Tag: music

Choir Session DePauw University – Purple Songs Can Fly at Zapboombang.

Some time ago I had the great pleasure of working with Anita Kruse during my time at Zapboombang for her project Purple Songs Can Fly. Composers, producers and singers from all over the music business came together to write a song with the children for the children. Written, arranged, and produced in two days, the name of the song “It’s out there waiting“. I didn’t do much at that time for my role was to make sure the studio was up to par to perform all the sessions. Andres Levine was the producer and Edmundo Gomez the engineer.

As I phase out of working for corporate monolithic companies making music for relentless commercial efforts, I really wanted to do something more meaningful for me, so I gave Anita a call.

Anita was as welcoming as always and after some time I was able to arrange and mix one of her songs. Later she gave me the incredible opportunity to get a bit more involved and that’s how I became a little part of this wonderful effort.

image001We got together with the DePauw University School Of Music Choir and Gregory Ristow (the choir’s conductor and arranger) for the first time on January 14, 2014. I had prepared a simple piano track and click to be able to sync the singing to the future track and Gregory brought his beautiful choral arrangement. After editing my reference to his arrangement and dropping the tempo down we where in business.

_MG_9933As the choir started rehearsing their parts, everyone at the studio dropped what they where doing to come to the recording room and listen first hand to the beautiful sounds they where producing. The feeling was energizing, inspirational, peaceful. So as soon as they ran through the piece a couple of times, we started the recording. As an engineer producer there is nothing sweeter than having a perfect source to record, and in the perfect environment too. Zapboombang’s studio A is the perfect place to record this type of ensembles. The room is big and flexible turning from a bright tight room into a quiet one with the addition of simple gobos. These boys and girls had it together, just a couple of microphones and press the red button.

We took five hours to record the song, that was because I wanted to double parts and make the track a bit beefier. We made two full passes and then overdubbed section by section, bass, alto, tenor and soprano twice to create a stereo image. The track sounded beautiful, now is my turn to clean the tracks a bit for those inevitable paper shuffles.

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I love making music and being part of something bigger than me.

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From Left To right, Anita Kruse, Alex Lopez Negrete, Gregory Ristow and Matias Lanzi

Thank you Alex Lopez Negrete and Zapboombang Studios for donating Studio A “Oceans” for this session.


Starcake recording 2013 – 2014


Starcake album 2013-2014

So, I got summoned to record Starcake. As an engineer/producer this cant be taken lightly for a lot of work goes into making a record. It was subtle at first but we decided to set a date and we Drums1did it. The studio was booked to start setup on a Friday evening. Mainly set up the drums and the microphones around it, and yes make sure it’s all gets to tape.

I had spoken about this recording with super Mundet! (Edmundo Gomez) , he pledged his support to the project until the end! So he is engineering and I am producing, my work has suddenly being reduced in half, I became the unwanted assistant.

We started pre-production in my home studio a week before the recording where we locked a basic form of the songs to a click track. This was done in reason that can later attach to the ProTools session via rewire. This click track will later conduct the band through the different takes with the exact same tempo and tempo changes. This allows for time correction of the recording in case it is needed, useful to fix drum tracks or adjusting timing in different instruments.

The main focus when recording in the studio was to get everything we could live, the piano, the drums and bass in order to take advantage of the space and the great equipment Zapboombang has to offer. Everything else will be overdubbed at a different time.

BarryWe got great results, the drums sounded great, Barry played a DW, maple five piece and the microphones where sublime in the hands of Mundet!, over all we had a great time. We even went for Vietnamese sandwiches, what else can you ask for?

After the weekend, the tracks came back in incredible condition. The sound was pristine and fat, so we proceeded to clean the tracks. Find the right takes and splice them in, correct any time fluctuation and clean punches and unwanted noises. This process usually optimizes my session quite a bit because this is where I remove all silence and unwanted useless audio. So two birds with one stone. It is crucial to fix all timing issues at this stage for anything else overdubbed with this timing will be harder to fix as you keep adding instruments to the session.

Now with clean tracks we can proceed to overdub the bass and guitars.

GonzaloWe did the bass in a couple of weeks, one song every night or more if we had energy. We obviously skipped some days during those weeks. We used my Focusrite ISA pre amp to control Gonzalo’s five string Warwick. For some reason Mundo’s Neve module was scratchi.

Once the bass is recorded, we can proceed to recording guitars. For this Mundo is the right man, he’s got a great collection of guitar gear from amps to cabinets, attenuators, fx and more. Not to mention his surgical ear and guitar production experience. So he sits with us providing the colors and textures we want to hear and suggesting cool effects. After drum recording, this is one of my favorite things to do, build the guitar tracks.

This can be a very daunting experience for the guitar player who is used to perform his part as a continuous performance. For this process we record part by part choosing the final sounds and creating stereo images for most of the parts. So each song can easily take between 2 to 4 hours of guitar work. We end up with at least 12 to 16 tracks of guitars.

 


Making music

I love to work as a producer/engineer making music, it’s been a while since I don’t engage into such activities. Funny enough it is the work that brings me the most smiles and comfort. Whether it is a record a commercial or a film, it never feels like work, just fun. So now that I am free lancing, I decided to include fun and meaningful music work into my schedule. I made myself available to a great initiative called Purple Songs Can Fly, where I work on the tracks for the children to sing on and have the pleasure to meet many like minded music and charity oriented minds. On January 2014 we will be recording the Texas Medial Center Orchestra at the National Center for Human Performance with the help of our friends from Zapboombang Studios.

I also started a project that it has become tradition among a group of friends, the Starcake Album. Starcake is a musical group created some 6 years ago (don’t quote me on that) of witch the members are long time high school and college friends, so we get together every couple of years to produce a record written by the lead vocalist and guitarist Edmund Pantuliano.

This time around I adopted the roll of producer and Edmundo Gomez the roll of engineer, something that makes me really happy for Edmundo is a great engineer and has a passion for making music. The intention this time was to make a cleaner record with a bit more punch than the current inception. So lets see how things come out, we are currently in the process of overdubbing guitars.

So my eyes are open, I hear beautiful music, I want to record it.