Zoë Knight – Come Here My Darling Lover

This was a fun mix. It’s as simple as you can get; 2 mono tracks, piano and vocals, reasonably well recorded with a nice microphone. The piano is a stunning 1893 Steinway Model A with a gorgeous tone, and Zoë is in full command of her voice. There were a few bumps and background noises that needed some repair, but the biggest challenge was to add a sense of spaciousness to the song, given the mono character of the sources. Also, the vocal track is a quite dynamic performance that required a bit of taming to get it to sit well with the piano. I used a lot of techniques, including EQ, a few different compression schemes, reverb, saturation, and delay. The final mix has a lot of ambience in it, perhaps a bit much for some but I thought the song called for it.

I’m happy with how this came out. It’s a real testament to the fact that if you have a decent mic, a great-sounding instrument, and a good mix, anyone can make great recordings. This Syren’s song is an appropriate song for Valentine’s Day, so give it a listen!

Eddy Dyer – Heart Of Your Rage

heartofyourrage-coverHeart Of Your Rage is the second single from Eddy’s forthcoming album, Love is At The Heart of This Thing, Right? We’ve been working on this album for several months and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Give a listen here:

Musically, there’s a lot going on here. Acoustic guitar and a single vocal take are the foundation of the song, with several layers of electric guitars (played by both Eddy and by Justin Spicer) coming in & out of focus as the song progresses. One of the more subtle guitar tracks was recorded at Battery Steele on Peaks Island, Maine, which was one of the most fun recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. Eddy also played bass, and there is also cool synth drone that runs in the background throughout the song. There are drums (played by Chuck Greenwood and recorded by Bob Nash at Wonka Sound in Lowell, MA).  About 2:00 in you can hear a kid’s choir directed by Eddy & Seth Bailin. The song slowly builds all the way up to the climactic ending. After I dialed in the final mix, the song was mastered by Scott over at Old Colony Mastering, who will also be mastering the album when it’s finished.

All that is well and good, but the real story with this song is with the lyrics, which are quite timely in this world:

After our fight, I let the cedar wolf lead me deep inside
into the angry flesh of a tulip, partially capsized.
When we washed the blood from our faces at the heart of it all
we could see the bottomless well behind the cracks in the wall;

It said,
“Illuminate the love that resides within the heart of your rage
Illuminate the love that is hiding in the heart of your rage
because later or soon, there’ll be
none but the moon left to blame
so cast off what’s been burned in the fire,
keep what’s been forged in the flame.

Liberate the love that resides within the heart of your rage
Liberate the love that is hiding in the heart of your rage
because in sin or in grace, there’s but one face
that carries your name
so cast off what’s been burned in the fire,
keep what’s been forged in the flames

Watch the stars, they’re moving

Celebrate the love that resides within the heart of your rage
celebrate the love that is hiding in the heart of your rage
because in sin or in grace, there’s but one face
whose ways you can change
so cast off what’s been burned in the fire,
keep what’s been forged in the flames

and love.

Enjoy the song. If you really enjoy it, then support Eddy as we complete this album.

Pagan Anarchism

So the good folks over at Gods & Radicals asked me to produce a short soundtrack to this trailer film, advertising the new book — Pagan Anarchism — from C.S. Thompson coming out:

This book looks amazing, I can’t wait to check it out.

Putting the soundtrack together was fun. It contains mostly 3 tracks: first is the song Thieves’ Oil by Disemballerina, which I edited to fit the mood & timeframe of the video. Also, there are 2 different public domain recordings from radical/feminist protests in Brazil. A friend of mine who is fluent in Portuguese translated the chants as “Our body is ours, it is our choice” and “Watch out macho! Latin America is going to be completely feminist!”

Eddy Dyer: Signal

I’m really happy to share this one! It is the first track from Eddy Dyer’s upcoming album, Love Is At The Heart Of This Thing, Right?

The drums were played by Charles Greenwood, and recorded at Wonka Sound by Bob Nash. Eddy played everything else, recording the synths and bass at home, and vocals and guitars with me. The guitars were fun…. there is a percussive acoustic guitar part doubling the bass line that gives great tonality and punch. The electric guitars, if I remember right, were a strat played through tube amps, possibly an old Gibson amp that I have. They sound really good, punchy but not like saturated, over-the-top distortion.

I then mixed the track, and had Scott at Old Colony Mastering put the finishing mastering touches on it. Cover art by Che Arrajj.

If you enjoy the sound of this song, then give Eddy some support, and contact me to help you get your music sounding good.

The Success 101 Podcast

cover170x170I’m posting about another podcast intro I did for a client. I really enjoy working with podcast clients. There are so many podcasts, with a myriad of topics and styles, to suit everyone’s individual taste. The biggest challenge in producing podcast music is to get “tuned in” to the vibe of each one, so that I can deliver the goods in a way that pleases the client.

This time, I worked with Jarrod Warren of the Success 101 Podcast. As I always do with clients, we had a detailed conversation about what he wanted it to sound like, and he gave me several specific examples of the music he liked, what he had been using, and other sonic elements he liked from other sources.

After a few revisions, here is what we ended up with:

Jarrod was very happy with the result, and gracious: “Awesome! We (you) did it! Love it! The tracks sound great. Thanks again for all your help.”

Check out Jarrod’s Success 101 podcast, on iTunes or Soundcloud.

Do you have a podcast? Does it a need some custom music or an intro? Contact me, and we can get the ball rolling.

