Saturday, September 7, 2013

I'm sooo lucky!

In the last year I have had the pleasure of working with:

Joe Crookston
Tara Nevins/Donna The Buffalo
Mike Doughty
Andrew and Noah Band
George Mann
Phil Grajko
Lore City
Big Toe Jam
Jen Cork
Newman Brothers
Rockwood Ferry
Answer The Muse
Ann Serling
The Aglets
Erik Balkey
Mill Bastards
Demos Papadimas
Tom Mank
Squirrel Hillbillies
Taki Masuko
Geronimo Line
Old Buck
Jay Mankita
Regi Carpenter
Mike Brindisi
Melissa Wrolstad 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Anne Serling- As I Knew Him

Today is day three of recording Anne Serling's audiobook "As I Knew Him" about her dad, Rod Serling with director Louis Milgrom! What a fun and interesting project! I had no idea that Rod was such a crusader for equal rights and against discrimination, as well as such a goofball dad! I always learn so much from these projects. Working with director Louis Milgrom has been an education as well. Such a pro!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wilburland 2012 Year In Review

Hi all, Happy 2013!

Here's a review of some of the cool things that happened at
 Electric Wilburland over the course of 2012.

The year started with producer Joe Crookston coming in with Philadelphia area singer-songwriter Erik Balkey. Erik is a fine songwriter, and with the help of Joe the two of them are putting together a really excellent sounding collection of great songs.

Ithaca favorites The GunPoets came to Wilburland to record drums and other basic tracks for their CD "Come With Us" Dana Billings at the helm!

Dreamy songwriter Bronwen Exter continued work on her amazing CD "Junkyard" with producer/engineer Matthew Saccuccimorano. Holy krap! Her CD is incredible!

Former Cornerstone fiddler and mandolin player Rick Manning came in with guitarist Tom Hodgson and fellow fiddler Hope Grietzer do a trio project of some ripping acoustic bluegrass tunes. They recorded live as a trio and it came out great! Grietzer, Hodgson, Manning

I had the great pleasure of doing a full length CD with songwriter Colleen Kattau & Some Guys!  Their CD "In My Name" "celebrates the power of melody and song to transform us all towards peace.  Vocals here beautifully blend with sax, guitar and bass to create an album that's a keeper in the mix." (says CD Baby!) And watch out when Colleen sings in Spanish…

Singer-songwriter George Mann also sings about political issues, but more often involving labor and the injustices of war. George really sweated the details over several months on his recent CD "Patience in These Times" and the time truly paid off.

A fine acoustic trio named Confluence came in and did a CD of mostly contradance music. Tim Ball on fiddle, Nadine Dyskant on flute and mother Barbara Dyskant on keyboards. This was another project where the three of them took their time, and the results are stunning.

Winter 2012 was also the final mix of an incredible CD by the Andrew and Noah Band. Produced by Dana Billings, this is one of the best recordings I've ever been part of. Period. You should own this.

I had the pleasure of meeting the Jesse Alexander band at last year's Winter Village Bluegrass Festival here in town, and Jesse decided to bring his family to Wilburland to record a CD! The process was old-school bluegrass, with the band in a circle and recorded live. If you like bluegrass, you'll love this CD "The Girl I Love"!

A really fun jam band from the Waverly, Sayre, Athens Valley area called Big Toe Jam recorded a full-length CD this year. The band came in with mature songs, well rehearsed, and recorded most of the tracks live. There's nothing like capturing the energy of a band playing together in the same space. The Cd is titled "Gravity"

Terry Burns and Ron Kristy spent some time at Wilburland this year recording guitar and voice for a track on their newly released CD. It is so easy making a good recording with talent like this. Terry's voice and the big room at Wilburland are a match made in heaven… The song is titled "Love Song" from their excellent CD "Caravan"

Terry's older sister Jeannie Burns also came in for some overdubbing on a solo project that she is working on.

Former New Neighbors member Nate Terepka has a really cool band in Brooklyn called Zula! Naturally he relied on his former drummer Dana Billings to record their basic tracks here for upcoming CD. If it sounds anything like their last CD that Dana mixed here, it's going to blow you away.

