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R/E/P => R/E/P Archives => Whatever Works => Topic started by: compasspnt on August 23, 2010, 11:04:36 am

Title: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: compasspnt on August 23, 2010, 11:04:36 am
A while back I posted about the great efforts of our friend d_gauss.

Last night, I chanced upon a video of a song recorded by another of our esteemed PW guys, Bob Ebeling:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C28omOuUFkA


Bob, would you mind commenting on your recording technique, room, gear, etc.?
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 23, 2010, 12:23:50 pm
Sure!

This particular song was done in my Brooklyn apartment.  Unlike most closet style apartments in NYC, I was very lucky to find a four bedroom exquisite place off of the Ft. Hamilton Parkway stop of the F.  Huge open rooms built in the 1940's...gotta love it!

So my main gear in this place was a pair of pair of V76/80. A black face rev d 1176.  An LA-2A.  A Lang PEQ-2.  Mics included a U47, a couple UM-57's, km 84's, Schoeps 221b's, and more of the usual suspects.

The drum machine is a real deal Roland 808.  I love that thing so much.  Samples never come close to the life that is inside that machine.

I had just lucked across the Sesame Street Minimoog, bought straight from the origional music maker from that show.  He gave me his book with all the patches notated ('cookie monsters diabete's shock', 'count's moment of ecstacy', etc... haha).  

So this particular song started off with alot of synth and 808, just to get some chords happening.  Everything else was built up from there, but 90% of the song was done in an afternoon.

When it came time to do the vocals I had a big doubt on whether or not I should keep the very first chord of the verse as the c# (?) which actually never appeared again in the sequence.  Good buddy and audio-ologist Paul Logus talked me into keeping it.

THe 'Downtown' record went on to be one of the coolest things you've never heard.  Flood and Alan Moulder came on board towards the end to help me straighten out a few of the songs in london.  

If you are into heartbreak, substance influenced sounds (haha), and general shoegaze via Beatles production then go find a copy of this (someone still has it on I-tunes under my stage name 'Robert Kaeding' or 'Downtown') OR better yet, put it out on your own label!  I still own 100% of the record, publishing and all.

index.php/fa/15278/0/

Look on Half.com, they usually have a bunch of copies under 'Downtown digipak'

I did make the record on 2" machines blended with Protools, using some of the best studios in NYC and some of the best gear on the planet so it is a fun listen, and like I say, if you've just been thru a divorce, you just might worship this slab!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bigbone on August 23, 2010, 01:10:49 pm


Bob

I like it, nice song........

JN
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Extreme Mixing on August 23, 2010, 01:28:16 pm
Very nice work.

Steve
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 23, 2010, 02:55:23 pm
Thanks guys!  It's nice to recieve some attention on something you plowed years of your life into but then forgot....  

index.php/fa/15280/0/

This was the official logo which was done by Fiona, the same beautiful British woman who designed the THE THE logo among many others.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: rankus on August 23, 2010, 03:59:53 pm


Nicely done Bob!

I don't know if the intention of the thread is to post stuff we've done, but it could be interpreted that way... so here is something I did recently.  I was co-producer and engineer on this.  There are much stronger songs on the album but the artist wanted to start the promo video's with this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ60EHObKmg

The video is a draft and the soundtrack is a bit low...

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: compasspnt on August 23, 2010, 04:19:53 pm
Actually, the purpose of this thread is to continue a tradition of me finding something that our good PSW friends here have done, and getting them to talk about the recording aspects of it.

Of course, your project is also welcome, I just hadn't found it yet...

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: rankus on August 23, 2010, 04:32:54 pm

Sorry for the derail Terry.  I'll pull it out if you'd like... not a problem at all.. My bad!

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: RSettee on August 23, 2010, 06:56:45 pm
Wow, that's great! I really like the chord changes--the chilly, gurgling synths really add alot to that. Sort of sounds like what Slowdive may have sounded like later in their career had they not intentionally put out the anti-commercial "Pygmalion", but still with the electronic thing.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: compasspnt on August 23, 2010, 07:08:35 pm
rankus wrote on Mon, 23 August 2010 16:32


Sorry for the derail Terry.  I'll pull it out if you'd like... not a problem at all.. My bad!




Not at all, no problem!

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 23, 2010, 08:25:50 pm
LOVE IT!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Unwinder on August 23, 2010, 08:42:07 pm
I like how big the kick drum (sample?) sound is, and the stressed out bass. I could feel the air seriously coming out the speaker port from this tune.

Sweet.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 23, 2010, 08:49:01 pm
Thanks for the digs!  I have let it slide so far this is the only place left I can remember right now that you can hear some more of the 'Downtown' stuff:

http://www.myspace.com/downtownmusicny

The pics show 'the other guy' also.  He was in the band because he would show up at 4AM drunk and try to sing back up parts.  He was really good at bagging music biz chics and getting them interested though.

