Saturday, June 15, 2013

New Release "Amystery" and the story behind it

Me in the studio, mid 90's
I'm planning on releasing a project from the vaults this fall called "Amystery". Amystery was originally a set of fourteen tracks I recorded in 1995 but drew on material I'd been writing since about 1990. At the time I didn't have access to what we would of considered pro equipment at that time. As a matter of fact the equipment used was relatively humble. I had a early 80's vintage peavy live sound board, a Fostex A-8 reel to reel, an SM57 mic, a Senheiser large diaghram dynamic, an Alesis microverb, and a Mac SE. The instrumentation was equally humble, Two Jap electric guitars and a 30watt Texas Cyclone combo, A Ventura V-6 acoustic, a Washburn 12 string acoustic, Alesis 16bit drum machine, and an ensoniq synth. The recordings I made at that time were lo-fi to say the least. I did have one leg up though, the 8 track reel to reel was time locked to the Mac running MOTU's original midi sequencing software. This required me to sacrifice one channel on the 8 track for SMPTE time code and left 7 tracks for vocals and guitars. All other parts were sequenced on the computer using the synth and drum machine. This allowed me to create dense arrangements that normally would have required 16 tracks or more. After working on the project for about a year the record/play head on the old A-8 started to loose channels one by one. I saved my notes and backed up the digital data and put it on the shelf. Within I year I upgraded to ADATs, a faster computer, and entered the digital age for good. The next year I bought another old Fostex and transferred all the material to 24 channels of digital tape before my ancient synching system ceased to function. Years and other projects passed until about 2005 when my mind went back to Amystery. I thought about re-recording from scratch but it didn't seem possible. All lot had changed in my life since then, especially me. For all those old recordings lacked in technical merits, they had a certain vibe, a certain sense of place and time, that I could no longer reproduce. So recently I decided to remix Amystery using modern DAW tools. I cleaned up noise, made pitch corrections(I was in the habit of using the pitch wheel to adjust tempo), and applied up to date effects and sound processing. The result is what you'll hear below. It still reveals it's lo-fi origins but I think it's some of my best performances. I distilled the original down to ten tracks, two of which are below. You can stream the rest from my Soundcloud page.