Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 kicked ass

I was skeptical about 2013. "13" had me kinda freaked out.. but as things progressed, things got awesome. Here it is.. 13 reasons why I was way into 2013:

1. First full year of Sonelab. We opened in May of 2012 so 2013 has been our first 365 day routine. I have absolutely no complaints!

2. A shit ton of records I worked on in 2012 were released and it felt really good to see these bands go out and promote these records. I don't need to name names. I didn't work on a single stinker!

3. I got to work on a shit ton of awesome records that will see release in 2014!

4. I upgraded my console. I recorded on a Tac Scoprion for a long long time. I had two of them in fact! in 2013 I upgraded to an MCI JH636 console. I love it. It's got decent mic preamps, EQs that totally rock (especially the four Troisi EQs), and a TON of awesome headroom.

5. I got another Lynx Aurora A/DD/A. This means I have 24 simultaneous Pro Tools I/O. This is not a very fun purchase, but every aspect of it makes me feel like a "real studio owner" - plus.. 16 i/o is not the type of limitation that's fun to work with in the digital world. And I guess this paves the way for me getting a 2" 24 track at some point!! Though a 16 track would be awesome, too!

6. My Tascam MS-16 is fully functional. All channels work and sound good! I cut at least 8 records on tape this year and I had just gotten it cal'd in June!

7. My Ampex 440c is now fully functional as well! This means I can stop using it as a tape echo and start cutting mixes to it!

8. I started using Coles 4038s in conjunction with my ADR Compex compressor for overhead mics. I hate it for some records and absolutely LOVE it on other records!

9. Working my ass off: I worked on more projects and logged more hours in 2013 than I ever have in my career. Because of this, I feel that I've become a much different engineer. I spend less time thinking about tools (microphone preamps, etc) and more time thinking about arrangement and performance. I'm very happy about this- but I still think about gear a lot.. haha

10. I attended the 2013 Potluck Audio Convention. This is an audio convention hosted by Craig Schumacher in Tuscon, AZ, where I was asked to speak on a panel about vocal recording. I was extremely honored to be asked to participate, but I also got a lot of great information out of the other panels. I also met a lot of amazing people in the field! I hope I can attend 2014!

11. I was in two music videos: Bunny's a Swine's Greetings from the Bottom and Magik Marker's Bonfire. My wife, Julia (many of you know her from scheduling sessions with me) was in Bonfire, too!

12. I was able to work in and build up the studio of my dreams (more or less) this year. I feel settled in, proud to be a part of it with Mark Miller, and satisfied with the hard work he and I have done to make Sonelab the studio it is! Our studio has definitely grown and now has it's own unique identity.

13. in 2013, Julia got pregnant with our future baby. We're expecting at the end of February and we could not be more excited! Our home is just about ready and it's been a lot of fun preparing it for the new addition.

That's it. Those are my 13 reasons why 2013 was a great year.

Happy New Year, all!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Long time no write..

There's been a lot of action since my last blog update. I figured before I fall into another long stretch of sessions, I ought to update this ol' blog.

Let's get down to business!

Things have been busy at Sonelab. It's really been awesome to work on such a great and diverse grouping of bands in the same space. Sometimes it's hard to find time to experiment when you're on the clock but since I've gotten so efficient in our space, I've been able to try things out without spending too much time with setup.

Before we get into that, I'm going to get you up to speed on some projects that I've been involved with since my last update.

Western Mass delicacy Blessed State came in to finish overdubs. We layered a lot of guitars and grabbed vocals for everything all in one day. It was exciting.. not a dull moment. Lots of Marshalls and Neumann u67 going on.

Our old Marsh cab with my favorite guitar mics planted right on it.
Deploying our beautiful RCA stand for 14' Coles room mics.

