ReAmping Drums

December 30th, 2007
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Goh Nakamura and I have been back in the studio to do a few mixdowns of his new album. After weeks of editing and some last minute rerecording of his songs, we made it back to the Hangar. We have some drum tracks from a session recorded earlier in the year. The drums were ok, but lacked something. While in the shower this morning, I thought about a crazy idea of reamping the old tracks, and rerecording them through the same mic setup employed during our tracking session: D12, D19, and Coles and RCA Ribbons.

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I mentioned this idea to Bryce, who came up with a crazy setup using an ampeg and a genelec. We setup a little submix going out to the amps and set up the microphones to capture some of the great room sound at the Hangar. The result was really cool, and gave the drums some life that was lost from being recorded in a small room.

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When I get the time, I’m going to give this a try with sampled drums to see what happens. This might make for an interesting drum machine / natural ambience refill.

Music Production with Reason 4 DVD

December 24th, 2007
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The Music Production with Reason 4.0 DVD has been available for about a month now directly from Groovebox Music’s website, but it’s just now making it into stores… namely the Prop Shop! This should make it easier to obtain the boxed version for people in Europe! Naturally if you don’t want to wait, the tutorial is available as a digital download directly from the publisher. I’m not sure who is carrying the boxed version here in the US, but google around for the title to find the best deals.

Electronic Musician - Reason 4.0 Articles

December 22nd, 2007
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I have a couple of articles published in the January 2008 issue of Electronic Musician Magazine. One article discusses some of the important keyboard commands that make using the new sequencer more efficient. Some important notes about effectively using the ReGroove Mixer, and some cool RPG-8 tricks. The other article is a sound design tutorial that shows some off the features of Combinator 2 and using Thor as a filter device. I’m not sure if these will be available online, but I’ll certainly post a link up if they are made available digitally.

Recording Session with Goh Nakamura

November 21st, 2007
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Over the weekend I switched hats to indulge in some serious vintage analog style recording at the Hangar Studios in Sacramento. I’ve been to this facility many times, but this was the first time I’ve had the pleasure of working in the space.

For over a year now, I’ve been helping my friend, Goh Nakamura try to find a recording style that suited his music. Obviously with a strong Beatles influence, the Revolution REDD and RS have been instrumental in achieving the tone Goh wanted for his next album, and after months of experimenting we were ready to finally get this project recorded (to pro tools - but we seriously contemplated the use of tape!)

After months of writing and home recording the base tracks of his new material, Goh and I planned to get his tracks recorded. Goh’s first album Daylight Savings is basically a home recording session of voice and acoustic guitar. The arrangements are very well done, and the unpolished feel adds to the charm of the album. This new project is much different as Goh has been working with other musicians including drummer, Tim Bulkley, Bassist Justin Miller, and pianist Adam Shulman.

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Bryce Gonzales engineered our session using a variety mics including some great RCA and Coles ribbon mics. On vocals we used the Wunder Audio CM-7, a U-47 clone, running through the REDD.47 into a RS-124 into a UA 2192 converter. This was the magic signal path! Tim Bulkley had a procured a vintage 1950s Gretch kit with a killer tone, and with the acoustics of the Hanger space, we nailed a great drum sound using a vintage AKG D12 (into a V72) and an AKG D19 running through another Revolution REDD.47 mic pre. We even had to apply some tea towels to balance the levels.

Bryce set up Justin with an old Ampeg flip-top, and employed a prototype of his custom guitar head for Goh’s electric guitar parts. Adam was set up with several keyboards including a Rhodes Eighty-Eight, an old Wurlitzer, and even an Arp Odyssey. The Odyssey was a bit worn down and had some broken sliders (like most arps) but i managed to program a few cool patches on it. I also used some moogerfoogers on the electric pianos which were fed into a fender twin. Adam even worked in a pump organ part on one of the tracks.

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On the second day of recording, some of Goh and Tim’s bandmates, Sadie and Han from The Invisible Cities, dropped in an added backing vocals to the tracks. Again we used that CM7 and had Goh and Sadie position themselves at different distances to balance the levels while we tracked them on the same microphone. On a different song we set up a little chorus of five on the mic.

The Hangar is simply a great sounding room, and with the great mics at our disposal we were able to get a sound worthy of the musicial skill of the guys performing. In two days we recorded 9 tracks; however one track was just an impromptu jam session - i punched record while the guys were fooling around and it sounded great. Bryce did a great job with the tracking. We may have spent a little too much time getting mic placements, but mixing this album is going to be easy because of our initial efforts.

Coincidentally, this session happened just as Goh’s Video for “Embarcadero Blues” was featured on YouTube. In a matter of days, his music has been heard by hundreds of thousands of people, and so this new album seems to be coming at a most opportune time. Goh’s PR man, Gary Chou, was busy taking photos and video of the session, and I taped a bit of the behind the scenes action and posted it up:


Visit with the Propellerhead Programmers

November 16th, 2007
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Dan Engelbrecht and Peter Sjöllen were in California last week for some programming workshops on the apple campus. I managed to catch up with them a couple of evenings to hang out and enjoy some nice dinners. The three of us went out to one of my local favorites, Gochi in Cupertino where I had them sample the Kim Chee Pizza. Peter even attempted to eat it with Chopsticks!

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Later on in the week, I organized a big group function with some fellow Reason 4.0 sound designers and beta testers at Amber India - one of the better Indian restaurants in the area. Dan and Peter finally had the opportunity to attach faces and personalities to the names from the Propellerhead user forum. Hopefully they weren’t too annoyed by the constant questions about Reason 4.0 and that pesky broken Leopard library that disables Recycle 2.1.

Afterwards we went to catch up with Rick Silvestri who had a show at a pub in Cupertino. Rick plays bass with the Ry Kihn Band and tried to get the group to learn his new “I AM THOR” song. I’m guessing these serious rockers weren’t into it, so Rick stepped up to the mic in the middle of the set and started doing his best impression of the Reason 4.0 patch.

Marie & Gordon’s Wedding

November 5th, 2007
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Last weekend, my dear friend Marie and her fiance, Gordon, finally tied the knot. It turned out to be an amazing weekend in Carmel. The weather was beautiful and warm. Gordon’s family came in from Scotland, and Marie’s friends and family travelled from Japan, the northeast, and the midwest.

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The wedding ceremony was an eclectic blend of traditions. Marie made a stunning bride and wore a red Japanese silk robe over a traditional dress while Gordon and his groomsmen were in kilts. It was like scene from Highlander 3! I’m kidding… sorta… There were bagpipe players, Marie’s mother sang a traditional Japanese piece, and their friend, (Rev) Kurt Elling, presented a touching service. There was no shortage of wonderful music this day. At the reception, Gordon and Kurt had a little impromptu session.

Thanks to the internets, some video of Marie’s Wedding is online:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sspjrRL0a3c

Upcoming Producers Conferences

October 11th, 2007
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Already? Really? Yep, there are a slew of Producers Conferences slated for the coming weeks. I wont be heading to Europe, but go see James do his thing in Oslo and Gothenburg. I’ll be in Hollywood a week from Saturday and in New York in November. The US tour is going to be pretty cool with some indepth looks into the new sequencer, and ReGroove, and of course, THOR!

Keep an eye out on the Producers Conference page