'Thunderstorm' is one of the songs I completed in the infamous cowshed in London with Flood and Alan Moulder.  

If you've never witnessed the cowshed, look up vids of PJ Harvey recording her last 'White Chalk' record on youtube.  A thing to behold.  Literally an old cowshed with one of the world's greatest collections of vintage synths lining the walls and one british style space heater to keep you from freezing.  You truly suffer for your art there.  They had some of Bev Bevan's (ELO) 28 inch cymbals there and I insisted on using them.  Bad idea.  The songs got cut because it sounded like someone was tapping a gong on the choruses.

Flood and Alan are hilarious.  They keep pushing you to make everything darker, more empty, more evil.  I would do 4 takes on one of Floods old CMV-563's (which cut out everytime you breathed on them) and they would keep the one that sounded like I was about to die.  Awesome people though.  The most down to earth guys.  
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 23, 2010, 09:05:36 pm
http://product.half.ebay.com/Downtown-Digipak_W0QQtgZinfoQQp rZ43109612

and here is where you can buy the slab of love for .74 cents!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: compasspnt on August 23, 2010, 09:12:24 pm
Bob, what problems, if any, did you find recording in "house rooms" rather than "proper studio rooms," and how did you work to overcome them?
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Kassonica on August 23, 2010, 09:29:10 pm
Fantastic song, made my morning.

Lush sounds and I LOVE the vocal sound....

Excellent work.

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 23, 2010, 09:30:44 pm
To answer Terry's question about the difficulties of house recording versus studios:

I was a very lucky guy and had many resourses both in and out of my bedroom studio.  I could go cut drums at a Neve 80xx type room, go mix at Chung King, get things tweaked up over at Paul Logus's Logus Sound, fly to London and have Flood help me tweak in a bridge using a modular Roland synth (the same one used on Gary Newman and Depeche Mode LP's).  And if none of that was momentarily available, I had the spoiled rotten gear collection sitting right at home.  

The power of Protools to combine everything from the 2" machines.  Figuring out those damn sync boxes they used to have.  SBX-80's.  Moto Midi Time Clocks.  (should we turn up the gain going in to that thing?)  

At this time I was also funded as an artist (does this even happen anymore?) and I could spend 2 weeks just messing around with a synth or guitar part.  At least for me, those days are over.  Getting anything you wanted delivered to your door at anytime of the night.  Very inspiring things could be delivered by guys on bikes in about 5 minutes.  It was amazing!  haha.  

For any actual kiddies who would attempt the same today and may hear this rare record or read this thread and try to justify the power of doing it in your bedroom... just remember, my 'bedroom' was 4 20 by 20 rooms with 12 foot ceilings built in the 1940's.  My gear was about 8 giant 16 rackspace racks full of 12 years of collecting the rarest and the best gear.  My objective ears were 4 or 8 of the industry's greatest ever....

you can do it, yes, it is possible, but you probably won't fool your Sterling Sound mastering engineer into thinking you spent a half a million dollars doing so.

And you might not get to cut your drums in the most expensive heated converted barn in Aspen Colorado using a private collection of C12's, C24's, EQP1a's and 670's.

Geoff Daking might not fly you out bags full of preamps and compressors to where ever the hell you might be...

But do it!  Especially if you have something to say and a dark scary unique way of saying it.  Please, do it!  I'm missing it in music.

Just know that no school will teach you really any of the reality of doing it.  It will take you ten times more money and time than you will estimate, and at the end, when you hold in your hand the masterpiece of your blood sweat and tears...it will be distributed for free to all and the only thing you might get out of it is fame.  The fame will drag you right out of the studio and surround you with questions and clingers, all of which you probably never wanted to answer or hang out with....

man, am I actually helping here?  

Do it anyway man.  If you are that kid, you have to do it, you have no choice.  Just please, be that kid.  None of us wants to hear about how cool and rich you are.  We want to hear about how alienated you feel and how your emotions feel like they are going to strangle you alive.

"I'm sick and tired of...
..just gimme some truth"  John Lennon  






Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: compasspnt on August 23, 2010, 10:26:43 pm
bob ebeling wrote on Mon, 23 August 2010 21:30

 None of us wants to hear about how cool and rich you are.  We want to hear about how alienated you feel and how your emotions feel like they are going to strangle you alive.



The Big Star ethos stated succinctly.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: marcel on August 23, 2010, 11:12:13 pm
Wow.  This is inspiring on so many levels.  Thanks Bob, and thanks Terry for bringing it to light!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: tunetown on August 24, 2010, 12:19:43 am
bob ebeling wrote on Tue, 24 August 2010 11:30

Just know that no school will teach you really any of the reality of doing it.  It will take you ten times more money and time than you will estimate, and at the end, when you hold in your hand the masterpiece of your blood sweat and tears...it will be distributed for free to all and the only thing you might get out of it is fame.  The fame will drag you right out of the studio and surround you with questions and clingers, all of which you probably never wanted to answer or hang out with....


