I’ve recently had the pleasure to record and mix the (I believe) 20th or 21st studio album by the popular Japanese avantgarde-rock band Hikashu, fronted by the great and eclectic Makigami “Maki” Koichi (vocals, theremin, jew’s harp, cornet), whom I had met while working on the latest DVD album by Ikue Mori (on Tzadik).
Hikashu’s new album is called “Uragoe” and the cover art work is by Tabaimo.
I recorded it at EastSide Sound Studios in NYC after their performance at Japan Society in NY last year. I just recently finished mixing it (also at EastSide Sound) and the famous mastering engineer Seigen Ono mastered it for CD and Super Audio CD at Saidera Mastering.
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!
I love EastSide Sound studios in NYC! Besides all the obvious awesomeness (fully analog, digitally controlled, totally recallable and total automation Harrison console; great gear; great piano, drums and guitar collection; live room with 6 iso booths with line of sight and more) where else in New York City proper (ie lower Manhattan) can you do a recording session and hear a rooster doing ki-ki-ri-kiiiii when you step out on the street? I love that the studio is in the lower east side and when you step out the studio you see greenery instead of traffic! I love that when you step out of that studio you are in the heart of the most musically active, young, cool and lively neighborhood of the city!!! Established 1972 by the visionary oracle called Lou Holtzman, EastSide rocks my world. Long live to EastSide Sound and Ki-ki-ri-kiiiii!!!!!
Just returned from the lush and green backcountry of Ireland where I spent 5 days producing the new album of Dublin-based band Preachers Son. We recorded at a beautiful residential studio an hour out of Dublin called Grouse Lodge and the sessions went really really well… We have a full album of rocking tunes with Brian Hogan (from Kila) on vocals and guitars, Emmaline Duffy-Fallon on drums and vocals and special guests session players Tabby Callaghan on guitars, background vocals, sweeps and jokes and Tanya O Callaghan on bass and background vocals.
The songs are absolutely DEADLY (as they say in Ireland) and we got amazing sounds form everyone. GRAND! (as they also say in Ireland…) ;-)
Working 18 hours a day for 5 days can be hard, but when the music is great and the people are lovely, you do it and you enjoy it too! It’s even more enjoyable when you have a guy like Tabby around. He’s one of the most hilarious people I’ve ever met, and to prove it to you, here are two great recording tricks courtesy of Tabby for all you engineers and guitar players out there to try:
Tabby’s secret for wild distortion:
Tabby’s secret for a rotating sound:
In a break between songs we asked Tabby, the count of Uisneach, to do us one of his movie trailer improv for us.
Here’s Tabby’s secret voiceover talent revealed (all three voices you here here are his, as well as the wind sound, no overdubs!):
I realize I haven’t posted anything in a while, not because I haven’t seen anything interesting but rather because I have been traveling and working a lot.
However I didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to mention the amazing performance of this historic japanese band called Haikashu at Japan Society tonight. Makigami Koichi’s unique singing and theremin-playing style is both improvisational and structured, wild and controlled… His band Haikashu opened the concert without Maki to support the first US visit of J-pop star Tomoe Shinohara, but I personally went to see Maki and the wait was worth it.
I’ll be recording Hikashu with Koichi in a few days at EastSide Sound and I’m very happy to have made his acquaintance (thanks to Zorn and Ikue Mori who brought Maki to my studio during the recording of her latest DVD release on Tzadik). It’s gonna be a memorable session… I’ll be lost in translation and totally dazzled by the music! Can’t wait!
I usually don’t post about who, what, when and where I work with in the studio because some artists don’t want for that information to be out, at least not until after their recording is released, but since somebody else did, I’m happy to repost the article.
In this article on Sonic Scoop, New York City establishment Avatar Studios highlighted some of their latest clients and mentioned me in conjunction with a recording session with Lou Reed that we did there. The song (which the article also mentions) was subsequently mixed by myself at EastSide Sound Studios in New York City.
The beautiful “Homeland” album I worked on by the amazingly talented Laurie Anderson was nominated for a Grammy this year. Unfortunately we did not wind and Jeff Beck (whose guitar sound I had the pleasure to mix 5 years ago) got the Grammy instead.
My congratulations go to Beck for another win in his career and my best wishes go out to Laurie, one of the most ground breaking pioneers of new music, new technology and art out there!
To be clear, am NOT complaining, I am thankful I have work when a lot of talented colleagues are struggling…
Today I worked 9 hours with Lou Reed in the studio mixing a song at EastSide Sound… then I went to dinner with my lovely girl for her birthday and at 9pm I went to do live sound at a gig for a lively up and coming band called Pants Velour who rocked the house… Now I’m on my way home to do some more show advancing for a gig with the Swiss-American band Grand Pianoramax at SXSW festival in Austin… and finally tomorrow I have a 10am load in for a 10.30pm show with Bryan Ferry in the city so it’s gonna be an early and looooong day.
In the middle of everything I found out that Laurie Anderson is up for a Grammy Award for a her latest and amazing album on which I did engineering work, so I wish her all the best, not only cause it would bring my Grammies to four, but because she is one of the most amazing artists out there and deserves all the recognition and praise!