Wow, has it really been a year since my last post? I suppose so. After lots of life changes in the past year, I refocused some of my energy to spend more time recording and connecting to music. I moved houses twice this year, which certainly brought extended recording downtime. However, after the second move I was able to make some studio changes I had been dreaming about for quite some time.
The biggest change is that I have a lot more room. I wanted more work space near the mixer, and I also wanted to try to integrate the mixing surface with the computer layout so I could sit or stand in once place and both mix and compose/arrange. I bought an Argosy console desk that allows just that – only there is one drawback. The computer monitors are a little too far from my eyes now, so it’s not as comfortable to work on the computer. I know in most professional studios, the mixing surface and computer surface are not integrated; most of the time, the computer is on its own desk adjacent to the console. Some studios that work for film have a large display directly above the mixer, but that’s more for monitoring video synchronized to the music.
So aside from the monitor distance issue, everything else worked out great. I have some rack space in the desk for my most used effects and the Roland V-Synth. And then to either side I have workstations: to the left is a rack of synthesizers and drum machines, and to the right I have the two racks with patch bays, effects, samplers, and so forth as well as another bank of synthesizers. There is some space on the console desk itself for temporary arrangements, like pulling over the Akai MPC or Roland TR-808 while working on rhythm. There’s also some space on the desk for smaller items, like guitar pedals or mini controllers.
The last big change I’ve made is to get back into recording vocals. When I was in school, I sang all the time. I was in choir for several years, and sometimes I soloed. That was a long time ago now, and it took a while for me to get my voice back into shape. Since then I’ve recorded a handful of songs with lyrics, and I think a couple of them are pretty good.
In terms of shows, I managed to see a lot of artists this year! Here we go: Chic, Disclosure (x3), Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Jessie Ware (x2), Lusine, Annie Mac, Julio Bashmore (x2), François Kevorkian, Skream, Carl Cox, Nina Kraviz, Morton Subotnick, My Bloody Valentine, Pet Shop Boys, Perkowitz, Jeff Samuel, Lianna La Havas, OMD, Peter Hook, Zedd, Adult, Actress, Lapalux, Natasha Kmeto, Little Boots, Light Asylum, MNDR, Oliver, Grouper, Noveller, The Sight Below, Kim Cascone, Sean Curley, Ethernet, Yagya, Jackaszek, Christina Vantzou, Noveller, Ken Camden, Mikebee, Proxy, and Jacques Lu Cont.
My friend Perkowitz and I also released an album using our new Signal Corps moniker called ECHELON. This is a concept album based around the ideas of surveillance and communications. The story goes that an MPC-1000 gets corrupted by some lo-fi drum samples and begins to think for itself. Once it connects to the Internet, it finds that the ECHELON communications surveillance system spies on him, and he writes beats of warning to help make people aware of what ECHELON is up to. It just so happened that around the time we were recording the music, the NSA/Snowden scandal came to light – a prescient coincidence.
I played a couple of Codebase shows as well, and I also had the honor of being a panelist for a Decibel Festival Conference session along with Rafael Irisarri, Pezzner, and KJ Sawka. And last – there are 3 Codebase records lined up for 2014 so far. If you like my recent music, I’m sure you’ll like these, too.
There you have it – 2013 summed up in one long post. It was a tumultuous year for me, but lots of good came out despite the hardships. I’m grateful to my friends and family for their support, and I’m also grateful for all the wonderful music that has helped me along the way. Here we come, 2014!Posted: December 30th, 2013 | Tags: codebase, music, recording, shows, studio | No Comments »