Beautifully said...!!!!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 24, 2010, 08:30:17 am
Continuing on my soapbox--

   http://product.half.ebay.com/Transfigured-Night_W0QQtgZinfoQ QprZ3287137

Here is my second (of 3) record you can buy for $1.00!

Recorded in 1996/7 on an Ampex MM1200 2" 16 track.  A Pair of Schoeps 221b's, a pair of Neumann UM-57's.  A Urei 1178.  A pair of Neve 32264 comps.  A pair of Calrec PQ-14 and a pair of Calrec PQ-15.

Recorded in the equivelent of a bedroom.  A 20' by 15' office space with a dropped ceiling.

I think we captured the ambience of Dark Side of The Moon with less than $10,000!

So in 1996/7, you could do it in your bedroom and get signed, toured and promoted!  

It was possible--but more importantly, the results were very possible.

Keep dreaming you 20 somethings!  Even though our equipment list from then will now cost you in excess of $100k!  

index.php/fa/15287/0/
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 24, 2010, 08:43:46 am
And continuing backwards--

index.php/fa/15288/0/

     http://product.half.ebay.com/Little-Bugs-Glow_W0QQtgZinfoQQp rZ3248483

buy my very first record for $2 or less!  

Recorded in 1994 on a Tascam 16 track 1/2" machine with a Neotek series 1 or 2 16 track console.  Strickly Shure sm-57's, until the end when we got educated and started using the gear from the previous post.

This record was literally recorded anywhere possible.  Friends living rooms, empty barns, parents basements, hotel rooms...

So...can 2 23 year old hungry musicians with a vision make it happen?  In 1994...YES!

But I'm sure the same could happen today if you had the vision and worked as hard as we did.  We wanted it.  That is the main difference between the bands you know and love and the 1000's that you've never heard of...DESIRE.  

I lived with Kid Rock for a couple years and you have never seen desire for success like that.  Eminem, same thing.  Rufus Wainwright, same thing.  It's like they are cut from the same cloth these rock stars.  I've worked with 15 of the biggest ones out there, and they could have all almost been the same exact person.  They go out there and demand it and demand it until it happens.  That is what they want.

I just like making crazy gorgeous sounding music.  The fame can suck a rotten egg.  I remember my first interview I realized, 'this is stupid!'.  So I went more into engineering, with occasional relapses into artistry.  If I had been born 10 years earlier I'd be huge.  haha

These days, do kids really have a chance?  The gear is all chips and worthless.  The biz is telling everyone they are stars but only selecting the most generic and decent looking, and then shoving computerized selling melodies down their poor little asses.  I don't know.  I'm glad I'm not 25 now!

"attention all planets of the solar federation...we have assumed control"
Neil Peart

There will always be an underground and a black market.  If kids are going to create something origional and reactive, the voice of a generation will always resonate.  It just won't resonate on FM radio or MTV anymore.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: C.Cash on August 24, 2010, 09:41:40 am
Incredible!

Thanks.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 24, 2010, 10:36:31 am
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQYe32rvxJU&feature=relat ed

This was recorded 90% live with a pair of U87's and spot mics and mixed in a small bad sounding bedroom on Mackie 824's and a Digi 001.  I used an adat firwire bridge and so did have two of my big columns of good stuff inserted.

I think it shows there is a way if the engineering is up to snuff and the material is wonderful.

From the Dead Meadow 'Feathers' album I produced for $10g's.  Matador probably spent more than that on this video.    

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: MoreSpaceEcho on August 24, 2010, 11:13:30 am
wow! my old band played a few shows with dead meadow circa 2000 and they sure didn't sound anything like THAT. really pretty song. great job.

is he wearing a tapestry?
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 24, 2010, 11:29:08 am
Is that what that is?  a robe?

Yes, I went to see them live and thought to myself, 'we certainly won't be capturing that amount of noise!'.

They seemed to understand I was onto something magnificent when we were making that record but that didn't keep the moody few from trying to turn my 8 fader wonder into a lo-fi hunk of shite.  I won when I left them zero options and flew out of the city...you'll notice my credits are severely buried on that record.