The very next day, Tom Cain came into Sonelab with his band. We essentially cut the entire record in two days. it was a lot of fun! The setup was acoustic/electric guitar, vocals, drums, bass, and keys all live in one room. This was a great session for me because it was the first time I used Coles 4038s for overheads. Why did I wait this long you ask? Part of the reason is that I've never had a microphone stand capable of holding one, let alone two Coles 4038s at the appropriate height. The other part is that it's never been a sound I've wanted to get.. until I tried it and realized that it's a sound I've always wanted to hear on playback.

I liked the sound so much while dialing in the drum kit, that I took it one step further by sending them through my ADR Compex. HOT DAMN.. It's a sound we've all heard. Completely classic and exciting. I honestly don't think there's another way to dial that in, either.. I suppose a Fairchild 670 would do..

Just a few days later, Hayward Williams came in to track his forthcoming long player. Hot on the sounds of Tom Cain's session, I put up the Coles/Compex setup. The drummer was Billy Conway. He's one of my alltime favorite musicians to work with. He's an amazing mind to have on your session. His drumming ain't bad, either! We needed to track a lot of vocals and acoustic instruments live, so we put Billy in the booth. The drums sounded quite 70s! Yes, the drums sounded great, but so did the songs and musicianship all around. 

Billy Conway's kit in the iso. 70s style.

My next session was in Brooklyn at a great studio called Seaside Lounge. The client was Al Huckabee. He'd written a handful of really f-ing awesome songs and had a bunch of great fellas on the job. We all had a ton of fun and were super productive. The songs go from Stonesy to Gram Parsons vibes. Altogether a unique look at classic sounds with a really great and diverse group of musicians. Since I was batting 1000 with the Coles/Compex thing, I made sure to pack the rig up so I could do it again in Brooklyn. I'm mixing those tracks as I type this and I'm SO glad I stuck with that setup!

I'm crazy.

I got home from Brooklyn, enjoyed two days off and hit the studio with Caught On Tape and Chelsea Light Moving. We grabbed a lot of improvs on the first day, and mixed them. The second day was focused on grabbing CLM's new tunes. We tracked and mixed all 3 that day and are currently undergoing mastering/late mix revisions. It all should be done soon. It's another winner!

Thurston Moore's Caught On Tape/Chelsea Light Moving rig
John Moloney's Caught On Tape/Chelsea Light Moving rig.

I'll breeze through a few more things:

-Blessed State: mixed! Mastered, even!
-Tongue Oven: mixed.. ALMOST DONE!
-Twenty Three Quartet: TRACKED AND MIXED! That was fun!
-Lost Twin: full length tracked on tape in two days!! Just needs vocals/mixing (no Coles/Compex overheads on this record)!!

Lost Twin is part of the Sonelab Eurocar family.

After all of that madness, Jeph Jacques from the comic Questionable Content came in to record his solo instrumental metal project Deathmole. We knocked out the record in 4 days and started mixing on the 5th. I could write a book about this session. I did a lot of things I don't normally do.. and got results I was VERY pleased with. I think Jeph was, too! We finish this record and start another one next week.

Last week Caitlin Canty came in for 4 days to record her forthcoming full length. Once again with Jeffery Foucalt producing/guitar/vocals, Billy Conway drums, Jeremy Moses Curtis on bass, Eric Heywood on pedal steel/lead guitar, and Matt Lorenz was our utility man on BVs/guitar/violin/pump organ. This was an exhausting session for me. I was running Pro Tools and tape at the same time, making sure the right people had the right instruments mic'd up (lots of switching it up). As draining as this session was, I think everyone walked away very proud of the good work we'd all done. Caitlin sang her heart out into that u67 for four days straight and didn't flinch once. We tracked upwards of 20 songs. I have no idea what will be on the record.. but there's not question that it'll be beautiful.

Billy Conway's kit for a different session, in our live room.
Eric Heywood's pedal steel/guitar rig set up in our drum room.

