Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mamadou Diabate

Some days I am simply a service provider, and some days I am part of a truly amazing musical experience. On Monday night I had the supreme pleasure of working again with kora master Mamadou Diabate here at Wilburland. He recorded all 12 songs for his upcoming solo CD in a single evening! Mamadou and I form a good team; he is comfortable with my energy and advice and I can deliver him the best kora sound he has heard. I in turn get to be in the presence of a true master musician. Who knows, maybe this one will win a Grammy! (Mamadou's last solo cd was nominated for one)

For you recording geeks out there, I record Mamadou primarily with 2 Earthworks QTC1 mics on a Jecklin Disk right above the instrument, with a Neumann U87 1 ft above the sound hole for shaping the bass notes. The recordings have no reverb added and very little eq.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Fingerlakes Grassroots Festival

It's been a busy time for me and I've been negligent in my blogging! Well, anyone local knows that this past weekend was the annual Fingerlakes Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance, held just north of Ithaca in Trumansburg, NY. This massive festival has 80 bands on 4 stages for 4 days and is just amazing! The vibe is positive and the music that you can see and hear is jaw dropping.

Like the Great Blue Heron festival, I work for Calf Audio at Grassroots, who supplies the systems in the Dance Tent and the Grandstand stage. I was the primary FOH (front of house) engineer for the weekend and got to mix regular favorites like The HorseFlies, Sim Redmond Band, Samite of Uganda as well as my new friends The Greencards. In my opinion the Grandstand stage is the best sounding stage, and it is a fun privilege to be able to mix there. The only band I mixed that was not on the grandstand Stage was another favorite band, SloMo, who I fired out of the Cabaret Hall like a cannon. This band hails from Philly and truly needs to be experienced to be believed. They totally deserve a bigger stage.

So now I am very tired, but still smiling!

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Greencards at the Chapter House

Ok. I'm just back from a gig at the Chapter House in Ithaca with The Greencards. I had heard about them and knew that they were a good band, but I totally did not expect to be completely blown away. This band is incredible! They are a bluegrass trio at the core, and tonight were joined by a great guitarist who rounded out the sound perfectly. The band are smokin players and wonderful singers, not to mention just plain great people. They played a terrific set of covers and originals to a far too sparse crowd considering their talent. And as if tonight wasn't cool enough, I get to mix them at the Grassroots Festival next weekend!
They are playing at Friday at 9:15pm on the grandstand stage. Don't miss this!!!!!!

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Great Blue Heron music festival


In addition to studio recording I do live sound, mostly for The HorseFlies and the Sim Redmond Band. This weekend I worked at the Great Blue Heron music festival in Sherman, NY, near Jamestown in western NY. I was mixing front of house sound on the main stage for the entire weekend, which involved mixing every band that played on that stage except 3, who brought their own engineer. The sound system was provided by the wonderful Calf Audio located here in Ithaca. Their sound systems and crew are a pure pleasure to work with, and both people and gear make my job pretty easy.

Festival sound is different than doing sound in night clubs. First of all, music festivals are usually outside, so you rarely need to deal with a bad sounding room. You also have far less time to setup and soundcheck, so you have to hustle and get a good mix going as you line check. I often start with a kick/snare/hihat groove with the drummer, then invite bass and rhythm instruments as I balance the mix. often, by the time the band is ready to start their set, I already have a pretty good mix up and so they they sound good right out of the gate.

Here are the bands I mixed:

That's a lot of bands!!

Now I sleep as much as possible and get ready to do it all again at the Grassroots Festival!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

More mixing fun with Lana Losey

Well the recording is all done and now we move on to the mixing portion of The upcoming Jana Losey CD called Blocks! I may have mentioned before that I've been excited about this project since I initially heard song demos awhile ago. I'm happy to report that the songs have held up and the mixes are coming together really nicely!

Jana's partner Melanie Peters has a lot to do with why all these songs sound so good. Mel not only played bass, guitar and synth on most of the tracks but has also been the producer and arranger for the project. This CD lake most CDs done at Wilburland these days is a combination of studio and home recording. Mel has been crafting alot of the parts at home with a Apple PowerBook G4 and a Digidesign MBox running ProToolsLE software. All of the piano tracks were recorded as MIDI and then we used the amazing new Reason Pianos samples for the actual piano sound. Mel brought these songs kind of premixed, and my job is to take the mix concept that she presents and "do what I do" and use my expertise and experience to present a proper mix. We're having fun and the results are wonderful!