You must pick your battles!  For all pain and suffering, that is a great record, listenable by any fan of fidelity, and I say their best work to date.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: MoreSpaceEcho on August 24, 2010, 11:43:45 am
i'm pretty sure there's been pain and suffering involved in every great record ever. glad you (and the record) made it through!

when we played with them, they were a 3 piece and sounded like sabbath plus about 40 tons of very strong weed. they were so skinny it looked like they collectively weighed about as much as one average american.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 24, 2010, 12:06:30 pm
Uh-oh.  Back on the stuff?  or was this a long time ago before rehab?
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: MoreSpaceEcho on August 24, 2010, 02:28:46 pm
this was around 2000-2001, so before rehab i assume? i haven't kept up with them since then so i didn't know they'd gone. didn't realize they were hitting anything harder than the bong.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 24, 2010, 05:45:22 pm
Oh, they were cleaning up in 2004.  I have no idea what happened after that.  It's very tough when you set out to be the icon of drug rock.  How are you gonna stop the bongs from coming?  ha
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: RSettee on August 24, 2010, 06:39:54 pm
The Flood/ Alan Moulder thing sounds about right.....they've worked on alot of my favorite albums.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Unwinder on August 24, 2010, 07:38:45 pm
This is a great thread. It reminds me of the time i spent in NYC...and how much i miss it sometimes. Just when you think you've heard all of it, something really cool comes along. Never heard 'Downtown' before, but i really dig the psychedelic vibe. Kinda Beatles meets Verve...not to try to pigeon hole it though Bob, that's just what came to my mind on first listening. I'm for sure gonna pick up the record, and some of the other ones too, cause it's kinda fresh for me.

I like the heavy comp/processing used...and the upfront drums, etc with Moulder/Flood. Nice dry punch..and dark like you mentioned.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 24, 2010, 08:42:55 pm
D. Uwins,, you just put a warm and fuzzy grin on my face!  Thanks for that feedback.  I do miss NYC.  I always felt so totally invisible in the best way.  Just free to be whatever freak I wanted and that can't ever be underrated for someone doing the artist thing.  You are crowded in like sardines at times, but something about that is so liberating, and sardines are so nonjudgemental.  A sardine thinks, 'whatever' and just keeps sardining.  haha!

I have had to forget about being an artist in that deep selfish way, not to say it in an 'aww sad' way, buyI made my choices, I had SO much freedom and fun, and I lived 12 years that hardly anybody on Earth has a clue how amazing and colorful and earthless that was.  I am glad to be a responsible guy, to bring something of that avant garde dude to the plate for clients, to do hunderds of other records and not have to use that crazy part of the brain constantly.  To wake up stable and straight.
Kids, super cool wife, stacks of cool gear in very safe places....but still I do miss it!

index.php/fa/15290/0/
Charles Hughes on the left,your's truly on the right.

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: JSK73 on August 25, 2010, 07:40:31 pm
Wow, what a great thread. As usual, I'm just lurking around and soaking up the info. This one relates especially though since I happen to be "that kid" with the first album recently finished. Although without the excess luxuries and time, and I guess I'm kinda stretching it on the kid thing too.  Smile

Beautiful song Bob, thanks for the inspiration. I have to record because I have too. I feel guilty if I start getting lazy about it even. Besides, I got rid of the TV years ago, what else am I going to do evenings and weekends when not outdoors.

As a musician with a day job I only self record out of necessity, and whether I sell a ton of music or make any money is a distant second to what I get out of it. I just want every song to sound better then the previous one.


Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: compasspnt on August 25, 2010, 08:30:46 pm
Welcome Jamie.

You are recording for the right reason.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 25, 2010, 08:39:34 pm
I really wanted to thank all you guys, especially Terry for initiating this, for giving me such a nice free feeling today where I felt that 10 plus years still somehow in whatever small way matter.

Those 10 plus years were full of heartbreak, decisions-a-plenty to walk away from large sums of cash, broken relationships, distance from family, total confusion, bad addictions, bad women, strange scenes inside the goldmine.

Being a small of 'those guys' who get alot of the guru-in-the-eyes-looks from kids approaching me with those heavy questions, the 'what should I do with my life question (and whatever you say is going to be religious)', I've had to weigh this stuff alot thru the years.

What do you tell early 20 somethings who obviously have talent and an unique perspective?  Do you destroy all their dreams in single burned out answers, no.  Do you encourage them to take the insane leaps of faith that you did, knowing inside how many times you searched out the tallest building to jump from? No.

Do you convert the conversation into a gear talk, yes!  Because I think this is where kids are being led astray.  Kids are promised such lies in the pages of 99% of the mags that if I can straighten them out on that, they will be better off to make a real decision from their own experience.

9 Months ago a 24 year old approached me with a great budget and 12 songs that represented his statement of life.  It was imperative to him to get me on board, but, the money wasn't enough for me to change my blissful scenario of life then.  

So I talked him out of doing drums separately at one of the many rooms in NYC he was finding websites for where honestly the guy isn't going to care (sorry if you're one of the guys that does and you should be rewarded for keeping any commercial room running now).  I talked him into rehearsing his musicians for much longer than he thought necessary.  I talked him into finding a warehouse with a good separate office section for monitoring.  I talked him into borrowing and renting great gear and only great gear.

YOUNG ARTISTS!, look into the space in which you record, look into the event in which you create,  spend time thinking about your song and your lyrics and what it is that needs to be said now.  Rebellion.  Is it too late?  Is the machine too big?

