Thursday, January 08, 2009

Happy New Year!

We're back; soon we'll be starting our massive yearly board cleaning. We remove every channel to clean and lube every pot and switch to ensure a clean flow of signal. Holiday Music was finished with barely enough time to put in the mail for recipients listening pleasure. MP3s and album artwork available for free here! A bit of info about it:

Holiday Music is a collaborative music group that only exists in December of each year. Founded by Barry Phipps (The Coctails, Tight Ship Records) and Mark Janka and Tim Joyce (The Lesser Birds of Paradise), Holiday Music has been recording music every December since 2001. About two weeks before Christmas, the core group of Barry, Mark and Tim drop by North Branch recording studio and make up songs on the spot that are about, or inspired by the Holiday season. Some songs are funny, some are instrumental, some are old standards reworked into a new arrangement. The Holiday Music sessions have an open door policy. Any friends of the group are invited to drop by and contribute to the collaboration. Close to fifty musicians have become part of the Holiday Music collective over the years, including Edith Frost, Kelly Hogan, Thax Douglas, The Like Young, and many others. Our 2008 release features Azita, Charles Kim, Ryan Neuschafer, Emily Hurd and Charles Kim.

Also, keep a sharp eye out for two new Tightship releases; Groom's "At the Natural History Museum" AND "John and Mark's Children's Record"!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So, it's been over a year since my last post. There were a lot of changes here on the island, none of which I wish to explain right now. We've been busy all the same; to recap, I'll post a bunch of photos from the last year and 8 months.

Mark Shippy. Bringing me back some moon rocks.

Jeff Breakey mans the board as Steve Prefontaine/a young Andy Summers
Emily Hurd is on the phone!
____________________Jeff Breakey was kind enough to bring Jacob to play the piano.
Along with Jacob came fellow Swede, Stefan
Matt Carson!
Darling on the couch.

Mr. Phipps
Jeffrey Robinson and Fred Lonberg-Holm

Photos from the latest session with the Dreamtree Shakers. Lunchtime, Mr. Phipps, and Jeremy Babcock.

To anyone who pays attention to this blog...I actually plan on keeping up with it.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sweet Jesus! It's been a while since my last post but not because we've been busy. I've just been neglecting my blog. Actually, work has picked up within the past 2 weeks or so. Scott Ligon (amazing musician) has struck up a deal with Barry for some studio time to record his album; yours truly engineering. So far, we've recording piano, bass, drums, and then re-recorded drums. The first song, "modern boy", is a happy mix of pop and unique chord changes. Scott had previously played on the Norman Phipps project with Joel Paterson and Mark Greenberg, which, by the way, sounds great. If you know Barry the Bossman, then you've no doubt figured that Norman is his dad. The album will definitely be released on the Tight Ship Records site so look for it.

If anyone saw NBC nightly news around March 16, I hope you remember a story about the Kaotic Drumline from the south side of chicago. Kaotic was created by Jamie Poindexter (real name) to help kids stay away from gangs and keep them focused on making something positive out of their lives. Jamie has been to the studio with Ethan Stoller for the recording and mixing of a 5 song demo. He's recently contacted North Branch for a return so I'm kinda pumped; if you've ever listened to a drumline, you know.

A while ago, I finished a project for one Julia Klee. I just gave it a listen and it sounds better than I expected. You see, it was one of those things where you know what to do, but you always question the quality of work. It was probably the first complicated thing I mixed but I wouldn't take it back. Give it a listen if you can.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I do love me some progress! I'm in an excellent mood due to the reviving of four of our modules. Modules are the individual channels on the wonderful, vintage MCI JH-636 console. There were some modules that didn't pass signal due to electronics weirdness and the like, but they have since been given new life...OH YES! Mano, I tell ya maintenence on an old board is tough, but rewarding. The board has been undergoing a rebuild since before I came to North Branch by Mr. Phipps and by the wonderful and busy Soren Wittrup. Legend has it that Soren is the electrical genius brought over from Denmark by engineering great Steve Albini to serve as his tech at electrical audio. Since my arrival, I have been put to work helping out anywhere I can...which includes the board. Who would have thought that a Monday would be the day of great things. Hmmph!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

As I sit here waiting for a one Peter Alb to arrive with some audio to mix, I'm thinking to myself, "hey, I have things to talk about!" What's that you ask? WELL, let me tell you. Yesterday was a great day, John Francis Gran and his band of Iowa misfits were tracking some velvet-ity jazz that was a blast to hear. We tracked about 9 GB's between 6 takes of one song and some miscellaneous percussion on 2 other songs. A true pleasure and it all came together on Sunday when Gran texts me on the possibility of getting in due to him being bumped for SNOOP DOGG! (thats a story for the kids if I ever did hear one) I checked with Mr. Phipps and all was well. And so it was; drums, rhodes, bass, trumpet, and sax all in the same room. If you know Andy, you should ask to see pictures of the setup; I'm pretty proud of it.

For the last 3 or 4 days I've been waiting for a special item to be delivered to NB. The item in question is a pre-drilled and printed circuit board for a SSL stereo bus compressor. You see, one day about 10 days ago, Barry comes to me with an idea. I've been doing soldering odds and ends since my late January arrivial at NB; making cables, replacing various electronics on the MCI and the like. Barry has always kept the idea of making some outboard gear in the background but I thought it better left to someone who has the chops. Well, no more! He's shown me some kits that you can purchase at a reasonable price that are essentially knock-offs of legendary gear. They don't actually come in kit form but if you know what to look for, it can be done. I've yet to begin because as I have said, I don't have the PCBs but I have everything else...except the knobs for the front...we're gonna splurge there because let's face it, looks are most important. (shallow)

Its now 7:32 and I'm gonna wrap up because Peter is going to be here soon. This concludes my first blog entry and I have to was fun. Best wishes to all.