Like I wrote earlier.. I'm mixing Al Huckabee's record as I type this update. I'm at the end of the first day, sitting here, reviewing my work for the day. I'm pleased. Very much so! These songs are sounding very full, even with fairly sparse arrangements. The songs are rocking but quite delicate. Because of the sparseness, things should be "just so". In addition to that, all of the playing was so intentional. My goal is to not fuck it up - and I think I'm doing ok..Though I'm really psyched on using my Ampex 440 for tape delay and sending it through my Mutron Phasor on the way back to my console ;)

Rocking tape delay for Al Huckabee's record.
I fell in love with that there Northern Electric Vari-Mu.

In closing: I'm really excited about the very busy fall/winter I have ahead of me! There are so many great new projects in the works and finishing up some really fun projects I've already started!

I've been getting more and more requests to work on projects from out of town bands and I must say: it's something I really enjoy. I love working with people who aren't somehow related to the regional network of musicians. There definitely some excitement on both sides of the glass with such a new situation. The social aspect and the musical aspects are really unique and cool. And I'm not knockin the work I get to do with the fantastic local community I live in! It's the best and being here has allowed me to work on some of the best projects I've ever been a part of.

..So if you're a band from out of town that's interested in coming out to little old western Massachusetts to make some music, please reach out. There are a lot of great reasons to do it.

Julia and I are expecting a little one in Feb and we're both beyond excited about it. We're enjoying Autumn together and preparing our house for its new addition. It's all so exciting - yet I'm still pinching myself. Perhaps he or she will be part of the next wave of engineers.. if so, I promise to introduce she/he to analog signal flow before it gets anywhere near a computer ;)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Feeling fresh!

Hello blog-followers!

I'm just getting back into the swing of things after attending Potluckcon in Tucson, AZ. I was asked to speak on a panel about vocal recording, and ended up having a mind-blowingly awesome experience. I cannot wait for next year's conference!

Getting together with a roomful of other engineers to have some beers, share some of our experiences, and just get to know each other a bit is something every engineer should experience. I feel fresh, inspired, and unbelievably excited to get back to work.

Here are some pictures of the conference.

The view outside the hotel lobby in Tucson, AZ.

Live recording session, presented by Mojave Microphones. In a hotel room!

Vocal recording panel. Andrew Scheps, Pete Weiss (moderator), Susan Marshall, Neil Cappellino, me, and Michael Rominowski.


In other news:

I recently installed a new console in my control room. It's an MCI JH636. I've worked on my TAC Scorpion for many many years and made a lot of excellent recordings on that desk. Over the past couple of years, I felt a strong need to upgrade to a better desk and when this board came along, I had to do it. It's a tool that is already making my job easier and more rewarding. It features a lot of "upgrades" from the factory and some that were done after the fact. All of the channels include the "vari-Q" EQ modules, which adds a bandwidth selection to the middle band. Four of the channels have an EQ module made by Troisi. If you've never used or heard of Troisi equipment, do a quick look. These are very powerful fully-parametric EQs. Aside from that, it's got 24 busses, 6 aux sends, 36 channels, among many other features that make routing an absolute pleasure.

This is a picture of my console in its original home. Thanks Bob Alac!

Prepping for delivery.

Console homecoming party!

Ready for action.

In other other news:

July was a bit of a sleepy month for me. It was a blessing in disguise as it allowed me plenty of time to get my MCI in and working. It also allowed Julia and I to take a much-needed vacation.

I had great sessions with the Warblers over at Bisquiteen. We finished all of the recording for their forthcoming LP and are going to start planning our mix session soon!

Violet Clark came in to wrap up mixing on her forthcoming solo record. We took mixes I'd done over the spring and basically dropped a bomb on them. Violet had a lot of great ideas. There are a lot of cool tricks, fun edits, and great sounds on these mixes. It'll be a lot of fun for the listener because A) the music is great and well-crafted, and B) because of the copious amounts of ear-candy.

Blessed State swooped in for a solid day of basics! We cut 8 songs in 10 hours and are going to continue with guitar and vocal overdubs later this week. Needless to say, I cannot wait!

