Wow, it feels like I haven’t posted in ages!!! Of course it doesn’t matter because I am not some popular blogger like Arianna Huffington, Beppe Grillo, Guy Kawasaki or David Lawrence… Other people write blogs for themselves and their mothers: I don’t. I know that because my mother doesn’t read my blog!
I swept through October like a hurricane. The pace of the best runners at today’s NYC Marathon (taking place as I write) hardly compares to the pace I set for myself during the month of October. The reason? Hundreds of concerts, dozens of panels, large exhibition floors, movie screenings and of course the ever present work!
First of all there is the AES Convention. A geek fest of colossal proportions which gathers audio aficionados from all over the planet inside the Javits Center of NYC every other year. This year’s 123rd edition was bigger than last year’s and rich with exciting educational opportunities, new hardware, software, services, award shows and after parties. I attended as many panels as I could to further my knowledge, but the most exciting talk was probably the one where the legendary Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick (see my post about his amazing book!) commented the scenes of the the BBC documentary “It was 40 Years ago Today” about the re-make of the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album by some of Britain’s most popular rock bands. Seeing these bands grapple with having to get it right to tape without the luxury of Pro Tools and stuff like that was inspirational to say the least. Razorlight, Kaiser Chiefs, The Fray, Stereophonics, Travis, Magic Numbers and Bryan Adams were among some of the bands involved in this re-make, which took place at Mark Knopfler’s personal studio, with the original Beatles engineer and assistant and the original Beatles gear (4 tracks and all that cool stuff). The documentary is an initiative by Bob Geldof, whose production company shot it, but unfortunately has only been aired in the UK (on BBC). If you look on the internet you can actually find it (I did), but you won’t find the specials features contained in the DVD version (which is not and probably will not ever be released). These features include interviews with Emerick and other people involved in the original recording sessions of the historical Beatles album as well as tech talk about the equipment being used back then and being re-used for this re-make (if somebody does find these features online please contact me – I would love to see them!). Seeing these chapters and hearing Emerick comment on them was an absolute treat, considering that they’ll most likely never see the light of the day due to contractual issues and due to the fact that there were too many parties involved (BBC, Geldof, the Beatles estate, the Lennon estate a.k.a. Yoko Ono, the producers etc). At the TEC Awards dinner and show (hosted by the great and funny Will Lee) I was talking to Les Paul and his son Rusty when Emerick came over to say hi to Les, so I actually had the pleasure to get my picture taken with Emerick and Les Paul at the same time, which was like being in the middle (literally and figuratively) of two of audio history’s most influential, unique, ground-breaking and revolutionary characters! What a treat!
A week after AES, CMJ 2007 took place downtown. I was a speaker at one of the panels and I attended as many other panels as I could, because you can never stop learning! Of course I went to plenty of shows as well, as many as I could fit in my schedule. I didn’t go see any of the movies, but CMJ is always a great networking opportunity, so I walked away with cards and contacts. I am not going to talk about CMJ at length because I actually was asked to write a full report about it, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the Recording Magazine (along with another article about Vocal Recording that I wrote for the same magazine). Of course as soon as it is published I will post that news here in the blog so anyone can go out and get a copy of the mag to read my article and all the other interesting features. In short, however, I will say that some of the bands on the CMJ bill that you should look out for are Raining Jane (LA), The Section Quartet (LA), Mieka Pauly (NY/Boston), The Hard Lessons (Ferndale, MI)… There were of course many other very valid bands but I could only be in some many places at any given time, not to mention I spent some of my evenings checking out some of the more established acts that this year’s CMJ pass allowed badge-holders to see (Zakir Hussain with Mickey Hart and Giovanni Hidalgo, Holy Fuck opening for UNKLE, M.I.A. and some others).
Finally, since I do have a passion for photography, at the same time of CMJ (of course!), there was also PDN happening, the big photography convention at Javits Center with plenty of cool gear and stuff for the visually-inclined. I sprinted (literally) through the looooong aisles of Javits’ huge exhibit floor (bigger than AES!) on Saturday morning and then catapulted myself back downtown to see more panels and shows!
So that is what kept me busy and away from blogging… we’ll see what my excuse will be next time!