After a very early flight this morning I made it into Tampa, FL this afternoon. Loving the weather, hopefully it’s a little sunnier tomorrow though. I’m in town for the Back in Black 2 T-Shirt Exhibit which is going down this Saturday (May 16th) at Czar’s in Tampa (Ybor City). I’ll be playing a Tycho/ISO50 live set around midnight to cap the event off.
The event will feature special limited edition shirts from several artists including myself. You can check out all the shirts here, they’re only available through the end of the month so get yours while they last. The shirts can be had for $25 online and $20 at the event.
I love simple things like this; you really can’t beat one color on a kraft envelope. Found it at a friend’s house and it reminded me that I really need to get some ISO50 envelopes made up, or at least a stamp.
I’m participating the Back in Black T-Shirt exhibit in Tampa, FL this year. The video above has some stuff from last year’s event, they basically bring together a bunch of artists and we all design a black t-shirt. No rules, pretty fun. You can see a small mock-up of my design for the exhibit (above). They should be posting a larger version at the Back in Black site shortly, but I just turned in the artwork so this is all I have for now.
I’ll also be playing a Tycho set as part of the Back in Black 2 party on Saturday, May 16th at the Imperial Theater. I’ll also be bringing out the projectors and doing the live ISO50 visuals along with it. All the details are below:
Tycho / ISO50 Live – Saturday, May 16th, 2009
Location: Imperial Theater – 1420 E. 7th Ave. Tampa, FL
Free entry, 18 & Over
Tycho set starts at 12 midnight. Back in Black Website
My Sony R7 Reverb from eBay came today, dead. I replaced a dead battery tonight but that didn’t clear anything up, still just passing a dry signal and a dead rotary encoder knob. Not sure what the issue is, if anyone knows a good Sony tech let me know, I have the schematics. Also need a good Lexicon tech too.
I made the drive out to Sacramento this morning to have the next Tycho single mastered by Eric Broyhill at Monster Lab Audio. In case this is sounding familiar to you, it’s because this is my second pass at this song. I mixed and mastered it last month but after repeated listens, something just wasn’t quite right so I did another mix over the past week and it’s finally wrapped. It’s been a long road, this particular track is sonically very dense and it’s been a very difficult one to mix. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the idea of mastering, it’s the last stage in the production process in which an engineer puts the finishing touches on your music and gets it into the form it will take for the final release — be it CD, MP3, vinyl, or otherwise. That is, of course, a gross oversimplification of what mastering is, if you’re really interested in the details here’s the Wiki article on the subject. It’s a vital step in the process of moving a recording out of your studio and into the real world where every stereo and every room is different, and you hope that your music sounds good on and in all of them. I think most importantly it puts another set of critical ears on your music. By the end of the production process your own ears can become deaf to the subtleties (or not-so-subtleties) and details of the material so it’s vital to have some fresh ears hear it for the first time and recognize it for what it is, not what it has become for you through infinite listens. Ideally, those ears belong to a capable person who knows waaaay more than you’ll ever know about the science and nuance behind how people perceive sound. Mastering can be heavy-handed or light and transparent, and therein lies the problem. Because the process can have such a profound effect on the final product, you have to trust the person doing it. You must have faith that they get what you’re trying to do with a song. It’s a very difficult thing to hand over the reigns to something you’ve put so much of yourself into, to another person who may or may not understand the essence of what you’re trying to do sonically with a song.
I was fortunate enough to meet Eric Broyhill back when I was finishing up my first album and he’s mastered all of my releases since. He’s great at understanding what I am going for and I am always amazed at the night-and-day results when I compare his versions with the raw material. The shots above are from his space which is located inside Hangar Studios (John Baccigaluppi’s studio and the home of TapeOp magazine) in Sacramento. I took these shots during a session a while back so they aren’t really up to date, I think he’s replaced a few pieces in the rack but the interiors are the same and that’s the really impressive thing about the place (unless you’re like me and you can’t stop staring at the Manley Massive Passive). A mastering environment has to be acoustically treated to ensure accurate monitoring of the material. There are many ways to go about this, most involve fiber sound absorbers and diffusers. I’ve always admired Eric’s solution to these problems from both a technical and aesthetic perspective. He was able to build much of the treatments into the structure so that they’re almost unnoticeable but the most prominent element is definitely meant to be noticed. The primary diffuser on the front wall is a giant face he had built by a local artist out of wood blocks set at varying heights (see picture above). This randomly redirects reflected sound waves to avoid phasing issues that can be caused by parallel surfaces. It looks amazing and sounds even more amazing when paired with the incredible Earthworks Sigma monitors he uses. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever heard a better sounding system than this one.
Now it’s time to finish up the album. I really can’t wait for the day I get to drive back out there, it’s always like a celebration for me at the end of the months spent in the studio slaving away on the music. You get to hand it over and then watch it become complete. If you’re in the market for mastering — which any self-respecting musician should be — definitely check out Eric at Monsterlab, he does incredible work at very reasonable rates. And if you’re not in Northern California I know he can do the work remotely as we did a couple sessions that way. Monsterlab Audio
Finally home after an eventfulweekend and it’s time to get back to work on the album. I want to thank everyone who made it out to the shows and Ghostly for making it all happen, it was a great time all around. banx_zor got some great shots of the SF show at Mezzanine (posted above). If you have any more of the SF or LA shows let me know! As you can see in photo 2 above, Dusty Brown made a rather animated cameo during the set, thanks to him for tearing it up on the keys. Our very own Alex Cornell also turned in a great performance on a couple guitar tracks (3rd picture down). For those who were wondering, the last 2 tracks I played in each set were new songs, the final one being a single due out shortly on Ghostly International. I’ll keep you posted.
Thanks to everyone for coming out and supporting last night in SF, it was an incredible vibe and I had a great time playing. We drove down to LA today just in time to see Michna’s show @ Turntable Lab. Tomorrow I’ll be playing the L.A. installment of the Ghostly Anniversary show at Jimmy’s Lounge. It’s a daytime show (doors @ 2pm) and I should be going on around 7pm inside (remember to set your clocks forward for daylight savings!). Here’s the lineup with tentative set times (right now I only have times for a few of us )
Kate Simko DJ Set – 3pm [Outside]
Michna – 3:30pm [Outside]
The Sight Below – 4pm [Inside]
Deru – 4:45pm [Outside]
Lusine – 5pm [Outside]
Aarnio (Jakub) Pt. I – 6pm [Inside]
Elliot Lipp – 6pm [Outside] Tycho – 7pm [Inside]
Kate Simko LIVE – 8pm [Outside]
Aarnio (Jakub) Pt. II – 8pm [Inside]
The Ghostly 10 year show is tonight (Friday – 3/6) and I wanted to debut a new track I’ve been working on during the set but wasn’t sure if I would have a live version complete by today. I’ll be cutting it close but I think I can get it wrapped in time so I should be playing it towards the end. I also just got the official, updated set times:
10-1030 Christopher Willits
1030-1110 The Sight Below
1200-1245 Lusine 1245-130 Tycho
225-315 Kate Simko
315 – 400 Eliot Lipp
I will post the LA times when I get them, should be going on around 7pm for that one (Sunday, early show). I’ve got some new visuals prepared as well so it should be a good one. Hope to see you all out!