Gear.  It makes a huge difference and it always has.  Just like the USA has to keep people buying to keep the economy pumped up, so the same in certain areas of the making music biz.  But there are amazing things we didn't have then now and guys making real incredible tools and not rying just to profit.  

Here is the crux of my advice to many for many years:  

keep jobs that make real money but don't steal away your time and soul.  

Save up for a great microphone.  Think about ways of capturing things in extreme quality--whether that be Lavry converters, an Apogee thing or an Otari 1/2" machine recently tweaked and relapped.
WRITE WRITE WRITE!!!  A great song does ALL OF THIS WORK FOR YOU.  

There is alot of amazing gear available now if you've got a little more than minimum wage money.  A Vintech 428 gives you 4 channels of beautiful preamps.  Josephson sdc's are like $400.  A pair of Focal Solo 6 is like $2k.  GIKacoustics can straighten out your room usually for less than $1k.  Cool ribbons are $99.
Just buy USAInsn some cases tweaked chinese-uhg)

In 1993 we had Tascam 16 track 1/2" machines and Alesis reverbs.  We found a friend with a barn, parents with basements, friends with empty lofts, and made things sound imaginitive.  The tools you have now are incredible, but just don't believe the hype on what you read in certain mags.  They are trying to sell you shite and just keep you buying.  All you need is an SM-57 and a 4-track dammit!  Not even $100--THERE's no excude.  Quit syudying gear like it;s going to make the difference in your career.

Sample collections--erase them.  Make original recordings of original songs.  There are a thousand of spaces for free to record in.  Amazing gear is everywhere.  Decent gear is everywhere.  It's not the fear, it's the song, the feeling, the preformance.

Maybe most of all, get your damn heads out of your culture.  Turn off the TV.  Don't watch MTV.  Don't listen to the radio.  Don't think about what everyone else wants to hear.  Don't fall in love for awhile.  There seems to be this race to the great average nothingness now.  I'm 40 and I can't fight that hard anymore.  All I can do is have you come for a day or two and cut on the best.  I cnnot possibly do your entire record, unless you're go deeep pockets.  You 18 year olds have all the natural juice and energy to do anything.

Leave everyone behind and write a song that makes people cry or have a magic moment.  Take all the money you would spend on these schools that teach engineering and write and record instead. Real experience, not the theory of experience.

Make that crazy record now and if you are crazy enough, you'll stand infront of emptying bars at 2Am like I did and sell your CD's for $10 to people that have a real hard time saying no.  They drive somewhere the next day listening to you.  6 months later you sell-out 850 people in the Majestic Theater in Detroit and Ralph Valdez interviews you on the coolest indie rock show going in Detroit -three times!

I have to stop--this is too much.

I'll post a recording from that kid Peter next, the kid who did the recortd in the wharehouse with the best gear he could rent.  I mixed it for what he could pay and I forced him to master it with Joe Lambert who I think is incredible.

index.php/fa/15297/0/
Instore at Tower Record AnnArbor 1994
 
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 25, 2010, 09:40:48 pm
REFLECTIONS ON TRANSFIGURED NIGHT

For you deep deep guys, 'Jump on the sun' (track 3) and 'Can't You See?' (track 5) from the TranNight' LP are Schoeps 221b's withuout the rings, 934's in cardiod, about 2 or 3 feet from a $100 japanese 60's Ludwig imination kit Snare and Kick.  That's it, two mics.  Going stright to Calrece PQ 15's, Meve 32242 comps, and into the Ampex MM1200 16 track.  This WAS the bed track.  There was no click in my phones.  I remember sitting there all night 'til 2 or 4am swearing at myself (terrible words) to get the simple patterns and 60 BPM with no clock dead on.  My friends left before midnight.

The backwards blackguy voices in 'Can't You See?' are Robert Bradley, we were using their throw away tapes (from RCA's Robert Bradley and the Blackwatwer Surprise) and using them backwards knocking them down (erasing them) poorly. (actually, 24 tracks don't knock down well on a 16 track machine)

Several sections on this record are literaly 'out of sync' with the material recorded or playing back from the wrong head.  We kept it.

The control room was 7' by 10' with  a dropped ceiling and the monitors were 8" Boston HD8.  I wish I had about 4 more pair of those as they are hooked up to my Marantz 2220b in the bedroom, where all heavy and judgemental listening tkaes place lying down (eye's closed) and sound awesome.

I HATE computer screens.  The number one killer of creativity for 12 plus years.  We did this record withough one!

Several tracks ('Twinkle Little Star' and 'and I Love You) were recorded at Detroit's famous Whiteroom on the old (now?) Smashing Pumpkins API.  Dave Pietura did a wonderful job with my demand that we only use 5 mics on the drums and lean heavily on the bottom snare/kick beater mic.  What really ended up happening was me discovering a rev D 1176 and snashing the entire kit parallell with that.