Looking forward, I have a pretty full plate for August-October. Many great sessions to come, including trips to NYC and Maine.. And a few that are going to be very unique to me.. Slightly removed from the usual "guitar, bass, drums" format I am usually involved in.

Here are some records with a release date in the near future:

Off! Live at the 9:30 Club on Outer Battery Records

Body/Head - "Coming Apart" dbl LP on Matador Records

Bunny's A Swine - "Calling Out" on Tiny Radars (This record has been "out" for a bit now, but due to vinyl pressing BS, the wax is just about to be released.

So as I mentioned, I have a full plate in August. September and October are getting booked with some dates left. If you're interested in starting a new project or finishing an old project and would like to do it by the end of 2013, now would be a great time to get dialogue going!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Making Music History

This week two notable releases were announced. Both were releases that I played a part in. Of course, I'm absolutely proud beyond belief when these projects are announced by media. These are situations I never could have invented for myself, yet I'm finding myself involved in the process of creating these pieces.

1. Bill Nace and Kim Gordon's Body/Head record, Coming Apart, is coming out on Matador. Read about it here. I'd worked with them in the past, and have written about it. This record will draw you in. It's beautiful, intense, and truly a masterpiece.

2. The Pixies released Bagboy. Black Francis and a friend came in last summer, nearly one year ago, to work on demos for "the old band's new record" -- and this song was one (of 9) that we spent a lot of time on. We tried different drum beats, edits, tempos, guitar tracks, etc.. What we came up with was not a far cry from what has been released, and a lot of what we recorded was used in the final mix.

So.. like I said.. I'm very proud to have been a part of these projects.. But it's funny because when we're actually working in the studio, I don't have these feelings.. the need to pinch myself, or any of that. I am working. My priority is to accomplish the goals the artist has set for the time we have together in the studio, and to make sure he or she is comfortable in doing these pursuits. It's really that simple. This is the case with every client and every project I work on.

Mostly, I'm proud to have a career doing something that I love. It's very gratifying to wake up and read an article about a record that I helped make. Sometimes it makes my dream job a reality.

Here are some other artists that are about to or just have released their most recent recordings:

Bring it to Bear - Too Many Books out now

Speedy Ortiz - Major Arcana out July 9th (preorder now!)
Aye Nako - Unleash Yourself - out now

Bunny's A Swine - Calling Out - out now

These are all high quality works and I recommend improving your summer road trips by buying all four of them!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

1 year of Sonelab!

Hello again.

I just got back from a long overdue trip out to Foxboro, MA to visit Joe Pires and Mercenary Audio. You can go to their website and look at once was.. but you can no longer buy anything from them. Sadly their day is done. Most people in field of audio engineering have probably purchased a piece of two from Mercenary, and if you haven't I'm sure you wanted to! I got to know Joe through Woolly Mammoth Sound. I've managed to get him to western Mass a few times over the years to tend to some matters at Bank Row and Bisquiteen. Good people, good resources.

Joe Pires at his station at Mercenary.

Sonelab celebrated our 1 year anniversary in May. It's been a fantastic year and we're very glad to be here, offering our services to the local community and beyond. We decided to host a huge party and invite all of our clients, friends, and family. The day went by quickly (as about 100 people passed through our doors) but luckily, Julia was able to snap some pics of the antics.
Frozen Corn putting a bow on the party.
from left to right: Laura Max: mother in law, Susan Rogers: mom! Manning the grill!
Partied out? Ian St. George, Jamie Pagana, Christ St. George, and a proud Matt Krefting.
Young Vega, Erika, and Matt, ready for some tabouleh.

Anyway.. back to some gear and rock-talk!

The reason I went to Mercenary was to pick up a pair of Urei 509 EQs. They were originally console modules. They were sold to Electrical Audio, racked, powered, modded (John Hardy 990 opamps are the make-up gain), and somehow ended up back at Mercenary. Now they're at Sonelab, racked in a beautiful Electrical Audio rack. I've already used them to add BITE to lead guitar tracks.. Here they are:

One channel of the new Urei EQs in their Electrical rack.