Singer-songwriter Patrick Brooks has a unique yet classic angle on songwriting. Generally falling into the Americana genre, Patrick has an amazing way of describing life in middle rural America. It's as if he is spent years and years driving down back roads and his songs describe what he sees out his car window. Patrick had locals Richie Stearns, Judy Hyman, Dana Billings and Ethan Jodziewicz play on his excellent CD "Rust and Weeds". Patrick has since moved to Austin Texas, but swears he will be coming back to do his recording here.

Mike Callahan's Mortal Combine CD project seems to be simmering on the back burner, but I'll tell you what, when it's done it's going to be tasty! Classic Americana folk rock songs about people, places, and times past.

Local fiddler Laurie Hart has three Scandinavian fiddle cd's balancing in the air. Volumes one, two, and three of Scandinavian Fiddle Tradition all explore various regional fiddle tunes from Sweden and Scandinavia. She is joined by fiddler of the realm Stefhan Ohlström, and guitarist/bouzouki player Andrew VanNorstrand.

Elmira's fast hard-core punk band Crystal City Crackdown have changed their name to No Time To Lose, and came into record another set of tunes for an EP called "Wasted Away". It was so much fun making records with these guys!

On the complete opposite end of the musical spectrum, I did a wonderful CD called "One" with Answer the Muse. They describe themselves as "a unique fusion of theatrical, spiritually inspired, transformational performance art." and I think they describe themselves well. Actually, that really wraps up the whole experience and I don't know what else to say except that I really enjoyed making this CD!

Anyone who has had kids in the last 20 years in Ithaca knows Vitamin L! They all came to Wilburland to record the big chorus parts to some songs on their new CD "Sing For Dr. King" We were joined later in the day by Dorothy Cotton

Guitarist/songwriter Tom Mank keeps popping in to record guitar tracks for projects he is working on with cellist Sera Smolen and Woodstock producer Julie Last. Always a pleasure to work with Tom!

I spent the evening with a fun hard rock band called Panhead! We recorded almost all the tracks for a three song demo in a single evening! Sometimes you just can't beat two guitars, bass and drums!

Ithaca's own Will Fudeman and Cantor Abbe Lyons came in with a very interesting project doing music based on the writings of Rabbi Arthur Waskow. Again we recorded everybody live up in the corner on the stage and the results were awesome…

Dana Billings and Big Mean Sound Machine took over Wilburland to record audio and video for a live DVD which will be released very soon! It looks and sounds awesome!

Dana also mastered 2 CDs for BMSM, one a studio release called Marauders and another called Warrior with Jsan
and BMSM. Both of course sound terrific.

Trombonist and funk songwriter Brian Turner made his way a few times from Sydney New York to work on some very cool funk tunes complete with extensive horn arrangements. Think old-school Tower of Power and Chicago.

I also got to record a good straight up blues band called One Way Out.

Donna the Buffalo has a new CD coming out soon, and Tara Nevins came into work on vocals with me at here at Wilburland. Working with someone of Tara's caliber takes music making up to a whole different level of detail and nuance. She's a pro for sure and you can tell when you hear the results of our work together.

IC professor Steve Gordon brought me a number of really well-written songs to record and mix. Keyboard arrangements were provided by my friend Jon Hilton from Hiltronex Sound here in Ithaca. 

One of the wonderful surprises of my year was meeting and recording with a duo called Lore City. You might describe them as psychedelic grunge rock, with washes of lap steel delay reverb and vocals full of emotion and angst. I really really enjoyed working on this project with these guys. Too bad they just moved to Chicago…

I spent a fun day recording traditional vocal jazz with the Mike Tester jazz quartet. Got a chance to record their excellent vocalist with my Western Electric 639B mic from the 40s. Perfect!

Dana Billings was in to mix and master the most recent recording by Beat The Grid. Super sounding stuff and one of the tunes has over 120 tracks! Yikes!

Big Leg Emma guitarist Kev Rowe flattered me by bringing his newly recorded tracks to mix here at Wilburland. Kev is a great songwriter and very good guitar player. But even more than that he has a voice that makes you want to listen to every word he sings. 