The Rewild Yourself Podcast

ReWildYourselfPodcastI’ve known Daniel Vitalis for several years now, and have been interested in his work combining health strategies with a (quite pagan, from where I stand!) philosophy based in the elements. Recently he asked me to help him both with consultations to improve the audio quality of his ReWild Yourself podcast, as well as to produce a new intro for the podcasts. So he upgraded both his equipment and his recording space with some room treatments, and after extensive conversations I put together an intro. This is the result:

One thing about Daniel’s work is that it inspires multifaceted intentions, which all work together in a coherent unity. As such, there are a lot of layers to this intro. All the sounds you hear were recorded by me, usually out in the woods, including the sound of Cooper Spring, a Barred Owl behind my home, and a campfire in the woods.Then the music starts, which contains two large, tribal drums I’ve recorded and several synthesizer parts I played. Then, you can hear Daniel’s voice doing the intro and the tagline, with the sound of a Maine thunderstorm closing it out. All these sounds work together perfectly for a podcast about rewilding — Daniel pointed out to me that these are wild foraged recordings! I got a big kick out of that.

Working with Daniel & his team was also great. They had a clear idea of what would — and would not — work for them and were communicative. In the end, they were kind enough to say: “James, these are amazing!! We love the final versions so much!!! Thanks so much again for all of your hard work on this project. It was fun to work with you!”

So check out The ReWild Yourself Podcast for yourself, starting with episode #79, and let me know if you need help with your podcast.

The Droimlins – And Then There’s Whiskey

The Droimlins
“There’s everything else in the world, and then there’s whiskey….”

Very happy this song from The Droimlins was released. This is probably my favorite track from the EP we did earlier this year. These are a bunch of great songs, but this one had something special in the performance. The Droimlins describe themselves thusly:

Multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Otis and songsmith Eddy Dyer, both formerly of The Reagan Babies have again joined forces to create The Droimlins, Lowell’s newest Celtic Gypsy Punk outfit; regaling you with songs of Drinking And Rebellion.

The recording was done very simply, in a small, untreated room. It was done live in one take to preserve the performance aspect of what they do. The arrangement on this song is fantastic, the interplay between the guitar and the accordion, with the vocals sitting right on top, is really good.

I recorded the accordion with 2 dynamic microphones that have excellent sound and fantastic rear rejection, so I could maximize separation from the guitar & Eddy’s voice. Accordions produce sounds from both ends, so you really need 2 mics to do it justice. I used a pair of ribbons to record Eddy’s acoustic guitar, along with a tube mic for Eddy’s vocals. These all gave really nice tones, despite the very far from perfect room, with lots of flexibility during the mix. Because there was significant bleed between everything, I didn’t bother recording room mics, and they weren’t needed in the mix.

In addition to this project, I am working with Eddy on his upcoming solo album. Please support him if you can, it’s going to be excellent.

Morgan Lindenschmidt – When The Words Fade, We Fade

Morgan Lindenschmidt - When The Words Fade We Fade - Cover

When The Words Fade, We Fade, the new EP by Morgan Lindenschmidt, is finally here. Check it out on her Bandcamp page:

This one was fun. The basic tracks were recorded in the same way as Rest Inside (her debut EP), using my recording rig. The first track (An Aftertaste) was recorded at home, with the rest of the tracks done over at Halo Studios’ live room. The performance of An Aftertaste on the home recording was just too good, so we kept it. All the songs basic tracks were six tracks total: stereo ribbon mics on the guitar, an AKG 414 on vocals, a pair of Gefell room mics, and a DI out of the guitar.

However, there was much more post production on this one. I used the DI output to reamp the guitar on several tracks, including Little Hoaxes/Little Hopes above, which is my personal favorite track on the album. This one has a lot more texture and sonic depth than the previous recording, and the growth of the artist as a songwriter and performer is apparent since her debut EP. I also did the mixing and mastering on this one.

 

Eddy Dyer – Benefit Concert for Stephen Carpenter

Eddy Dyer with Joie Grandbois, at the Stephen Carpenter Benefit concert. Photo by Arthur Fink.
Eddy Dyer with Joie Grandbois, at the Stephen Carpenter Benefit concert. Photo by Arthur Fink.

A few weeks back, I ran sound for a pretty extraordinary show. Stephen Carpenter is the musical director for Dark Follies, and unfortunately he was hit by a truck several weeks back. He’s doing well and is expected to make a full recovery, but the community of people came together to raise some funds for Stephen. In addition to running sound for the show, I also recorded the set. Someone else took video, so there will likely be videos released of the show at some point.

The first mix from this show is of Eddy Dyer, a singer & songwriter. The room was full, and his performance was quite captivating as you can hear by the silence of the room. This recording was just 3 tracks: his vocal mic (an Audix OM-3 as I recall), a DI on his acoustic guitar, and a room mic (a trusty SM57) at the back of the hall. I think the mix came out good!

This is 2 songs performed by Eddy. The first is “Under The City” (music by Jimmy Otis, lyrics by Eddy Dyer). The second is a Cure cover, “If Only Tonight We Could Sleep” (Smith/Gallup/Thompson/Tolhurst/Williams).

Morgan Lindenschmidt – Thigh-High Apprehension

I just realized I never posted this video here. It’s a song I recorded with Morgan Lindenschmidt a few months ago, from her upcoming EP.

This recording was done at Halo studios in Windham. It’s a simple recording using an AKG 414 for vocals, a pair of Coles ribbon mics on the guitar, a couple of Microtech Gefell room mics, and a direct line out from the guitar. All live, no overdubs, no edits, one take.