As I was saying, I went to Mercenary to pick up said EQs - I ended up loading up my car with a bunch of other shit that I'm ecstatic to own! The thing I'm most psyched about is this RCA mic stand. They certainly don't make them like they used to:

A teaser of this beautiful stand..
Other items picked up and added to Sonelab's gearlist: Demeter Tube Di (love these things!), a single Auratone for mono reference, and Neve 1260 line amp with Ives microphone transformers on the input making them KICKASS Neve germanium mic preamps.

So that's gear world.. Here's rock world..

Brooklyn's Aye Nako's new LP is OUT! We recorded this in late autumn 2012. They totally rule.. so check it out.. oh and they gave me the absolute sweetest credit I've ever gotten:

Bunny's A Swine's new record has been through mastering, test presses- the whole 9 yards. They're awaiting the final test press, the actual pressing, and it's OUT. The cover art is done, and it's ready. "Calling Out" is a fine, fine record.

Violet Clark of Grand Dutchy fame game in to record a BUNCH of stuff for her new EP. For the first time, I was able to mix a bunch of it. It was a ton of fun! Some of it should be trickling out soon.

Pineapples came in to finish tracking and then to mix their forthcoming EP. The songs have been previously recorded, but not all released. The band decided they wanted to get back together to recut their songs. It's got a great range of really heavy Sabbathy moments to straight pop-rock with 12-string guitar hooks. I love it!

The big one in May was Doug Ratner and the Watchmen. We (the band, the producer Ben Jon, and myself) really buckled down and hammered this one out. We spent 5 days getting basics, edits, punch-ins, and rhythm guitar tracks done. The record was demoed and rehearsed with their producer before hitting the studio, but even still, some of the songs took turns that weren't exactly planned. It was a lot of fun to see this happen, after listening to the demos. There was no shortage of awesome sounds to go around. I took some snaps of the bass rig because it was freaking AWESOME sounding!

The Bassman was clean and the Traynor was distortion. Amazing tone!

No shortage of excellent guitar tones here, too!

At the end of May, I made a visit to ol' Bisquiteen to work with the infamous Warblers! We had two days in a row - we totally rocked it, out meeting and exceeding our goals! It's raw, garagy, and LOUD. More fuzz!!

Bisquiteen's lil API
Bisquiteen's BIG C12!

June is here and it's rocking.

Lord Jeff came in to finish their forthcoming record. Cut vocals, comped leads, and mixed. The record sounds REALLY good and the songs are fantastic!

Bill Nace and Paul Flarety came in to mix a new record they recorded as a quintet with Chris Corsano, Dredd Foole, and another sax player, who's name I don't know (sorry!). It was recorded at a studio in Hadley and brought to Sonelab for mixing. It's full on, HEAVY improv. Blistering, even!

Dave Sweetapple came in to mix a single for his new project Skaeling Blod, featuring Terri Christopher on drums, Gurtle Kjellson providing vocals and moog synthesizer, and Tim Lehigh on electric guitar. The song was recorded at Bisquiteen just over a year ago, during the tracking of Dinosaur Jr's I Bet on Sky record. Dave and Terri snuck in for a short 4 hour session to grab the basics. Since then, the tracks have literally flown around the world and came back here for mixing. We're going through revisions at the moment but it's damn close and it's goddamn heavy!

The rest of June is packed with awesome stuff: Doug Ratner mixing, Dredd Foole and Ben Chasney collab (!!!!!), Yek Koo tracking and mixing, and more great stuff.

One of the things I'm most excited about, is to be a part of the Potluck Audio Convention in Tuscon, Arizona. I'll be speaking on a panel dedicated to vocal recording. Often times, it's the most important part of a mix. It'll be great to get into the detail of it with a panel of engineers who's experiences vary quite a bit. We will all learn a thing or two, for sure! If you're considering attending this event, I suggest it. Though I've never been to one, I hear it's always a blast!