Another project that got me excited was working with Cielle and Steve Halton. The songs are strong, the playing is solid, the voice is clear, and the emotion is compelling. These songs have something to tell you. Hopefully the CD will be coming out this spring.

And then there is my friend Spartacus Jones. This guy has single-handedly showed me that GarageBand is not a toy program on the Mac. He has brought me excellent arrangements with very good sounds and performances which have been easy to mix into very good sounding songs.

As it says on his website, "Demos Papadimas effortlessly blends his love of American and Mediterranean roots music, mixing resonator guitar, harmonica, and bouzouki to create a distinct stylistic synthesis." It's a very good description. On this CD Demos is joined by Dana Billings on drums and bassists Brian Dozoretz and Ethan Jodziewicz, as well as fiddlers Laurie Hart and Rosie Newton

Plastic Nebraska guitarist Gabe Tavares came into re-sing the vocal for a track from his solo album with a band called The Thins. It's always fun calling up old tracks and remembering past sessions.

A local band called the Newman Brothers came in and an evening of wacky insanity ensued. The punky ska love song came out great, and I learned that they sing best with their pants down around their ankles. I'm not kidding…

Loud and fast punk band Mill Bastards brought their fury to Wilburland and recorded a 6 some EP in a single evening. So much fun and soo LOUD!

I did the live sound for a Joe Crookston performance at the State Theatre this fall, and we recorded the entire thing. Joe and I started sorting through the tracks and mixing some of them for a hopeful upcoming live CD.

The last project of the year was a reggae/bluegrass project with Phil Grajko. Phil brought guitarist/fiddler/producer Andrew VanNorstrand, his brother mandolinist Noah VanNorstrand, bassist Ethan Jodziewicz and Dana Billings on drums. The tracks were all recorded live in the corner of the stage at Wilburland and just wait till you hear this!

It's also worth noting that I did some pretty major acoustic treatment to the control room making it even better and more accurate for mixing. I also invested in some new and old ribbon mics to add the the Wilburland collection of over 50 microphones. Wilburland now has an AEA R84, a Coles 4038, A Western Electric 639b and an Altec 639b from the late 1940s, and 2 Amperite SR80s from the 1930s! They sound amazing!

Well, that's all for now! What a year, huh? 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Procrastination is the thief of time

I found this bit of wisdom posted by a guy named Peter Poyser on a the PRW Audio Recording and Music Production website. I think he hits the nail on the head.

"Procrastination is the thief of time." 
Such over production usually comes from a form of paralysation, its an avoidance and hesitancy  and is usually caused by a lack of proper pre-session preparation, proper musical arrangement, solid rehearsal, and lack of overall vision; is a curse of modern technological capabilities, and an example of how technology can impede clarity of perception.
Vagueness, indecisiveness, the restraining inability to execute an executive act, delaying with the subsequential need to record and hoard every little concomitant element however dubious its worth, just in case you might comp a tiny bit of it that just might eventually prove to be indispensible. Endlessly Comping Tracks, Recording Multiple takes of every element of the Mix.
None of these options would have been available to the Engineers Producers that Recorded most of the Hit Sessions that made up what we now regard as a Golden Era of Recording History. Every Artist and Performer needed to be able to "cut it", and where there were overdubs, track bouncing, tape to tape transfers etc. Someone usually had to "Commit " making irreversible decisions, they and their Artists would have to be able to live with, and which they would be judged by.

Granted that there are certain elements in a Mix that need to be applied to the Mix as a Whole.

But bringing old school talent and methods to new technologies. 
Preventing the endless capabilities from being your Master, and making them your Slave.
These methods put the Focus and Pressure on the Sound coming from the Artists and Musicians stood in front of the Mics.

Exactly where it should be.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Been awhile

Hi all,

I've let this blog lay dormant while I've spent time making recordings and exploring other social media. I miss this blog though. Look forward to semi regular musings from me on a variety of audio topics. In the meantime, here is a picture of the stage was responsible for last weekend:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The secret

The secret to a good music recording is, and always has been a good performance. Helping you capture a good performance is what I do best here at Wilburland.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Joe Crookston!

Doing rough mixes after 2 days of tracking with Joe Crookston and band. I'm smiling. A lot!