This was 1996 and our first experience with a real and amazing longbody U47.  I yelled at poor Charles for half an hour to stop singing like 'Neil Diamond'.        
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 25, 2010, 10:34:03 pm
Here is a link from the '9 Months ago record' referenced a couple posts ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iYPY0MzAY0

This kid is 25 now and he's relly serious about sonics.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: samurai99 on August 25, 2010, 11:29:51 pm
bob ebeling wrote on Wed, 25 August 2010 20:39

I really wanted to thank all you guys, especially Terry for initiating this, for giving me such a nice free feeling today where I felt that 10 plus years still somehow in whatever small way matter.

Those 10 plus years were full of heartbreak, decisions-a-plenty to walk away from large sums of cash, broken relationships, distance from family, total confusion, bad addictions, bad women, strange scenes inside the goldmine.

Being a small of 'those guys' who get alot of the guru-in-the-eyes-looks from kids approaching me with those heavy questions, the 'what should I do with my life question (and whatever you say is going to be religious)', I've had to weigh this stuff alot thru the years.

What do you tell early 20 somethings who obviously have talent and an unique perspective?  Do you destroy all their dreams in single burned out answers, no.  Do you encourage them to take the insane leaps of faith that you did, knowing inside how many times you searched out the tallest building to jump from? No.

Do you convert the conversation into a gear talk, yes!  Because I think this is where kids are being led astray.  Kids are promised such lies in the pages of 99% of the mags that if I can straighten them out on that, they will be better off to make a real decision from their own experience.

9 Months ago a 24 year old approached me with a great budget and 12 songs that represented his statement of life.  It was imperative to him to get me on board, but, the money wasn't enough for me to change my blissful scenario of life then.  

So I talked him out of doing drums separately at one of the many rooms in NYC he was finding websites for where honestly the guy isn't going to care (sorry if you're one of the guys that does and you should be rewarded for keeping any commercial room running now).  I talked him into rehearsing his musicians for much longer than he thought necessary.  I talked him into finding a warehouse with a good separate office section for monitoring.  I talked him into borrowing and renting great gear and only great gear.

YOUNG ARTISTS!, look into the space in which you record, look into the event in which you create,  spend time thinking about your song and your lyrics and what it is that needs to be said now.  Rebellion.  Is it too late?  Is the machine too big?

Gear.  It makes a huge difference and it always has.  Just like the USA has to keep people buying to keep the economy pumped up, so the same in certain areas of the making music biz.  But there are amazing things we didn't have then now and guys making real incredible tools and not rying just to profit.  

Here is the crux of my advice to many for many years:  

keep jobs that make real money but don't steal away your time and soul.  

Save up for a great microphone.  Think about ways of capturing things in extreme quality--whether that be Lavry converters, an Apogee thing or an Otari 1/2" machine recently tweaked and relapped.
WRITE WRITE WRITE!!!  A great song does ALL OF THIS WORK FOR YOU.  

There is alot of amazing gear available now if you've got a little more than minimum wage money.  A Vintech 428 gives you 4 channels of beautiful preamps.  Josephson sdc's are like $400.  A pair of Focal Solo 6 is like $2k.  GIKacoustics can straighten out your room usually for less than $1k.  Cool ribbons are $99.
Just buy USAInsn some cases tweaked chinese-uhg)

In 1993 we had Tascam 16 track 1/2" machines and Alesis reverbs.  We found a friend with a barn, parents with basements, friends with empty lofts, and made things sound imaginitive.  The tools you have now are incredible, but just don't believe the hype on what you read in certain mags.  They are trying to sell you shite and just keep you buying.  All you need is an SM-57 and a 4-track dammit!  Not even $100--THERE's no excude.  Quit syudying gear like it;s going to make the difference in your career.

Sample collections--erase them.  Make original recordings of original songs.  There are a thousand of spaces for free to record in.  Amazing gear is everywhere.  Decent gear is everywhere.  It's not the fear, it's the song, the feeling, the preformance.

Maybe most of all, get your damn heads out of your culture.  Turn off the TV.  Don't watch MTV.  Don't listen to the radio.  Don't think about what everyone else wants to hear.  Don't fall in love for awhile.  There seems to be this race to the great average nothingness now.  I'm 40 and I can't fight that hard anymore.  All I can do is have you come for a day or two and cut on the best.  I cnnot possibly do your entire record, unless you're go deeep pockets.  You 18 year olds have all the natural juice and energy to do anything.

Leave everyone behind and write a song that makes people cry or have a magic moment.  Take all the money you would spend on these schools that teach engineering and write and record instead. Real experience, not the theory of experience.

Make that crazy record now and if you are crazy enough, you'll stand infront of emptying bars at 2Am like I did and sell your CD's for $10 to people that have a real hard time saying no.  They drive somewhere the next day listening to you.  6 months later you sell-out 850 people in the Majestic Theater in Detroit and Ralph Valdez interviews you on the coolest indie rock show going in Detroit -three times!

I have to stop--this is too much.