I have plenty of openings in July and August. If you're looking for last minute studio time, please reach out.

Enjoy spring. See you 'round.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

So many new releases to check out.

Hey all.

A small update, here.

Sonelab has been as busy as ever! And much of the previously reported-on project that were recorded here over the fall and winter 2012 are seeing a release or close to it!

Check out these things:

Speedy Ortiz has released a 7" on Inflated Records. These two songs (Kaprow and Hexxy) were recorded in November/December 2012 at Sonelab as part of the sessions that birthed their forthcoming full length. They are hot tracks. Check it out on Pitchfork.

Speedy Ortiz has also announced the release of the full length in question. It's titled Major Arcana and it will be release on Carpark Records on July 9th. It's a fantastic record that we all put 100% into. Look forward to this release.

Bunny's A Swine's new record has been done for a while now and is starting to receive press surrounding it's release. Bunny's A Swine put a lot into the writing of this record. It came to the studio ready to be recorded. We did it with flying colors. We're all very proud. And the vinyl will be quite a treat on the ears!

Psychic Blood, another western Mass treasure, has a new 7" out. It was recorded in summer 2012 at Sonelab. They're receiving boatloads of good buzz. Check it.

Placeholder, who span the great big state of PA, were at Sonelab to track and mix their forthcoming full length with yours truly. These fine young lads rock!

The 26" bass drum in all of its glory.

Matt Lorenz, AKA Suitcase Junket came in for three days to cut his new record. In those three days, we cut 27 songs! His "one-man-band" format is amazing. Coming through the studio monitors, it absolutely sounds like a full rock band! Once Matt digests the fruits of his labor, we will move forward on this overdub-free record!

A small portion of Suitcase Junket's amazing setup!
Bring it to Bear, the brainchild of Adam Zucker, was in during January. Overdubs (few) are done and I'm happy to report that mixing is also complete! We decided to mix this record OTB (out of the box!) - meaning through console faders with analog outboard equipment. Due to the material and time constraints (and often distance between clients and I) a lot of my mixing is done "in the box" for the sake of instant recall. It was a JOY to mix BitB through my console and I hope to do this more often.

Lovely to mix with real gear!
More OTB mix shots!
The summer calender is filling up and I'm already getting some really amazing inquiries for fall and winter recording! If you're at all interested in soaking up some goooood sonic vibes, please reach out.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Happy Spring!

Hi there.

As the weather changes from cold to less cold, many of the projects I was busy with over the fall and winter are done and mastered and awaiting a release, or they're in the home stretch of mixing.

It was an amazing end of 2012. I feel fortunate to have worked on some of the projects that I did, but am also looking forward to what the rest of 2013 has in store. Let's go down the list, shall we?

Chelsea Light Moving's debut full length saw it's release. There have been countless reviews of this record. Read them all you want.. they're fine.. but I'd definitely recommend going out and grabbing the LP. It's heavy, brooding, and loud. There's beauty to it, as well. It was recorded and mixed at Sonelab by yours truly. Tracked mostly live, mixed OTB, mastered by Carl Saff.

To coincide with the release of their new record, they played our friend Trevor's birthday party at a house in Haydenville, MA. I was hired to come and record the show. I packed up some mics, stands, my mobile Pro Tools rig, and trekked over the river and through the woods to the house where the show was happening. Setup was abridged and the show rocked. My audio was sync'd to the video that was taken and the results are here. It's totally worth a watch/listen!

Central Vermont's Carton came into Sonelab for a series of short sessions to complete their EP. We set up for basics and banged out 8 songs. All live (aside from two guitar overdubs and vocal tracks). Two of the songs were mixed for a split 7" released by Negative Fun Records. Their EP is on their bandcamp. Check it out!

