The other day my neighbor and I got into a discussion, and I found out that she was basically one of the biggest Beatles fans ever. She told me that she had all of their records, trading cards, ticket stubs from their last show at Candlestick Park, clothing, stickers, posters…. everything. And then she told me about her prized possession – a gold medallion with John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Mop tops and beatnik suits. She told me what made this necklace rare was not the limited edition photo on the front, but that it also had all of their signatures carved into the back. I couldn’t believe it. In this lonely digital age, I had found a super fan. I remember collecting baseball cards when I was a kid. I learned all about my favorite players that way. I based hang out sessions with my friends around talking shop and traded cards – it brought me closer to the game, and it gave me a sense of community… even if they were just cardboard cutout friends. I wonder if the digital music consumers of today know what they’re missing, not being able to touch and feel a piece of the music. Maybe they don’t care. Must be the fan in me.
We had a great week with Whitefish’s favorite funk band, 20 Grand. It paid off gigging endlessly this summer, as they got their keeper takes from a live pass through all of the songs – that energy definitely comes across in the recording. We are in the process of mixing and mastering the project, and it is sounding great so far – They have started a 20 Grand Kickstarter page to generate some pre-sales and get the project wrapped up, complete with a hilarious introduction video filmed in the SnowGhost control room. Here is a rough-mix-sneak-peek of their new tune ‘Dump Truck’ – Enjoy!
Thanks again to the John Pizzarelli Quartet for visiting SnowGhost Music! A few of the best jazz musicians of our time, John and his brother Martin are two current snapshots from the past of their father Bucky Pizzarelli, a living legend within the jazz community. John and Bucky have also recorded their fair share of pop music, John playing on Paul McCartney’s last record Kisses On The Bottom, and Bucky on some of Phil Spector’s biggest hits. When you add in Monty Alexander on the Steinway, a man who some argue as one of the best pianists in the world, it’s recording days like these that we live for.
As I work in the studio, and watch the leaves change colors here in Montana, I realize that there are obvious parallels in music production and changing surroundings. I know that the art we produce is directly influenced by our surroundings – but I’ve never actually thought about the seasons affecting mixes. Montana is gearing up for that annual white winter blanket, and I wonder if my approach changes at all. Getting ready for those SnowGhosts!
Tracking, mixing, and mastering 5 new songs for The Luke O’Connell Band, a group from our very own Flathead Valley. They work fast and furious, often only needing a take or two of a song before calling it good. It’s pleasure to work with them, and we look forward to doing it again!
The key finds at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2013 were huge collections of vinyl and turntables, and computer-based playback systems. That’s it folks, CDs are officially a thing of the past. Here is Jeff at one of the many record shops – this one was crammed into a room on the 9th floor of the Marriott – if they always had a room like this I’d only stay at the Marriott! We also listened to some super high-quality digital music off of phones and tablets. One of the coolest things we found, and bought on the spot, was the Resonessence Labs Herus. The Herus is a no frills, bite sized, DAC and headphone amp, and sounds remarkable.
Lately we’ve been finding that we are working much quicker using a combination of mics on a source, to paint a picture of an instrument in a specific mix – rather than EQing to get it to sit right. If we are very careful during setup to get the collective phase right, each mic adds something to the overall sound, rather than taking away from it. We don’t use all of the mics in this picture at the same time, just a combination of a few for the right sound. Couple this with a nice selection of amps and guitars, and the possibilities are endless – makes commiting electric guitar on many songs in a short period of time very easy. The microphones on this Carr Rambler are the Shure SM57, Royer 121, Sennheiser 421, Sennheiser 441, Shure 313, and Josephson E22s, all being amplified by Electrodyne 501 mic pres.
Working with musician Andrew Leonard on how to define what we love about classical guitar, and how to properly record it. SnowGhost has developed a very special method using Telefunken C12s, Sanken CO-100ks, and LaChapell 992EGs to capture the purity of the image of the guitar, as well as how it interacts with the room – with great success. Andrew agrees that the classical guitar, and the room in which it is played, are not mutally exclusive – that interaction or relationship should be presented in a good classical guitar recording.