and a lot of people cover it. Not a lot of musical parts to analyze. Simple – still bouncing off the walls? Yup.

Electrostatic Rhythm Pigs – ‘Truck Stop’ – Live In The Studio

We’re back with another live in the studio performance by Electrostatic Rhythm Pigs. This time we’re playing ‘Truck Stop’ which was recorded for our last EP ‘Celebrity Prostitution’. As before we’ve stripped everything from the original recording except the bass and drum tracks. As a two person band this allows us to video a live performance. We do this as simply as possible. The vocals were recorded with a Shure SM58 mic, which is what we would usually use for vocals playing live. The mic goes in to a preamp then a compressor before hitting the mixing board in to the multi track software. For the guitar in this video I decided to use a direct in amp emulator to go in to the mixing board. The only settings used on the amp emulator were for treble, bass and mids, just like you would set up on an amplifier. I’m using a ProCo Rat distortion pedal and a digital delay pedal, the same ones I would use playing out live. To keep the live feel there are no cuts, punches or any multi takes on the video or audio. The original recording used multiple vocal tracks mixed together to keep a full sound. The studio mix guitar had multiple tracks as one guitar take would go to two amps covered by four microphones with each mic going to a separate track. Having a variety of sounds to mix gives a lot of latitude when you’re trying to get a real good guitar sound on a studio mix. The lead guitar in the studio mix is recorded separately. I did remix the drums and bass for the video to fill and match better with the live vocals and guitar as well as adding some EQ and reverb to the vocals and guitar. I like having the video show us actually turning the video recorder on and off. You really do get ‘live’ start to finish.

Electrostatic Rhythm Pigs play ‘Truck Stop’ live in ChurchHouse Studio

More From The Vault

For the end of this month I thought we’d put up a couple more songs I came across while surveying old hard drives. These songs are from a band named Oktober Skyline. The recordings are over fifteen years old. One reason I wanted to put these up for you to listen to is to show the wide range of music you might work with if you want to run a recording studio. This band played a style that was labeled ‘math metal’ or ‘mathcore’ (at least it was when we were recording these songs). Some of the touchstone bands for this style are Dillinger Escape Plan and Botch. What really intrigued me while recording the songs was the timing, especially the timing of the drums. There’s a lot going on if you listen to the drum and guitar parts. I’ve always felt that to do a good job recording, you have to gain some familiarity with the musical style. So I spent time listening to bands that played this style, bought a few CDs, blasted them on the car stereo. There are things I really enjoy when listening to this. One is the sheer power wash that hits you when you crank it up. Multiply that times ten when you’re in the room with the drums live. Something very liberating about that. I really believe you can learn something from any type of music that you listen to. There’s always room to grow. You might not latch on to every style as something that you’re going to spend a lot of time with. But your musical life will be a lot richer if you get past labeling music as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I’ve always felt that music, or any art, is subjective.

These songs were released on a four song vinyl EP titled ‘Oktober Skyline’. I actually found a page on discogs.com that lists the EP

https://www.discogs.com/release/586126-Oktober-Skyline-Oktober-Skyline

The songs were not named before they left the studio so the file names were just coded numbers, but I believe the first one became titled ‘My Hair Just Grew 3 Inches’ and the second is titled ‘Mandy’s Tape’. The band did put out a full CD later that you can find online and ‘My Hair Just Grew 3 Inches’ was included on that CD.

But wait! There’s more! I found some live video of the band. As usual in these older ‘home’ videos, the sound isn’t great, the recording is shaking, but you get an idea of the insanity of this type of show. I did record some tracks with just the drummer later. If you watch carefully he’s using a double bass pedal and some of the kick drum sounds are at the speed of a snare roll. Woof!

From The Vault

Every once in a while I go back in to the older hard drives in the studio system. Sometimes I’m looking for a specific track or photo. Sometimes I’m just trying to remember what was on that particular drive. When I returned home from traveling I took one of these jaunts down memory lane on one of the external hard drives to see what was there (in the future I’m thinking about also checking on material on the stored DATs which contain material from when we mostly recorded on ADAT tape and mixed down to DAT). When you work in a studio you find that almost every recording experience is different. Some bands (or individuals) will want to include you on the entire project, from concept through completion. They’ll let you know what they’re doing and when and how they’re releasing the music. Others will complete the recording project and move on. So there are a lot of bands that I really have no idea what happened either to the band or the recording after the studio work was completed. The particular hard drive I was checking on had some material that was recorded at least a decade ago. So when this music was completed, some in the mid 2000’s, the posting of content on the internet was not a given.

I remember the session for the recordings I’m posting today. The band wanted to play as a collective in one room which always has more technical pitfalls to work through. We do have the large room space to accomplish this. You need to mic everything very carefully and use the right mics to keep bleed through to a minimum so you have some separation to work with when you’re mixing. The other issue is if one individual makes an error, the whole band has to play the song through again. It’s live music – no overdubs or punch ins. It’s especially challenging if the singer wants to remain in the same room. For the vocals on these songs I decided to try something new. The vocalist had to be facing the band using a very narrow band directional mic. I then set up a large sheet of plexiglass between the mic and the band to cut down on sound hitting the mic. Worked out pretty well.

The name of the band was Eastern Accordion Ensemble. The two songs below are ‘C P Martini’ and ‘Action’. I guess you would put them stylistically in to the ‘punk rock’ category – although at this point that moniker is about as specific as saying ‘rock music’. The sessions were a lot of fun and I thought the music deserved to get a little space in the vast internet universe. If anyone has info on the band or the songs, please fire off an email or comment to us, it would be interesting to know where this went. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy.

Eastern Accordion Ensemble – ‘C P Martini’

Eastern Accordion Ensemble – ‘Action’