Guillermo Sexo's new record, which will be proudly released by Boston's Midriff Records, is mixed! I've worked with the band for years, and I think I say this every time: this record is their best! It covers a lot of ground and has a lot of layers. At the core is really brilliantly written and preformed music. We had some seriously-high track counts going on here. I broke my record with a count of 80 tracks on one of the songs, only to pull up the next song and hit 84! Since the mix session was largely unattended, I mixed it ITB. It was great to have the convenience of Pro Tools for this one, because with upwards of 84 tracks, I needed the automation! I also got to have a lot of fun with an old Tascam Spring reverb unit I got as a gift years ago. It's a beautiful-sounding two-channel piece, however it's not stereo. The two channels sound completely different and both very useful!

Northampton's Orange Television came in for two days of tracking for their forthcoming full length. The three piece came in with Mitch and Alex Chakour producing. The team-work was great! We had a lot of fun with guitar and bass sounds, switching amps and guitars around often. There was still a great cohesiveness to the tracks, though. Amps used: Vox AC30, Laney Supergroup 60, Fender Bassman, Traynor YBA-1, Epiphone Valve Jr, and even an acoustic guitar with an open tuning set to resonate at certain chords, set off by the guitar cab.. and I think that's it! Once again, badass drummer in our drum room = killer drum sounds!

In November/December 2012, I recorded an excellent band called Aye Nako from Brooklyn, NY. Apparently Pitchfork just posted an mp3 of one of the songs! I really had a blast working with this trio and look forward to making another record with them in the future. The word on the street is that their test pressing has come in, checks out, and is off to the presses... home stretch for that record to be released! Can't wait.

Body/Head came into Sonelab to finish mixing their forthcoming LP. This record is absolutely beautiful! We did a few overdubs but mostly mixed. Kim played some French Horn and Bill slept for a bit. Pictures to prove it all below.. Their forthcoming record is very close to being done. Having worked on their first EP/LP, I can tell you that the progressions they've made, as a duo, are outstanding.

NYC's 1-800-BAND came up for two days to rock Bisquiteen. It was a freakin blast! Four songs in two days, tracked and mixed. I hadn't been to Bisquiteen in a long time so it was nice to use all of J's great gear! The band brought a black and blue Matchless that sounded simply amazing. Apparently it was the guitar amp used on a famous "blue" album recorded in the 90s! Some of my all time favorite guitar tones!!

Dig the photos. Keep in touch. Reach out if you're interested in studio time, or just chatting.

Tascam Spring verb to be heard on Guillermo Sexo's next LP!

Mixing Guillermo hard!

One of two bass rigs for Orange Television's tracking session.

Super-cool-sounding guitar "verb"

typical of me..

Hadn't used the Ampex 601 in a while. Crushed room mics, thanks to the ol' Ashly.

These drums sounded great! More Orange Television

Kim poses with the French Horn.

Bill worked his tail off mixing.. he needed a break

The power of Bisquiteen (1-800-BAND session)

A very special amp.. (more 1-800-BAND)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Long time no post..

Hi and Happy belated New Year!

It's been way too long since my last post and to those faithful folks that keep tabs on this blog, I thank you for your patience.

Let's dig in.

Before I mention all of the great projects I've been lucky enough to be involved in, I'd like to let ya'll know about some upgrades Sonelab has seen in recent months.

First off, I upgraded my Pro Tools rig to version 10. Along with that, I upgraded my interface to a Lynx Aurora 16. The difference is incredible. I'm finding myself fighting with subtle phase issues, poor transient response, and latency a lot less than I was. What that translates to is high fidelity and better workflow! I'm very pleased.

A side note to those considering the upgrade: I debated weather to go with the Firewire or USB interface. Firewire offers more expandability but it's said that it's less stable than a USB connection. That may be true but I'm running an iMac i7 Quad Core with OS 10.6.8 and using the Firewire connection and am having absolutely no reliability issues.

In the amp department, I picked up a 1969 Laney Supergroup PA head. It's famous for it's pairing with Black Sabbath. It's an incredible amp. It falls in line with the best of Marshall Plexis but offers a thickness and heaviness that I don't hear in the Marshalls of that era. May be due to the Partridge transformers!

