John Zorn is unquestionably the most interesting and advanced composer of our times. Although he looks 45ish this year he actually turns 60 and to celebrate he is doing a number of concerts all around the world, in different countries every month, all year long.
I am lucky enough to be the one doing sound for these complicated multi-band shows (think 9 bands in 3-4 hours with 5 min stage changes). As challenging as these marathons are to mix and advance, they are absolutely AMAZING to watch and if it is the one thing you travel for this year I would highly recommend catching one of them in Europe this summer.
The first one of the series of 2013 Zorn at 60 marathons took place last week at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN.
I don’t usually repost other people’s reviews, but this enthusiastic concert goer has some good videos and since I was too busy doing sound to be documenting the show I thought I’d post his reviews with videos so you can see what you missed:
Pankow is one of the most influential electro-industrial bands to come out of Italy. Their new Remix EP “Hogre” comes out tomorrow and I am excited to announce that I did one of the five remixes it features.
Check out the trailer here: http://youtu.be/qzdfFYxcZFQ
I’ve just returned from the second and last leg of the Summer 2012 tour of Lou Reed and his band. The tour was called “From VU to Lulu” because they played all sorts of material from the Velvet Underground days to the latest Lou Reed & Metallica record “Lulu”. As always I have mixed the FOH sound and enjoyed doing so and working along one of the best crews I ever worked with (thank you Stewart, Matt, Joey, Gary, Jesse, John, Jacob, Bungie, Peter, Rod, Des, Liam, Stuart!!!).
The whole tour was a blast and we made sure to make the best of every minute, whether it’d be a concert on a hot sunny day, a load in or load out in the middle of pouring rain (we had a lot of those) or a day off in some beautiful European city where I’d venture out on some exploratory tour!
There are a million videos of these concerts on YouTube but I want to post one that is special to me. “Junior Dad” is one of my favorite songs of the set and one of my favorite songs from “Lulu” (if not from Lou’s entire discography!). On this particular day in Dresden, Germany, this song got particularly intense because without our knowledge somewhere across town fireworks started in the sky in the middle of the intro to the song and continued for the entire duration of the song. Lou, the band, the techs and probably the crowd were all confused at first but Lou quickly showed the genius he is and started ad libbing and incorporating these fireworks in his lyrics effectively changing the lyrics to match the environment and showing true artistry and creativity to thousands present.
My own approach was to actually make the whole concert way louder (by at least 10dB!!!) because initially the fireworks were so close and loud that they were ruining the intimacy of the intro to the song. By making everything louder at the mixing desk the concert was still louder than the fireworks and when the drums kick in the whole concert is really loud and grandiose, which is just fine considering it’s the last song of the set too!
The audio of this YouTube clip is not great and at times distorted too because it’s from some unauthorized camera in the crowd recording with the on board mic, but in spite of all of that, it’s one of those cases where the beauty and uniqueness of this moment is more important than the actual quality of the audio or the video.
Hopefully see you in November/December in the far east…
I’ve just returned from a 2 week long tour in South America doing FOH sound for Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane project. It was a great experience made even better by the amazing musicians and amazing people that made up the band and the crew. The musicians were just incredible, as you’d expect, half of them from Italy and the other half from the US. Enrico Gabrielli on wind instruments (sax, flute, clarinet, harmonica, whistle, recorder and even glockenspiel), Alessandro “Asso” Stefana on electric, acoustic and nylon guitars, Trevor Dunn on electric and upright bass, Scott Amendola on drums, Willy Wynant on percussions (congas, bongos, woodblocks, timbales, timpano, orchestral bass drum, glockenspiel and toys), Matt Rhode on samplers, Vincenzo Vasi on theremin, samplers and vocals, Enrico “Senza” Zavalloni, Valeria Vasta, Roberta Lizzo and Claudia Puglisi on background vocals and Cheche Alara conducting the 12 string orchestra that we hired locally in the different countries we played in.
We also had an amazing but small crew made up of Niccolo’ “number one” Antonietti on monitors, Jim Stewart stage manager and Tim Mooooooooooooooossss tour managing us.
Patton was the greatest!!! I have so much respect and admiration for him. He simply sings perfectly in tune for hours at a time and he always gives 100%, even during the long rehearsals we did before every show. Plus his interpretations of these great italian classics from the ’50es and ’60es are just incredible. Authentic, tasteful and sophisticated! What a unique show!
Although I was familiar with the record, I had never seen this show before and so mixing it for the first time was definitely a handful but very exciting. There is nothing better than mixing a show you like! I had to have two mixing boards to fit all the channels because with 24 musicians on stage there weren’t enough channels on a regular mixing board (the total track count was around 72). This got even more complicated in Brazil where we played with the Heliopolis favela orchestra, which was made up of 25 people instead of 12 (track count 85).
This was an exceptional show and I wish everyone could have seen it so I am very happy to be able to share this video with you because it was professionally shot by the Chilean TV station Via X. Sadly they just took a board feed from me so the audio never got re-mixed properly for this video and is simply the same audio everyone in the theater heard from the PA.
Mondo Cane will be in Australia in January and hopefully many other countries in the future so people will get to see this amazing show!
A while ago I recorded a piece written by singer Ayelet Rose (part of Zorn’s Mycale all female accappella four piece group) at EastSide Sound. This piece was to be used for a art installation by NY-based artist Michelle Jaffe called “Wappen Field”. The piece consisted of 7 female voices interacting and the installation consists in helmet masks hanging form the ceiling. When you stick your head inside you hear the individual voices that make the vocal orchestration.
Last week the Dublin based band I am producing (www.preachersson.com) came to New York City and we recorded three new songs for their great upcoming album. We hired drummer/percussionist extraordinaire Kenny Wollesen for some overdubs and the stuff came out great!
At MoMA enjoying the second of two solo piano concerts by Philip Glass, performed from inside Brazilian artist Carlito Carvalhosa’s huge installation that you see in the picture. A spiral shaped installation made of soft white fabric draped from the ceiling and down to the floor. Inside it are four microphones which pick up the sound of people talking as they walk through the installation and playing it back through a series of speakers hanging from the ceiling or taped to the wall while facing the wall. The auditory part of the installation was off for the concert but I assume it would be a symphony of muffled voices coming from all directions. Beautiful looking and well complementing Glass’ playing.
This year MMW celebrated 20 years in music making with a series of concerts at the Whitney Museum, joined by different guests every week. Tonight was the last night and DJ Logic and Cyro Baptista joined the party for the entire set. Great show, totally packed, weird setting but groovy nonetheless!