I'll post a recording from that kid Peter next, the kid who did the recortd in the wharehouse with the best gear he could rent.  I mixed it for what he could pay and I forced him to master it with Joe Lambert who I think is incredible.

index.php/fa/15297/0/
Instore at Tower Record AnnArbor 1994
 



That was an incredible post. Maybe the easy access to recording gear forces all of us to be simply better at what we do.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 26, 2010, 07:44:37 am
James K.  It made me so happy to read your post.

You are one of the real ones, and when you get that feeling that you HAVE to do it no matter what, that is true art.

You rule!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 26, 2010, 10:27:13 am
Forgive my neuroticism but I want to state the important fact of artistry versus buying gear.

If you are driven internally and automatically, like angels are filling songs into your head, then DO NOT THINK ABOUT GEAR.  Those like me will find you and gladly offer up our collections to you.  Our collections only exist to capture your songs.

If you find yourself just wishing to record bands and having very little motivation to write or express anything, but love great music, then DIVE INTO GEAR.  Cool preamps, mics, a tuned room and spend crazy amounts on monitors.

We are at an unfortunate spot in time where the true artist feels compelled to play multiple roles, work, pay for gear, and write. Excuse my french, but F%*K THAT.  

Write, write, write.  If people with the studios hear you, they will not even think about dollar signs, they will only imagine the resolution of recording you on their gear.

So amazing voices of future generations, please ignore gear, just write songs and go out get your heart broken.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 26, 2010, 09:56:19 pm
Elliott Smith recorded most of his first two records on a $75 guitar he found at a pawn shop.  The vocal mic was some radio shack thing.  He found a nice sounding area under the stairway of his then girlfriends house.

If it were 2010 he wouldn't have recorded those records because he'd be convinced he needed to wait until he had Neumann mics and an 1960's j45 acoustic.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: JSK73 on August 27, 2010, 01:17:20 am
Bob, spot-on and timely advice from the perspective of where I sit regarding my "craft" right now, I use that term humbly BTW.  Either way, thank you again kind sir.

What I mean is, I have been kicking around gear purchase ideas for a bit because I want to expand on a couple "essentials" in the near future. What you are talking about with the whole "do-everything artist situation" is the crux of the confusion-blender in my head right now. Fortunately, the advice I get around here helps morph the whole blender question into a complete answer mix. (grin)

Anyway, your gear advice does pertain to me particularly and here is how so.

As romantic as it seems for me to think about recording some other people's tunes the reality is that over the years I've learned that I do in fact have to be very selfish with my time regarding this music stuff. Selfish does seem harsh, but I mean it in an honest way. How much spare time does anyone have?

For my situation, here are the questions you have answered in your much appreciated rantings.

-Do I need a fancy-pants analog mix buss? NO!
-Do I need to drop a bunch of coin on a crazy nice converter rig with tons of in/out so I can do the whole mix buss thing, then I could expand the hardware and all that fun stuff to oblivion etc. etc. etc.? NO! NO! NO!

With or without meaning too, what you have solidified is that I NEED to keep it simple. Of course obviously of the best quality I can achieve.  

So what I have decided is that any money or time spent from now on for my little recording space, is for expanding my front end capabilities. Then I will take my mostly mixed stems of twelve or less tracks to you for final mixing. It makes perfect sense, and I would be honored. (We can negotiate when the time comes.Very Happy)  

And if I do feel the need to record some other people's stuff, I should probably opt for a very nice remote stereo rig so I can go around this region and document some southern gospel, and other regional stuff.

Since this is the "and what are you guys doing?" thread I figured it wouldn't be out of line to post some songs that I have recorded and play mostly everything on. I don't have any videos or anything, but here are some tunes.

http://www.tunecore.com/widgets/show/27407
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 27, 2010, 08:30:36 am
Cool Jamie!  In our own little way we are widdling down to some strengths here.

I listened to your mixes about 2 1/2 times this morning.  I don't feel like you need stems, just a nice mastering.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 27, 2010, 08:47:49 am
"I don't wanna go bowling with you anymore.... "

I love it.

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 27, 2010, 10:05:31 am
This was to Jamie...I'm still figuring out this PSW thing.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: RSettee on August 27, 2010, 10:29:15 am
bob ebeling wrote on Thu, 26 August 2010 20:56

Elliott Smith recorded most of his first two records on a $75 guitar he found at a pawn shop.  The vocal mic was some radio shack thing.  He found a nice sounding area under the stairway of his then girlfriends house.

If it were 2010 he wouldn't have recorded those records because he'd be convinced he needed to wait until he had Neumann mics and an 1960's j45 acoustic.


Perhaps. Those are great songs, regardless of the equipment used. But the other train of thought is either that he'd do it anyways and be lost in the deluge of artists and musicians, or he'd be so intimidated by that, where he wouldn't even record the music.  Laughing To a certain extent, I think that Elliott kind of pioneered the lo-fi intimate indie artist type thing.....nowadays if it came out, i'm not sure if it would have the same effect.