Rehoused in a custom cab. Sounds classic, though!

We're lucky to be sporting a 1990's Vox AC30, too. It's one of the better issues of this classic.

There's a new house drum set at Sonelab: 1970s Gretsch 13/16/22 with a Chrome over Brass snare drum. I can't begin to describe how amazing this kit sounds!

Let's move on to what's been going on around the studio:

Speedy Ortiz came into Sonelab to record their first full length record. It's just about done with some very small tinkering and tweaking left to go, then mastering.. This record is dynamic, catchy, heavy, fun, and addictive. If you haven't checked this fine four-piece out yet, please do!

Matt worked so hard he passed out.
I mic'd Sadie's amp with a u67 and 421. Go figure.

Literally moments after the final Speedy Ortiz overdub was complete, I jumped in the car with Julia and drove down to NYC to record Dinosaur Jr's You're Living All Over Me 25th Anniversary set. I brought the "Studio B" rig from Bisquiteen and was able to set up and get levels by the end of sound check. The show was incredible! I'm glad I was able to document it and be be there to see it!

Sound check
Show time!

We spent the night in NYC, came home, the next day and I packed up for a week at Clubhouse in Rinebeck, NY with one great group: Cold Satellite! We spent 5 days there and cut one hell of a record!

Clubhouse's fantastic Neve 8068
No shortage of tube EVERYTHING at this studio!
After this trip, I dug back in at Sonelab mixing some previously-blogged-about projects and recording/mixing the finishing touches on the forthcoming Chelsea Light Moving record.

And a great way to end 2012 recording: Body/Head. Kim Gordon and Bill Nace came in for two awesome days of tracking! We tracked the record, plus more, and already started the mixing process. It's an incredible record. In my opinion, it shows a lot of progression and development between the two of them. It's a very thoughtful collection of pieces. This is definitely a record of keep on your radar! While on the topic, check out Bill Nace's blog for Open Mouth Records.

A portion of Kim Gordon's Body/Head setup
Body/Head spread
2013 brought the finishing touches on the Rusty Belle record, mixing with Oregon's Sol Riot, and tracking a new record for another asset to the Northampton music community:

Bunny's A Swine! We spent three solid days cutting basics onto my trusty 1" 16 track. We dumped the tapes into Pro Tools and hit overdubs. This record includes a lot of textures that previous Bunny's A Swine records didn't have, such as brass and strings. In addition to those things, Candace and Emerson really outdid themselves in regards to vocal arrangements. They came up with some beautiful melodies, amazing harmonies, and had lots of fun doing it. Any fan of BiAS will dig this.

Shelby tried to tape op, but just fell asleep.
This happened.
The final project I'll mention in this post is one of Tongue Oven. Dan McLeod is the driving force behind this project. He write beautiful acoustic music, mostly on the 12 string guitar, but sometimes banjo. He has a great group of folks on his team, but this last session proved to be the glue that made these songs into a record. We had an amazingly productive day putting a bow on the tracking portion of the record! We recorded cello, violin, and even leaves in bags (see photos below). The next step is mixing and some editing.

Dan wanted to record leaves
So I broke out the 67 and we recorded leaves!

Before I sign off, I'd like to mention a few new releases that I've been lucky enough to be a part of:

California X - s/t LP - This record was and still is a blast!

Guillermo Sexo - Bring Down Your Arms EP - songs taken from the recording session that will produce their forthcoming LP.

Chelsea Light Moving - s/t LP. We worked on this over the course of two crazy sessions. Its release date is March 5th. Keep tabs, go see them on tour. They are crushing!

Bedroom Rehab Corp - Red Over Red LP - we tracked and mixed this beast in 6 kick-ass days! It's out and it's awesome!

Home Body - Traps 7" on Tiny Radars and In Real Life on Feeding Tube Records.

If you have any questions about anything I'm posting about, or just want to geek out, please reach out!