Monday, February 22, 2010

Tracking at Westlake

Best part about coming to LA are the restaurants. My favorite hang is Canter's! Not only for the food but for the Seinfield like atmosphere!

Only a mile from Westlake on Santa Monica, it certainly beats breakfast at the hotel..

Speaking of Westlake... They are still one of the best studios in LA.. Unlike some studios they stay up with the technology and make sure all their PT systems are up to date with the latest software.

Not only that, but they still have a fantastic mic selection.. Their Neuman M-149 turned out to be the best fit for our vocalist that Kurt Carr was producing.

I also had the opportunity to work in studio D, the room that "Thriller" was done in, recording the 11' Yahmaha.. Boy did that piano sing! Since there were several tracking sessions going on at the complex and the mic selection was running low I used two AKG C 414's running through a pair of Neve 1073's. Of course it didn't hurt that Kurt Carr played on one song and Michael Bereal on another!

After that we went on to record Kurt's background singers... Always a treat.. The room souned great using some Neumann U-67's .. but, because we do multiple passes and to avoid buliding up too much room we placed some baffles around the vocalists to minimize it.
All in all, it was a great session.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Endless Analog

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to record rhythm tracks to analog tape. This isn’t something we do often; the ease of Pro Tools so often trumps the vibe of good ol’ magnetic tape. However, this session was a little different. Chris Estes of Endless Analog ( was kind enough to bring a little box he calls C.L.A.S.P., or a Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor. We recorded to a Studer 24-Track analog tape machine while simultaneously recording into Pro-Tools HD in the A room at Nashville’s own Quad Studios on Music Row.

The technology was truly amazing. It worked effortlessly with playing along to tracks already in Pro Tools and even Quick Punch worked perfectly. Missed a punch, just drag it back, just like using an all-digital rig. It was a lot of fun and a truly impressive box and the tracks came out great.

We recorded the band Like Candy Red (, a seriously talented band with three fantastic female vocalists backed by the ZodLounge music production team ( Be sure to check out a couple of the tunes we cut at the band’s Facebook page.

A Motown Medley

History is a crucial part of music. All of today’s music comes from a long history of development and sonic art. Last weekend we had the opportunity to work with the MTSU Record’s ( class to pay tribute to one of the great eras of modern music: Motown. The class is shooting a documentary of Detroit’s famed record company, and as a part of that documentary, we made a trip to Michigan to see the Motown museum and record a medley of Motown hits with some of Detroit’s top players.

Though we arrived late (a long story involving two flat tires, a tow truck, an assortment of state troopers, and an hour at the Walmart tire center), the majority of the group received a tour of the Motown museum by Musician’s Hall of Fame member and renowned Motown string arranger, Paul Riser.

The medley, a conglomeration of ten Motown hits juxtaposed by the class’ instructor, Dick Williams, was recorded at Studio A (, one of the area’s best recording facilities and the studio where I used to work while living in Detroit. The musician’s were top-notch: Louis Resto, keyboardist for Eminem, 50 Cent, and others; Donnie Lyle, the musical director for R. Kelly; Dave McMurray, saxophonist for Kid Rock; Ray Burton, bass player for the Spinners; and Ron Otis, drummer for Earl Klugh. It was truly an honor to sit on the other side of the glass from such phenomenal musicians.

MTSU graduate student Adam Price is leading the project with help from cinematographer Dacosta Jenkins. It will feature vocal performances by Jason Lane, Christina Adams, and Charles Collins, all undergrad students in the class. The rest of the recording will take place in the college’s recording studios and engineered by students.

It is exciting to see the development of this medley and documentary and the hard work the students put into them. The end result will undoubtedly be a quality production. I’m proud to be a part of this documentary helping to preserve the history of the Motown story.