Personally, I wouldn't want to listen to my four track lo-fi stuff if I were not me. I don't think that it's very good, mainly because i'm not really that naturally skilled--I need lots of tracks to fully develop what I have going on in my head. Sometimes I do think that artists should wait until they're ready and where they've got pretty close to the vision of what they're trying to accomplish. Some artists succeed with the raw and spontaneous thing; others have nuances that are best developed over the course of a song or album, which is all time and money. Mainly time these days. Recording software has got amazing--you just need to develop what's going on and spend the time to get it right. Part of me is a little disappointed that with all the cheapness in technology where one can  make a top flight album, that so many acts are taking the quick and easy way out and staying at the demo level and making underwhelming records.

T-Model Ford didn't start playing and recording until he was in his 60's, I think!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: C.Cash on August 27, 2010, 10:54:35 am
Awesome thread!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 27, 2010, 11:47:20 am
I really wonder how much further I would have made it as an artist, which was at one time my sole aspiration.  As equipment entered the picture to get the art made, even in 1992, buying a 16 track for 5 grand, the stress of being a studio operator started to directly take away this free and always writing guy and turn him into an always thinking about money and gear guy.

There was a direct effect where gear, in my case, wrecked (erased?, slowly turned away?) an artist.  Now, that was my choice and there have been hundreds of great things that have come from going the gear way, but could I have been that great artist who today would be sitting in Scotland, drinking a Guinness and scribbling lyric ideas on napkins while trying not to let those 4 girls in the corner recognize who I am?

I think if I had to do it all again, I might not have ever bought that 16 track in 1992 and rather put all that time and effort into rehearsing a band, writing songs, and spending more time in Jamaica...but who's to say?  
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: compasspnt on August 27, 2010, 12:21:59 pm
bob ebeling wrote on Fri, 27 August 2010 11:47

I really wonder how much further I would have made it as an artist, which was at one time my sole aspiration.  As equipment entered the picture to get the art made, even in 1992, buying a 16 track for 5 grand, the stress of being a studio operator started to directly take away this free and always writing guy and turn him into an always thinking about money and gear guy.

There was a direct effect where gear, in my case, wrecked (erased?, slowly turned away?) an artist.  Now, that was my choice and there have been hundreds of great things that have come from going the gear way, but could I have been that great artist who today would be sitting in Scotland, drinking a Guinness and scribbling lyric ideas on napkins while trying not to let those 4 girls in the corner recognize who I am?

I think if I had to do it all again, I might not have ever bought that 16 track in 1992 and rather put all that time and effort into rehearsing a band, writing songs, and spending more time in Jamaica...but who's to say?




This is an EXTREMELY important point.

There is something in the "creative spirit mindset" that does NOT like the intrusion of business ideals.

That's one reason a good band manager is so important. Sometimes there is one band member who can take on the basic responsibilities (often the bass player for some reason?), but so so many musicians just plain do not want to do "the business thing."

This is yet another reason that the music business today, wherein a band or single artist is almost expected to write the songs,
book the gigs, handle the merch, collect the money, record the demos (or worse, MASTERS) in their own house on their own recording system, drive their own van, load their own gear, design their own album cover, market themselves extensively, call David Letterman's booker, etc....is causing a DEARTH of truly creative flow.

And the WORST thing, I have seen it several times, is when a band or artist decides to "put in their own high end studio."  Can it work...yes, it might.  Will it work?  Likely it will diminish the creative juices as the focus is diverted towards day to day business ideals.

Yes, on the other hand is the fact that in today's "artistically democratic" world, there are more chances to record oneself, more opportunities to go worldwide, than ever.

But where is the Golden Mean?
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 27, 2010, 01:58:13 pm
Amen Terry!

The Golden Mean is...pretty much nonexistent and I'm sure will be second guessed to death if it exists.

I go to sleep dreaming of microphones and not melodies now.  I'm gone as far as being an artist.  But I was damn unique and good once upon a time.

In 2004, when peaking as an artist, my label and I sat at a restaurant in Manhattan and the discussion turned to album order, song order.  Suddenly suits and accountants were weighing in on this all important part of MY process.  MY PROCESS.  I work for 2 1/2 years and you're going to change my album order over a $2000 dinner?  I get divorced from someone who can't be a second to my attentions, write the songs, but you're going to put them in order for me.

Then, when I fought that fight, and the record came out, that is ALL I heard about over and over from my A&R and every-freakin-body at the label--the guy who makes stickers, etc..  'Maybe the order of the record was a little off?'  'I played the record for so and so and he thought the second track should have been fourth or fifth.'  'Maybe we should have led off with more up-tempo stuff.'  

Later this turned to insult...'it's not going to be another collection of your slow-jams is it?'

It wasn't hard to want to walk from that biz.  I was near the very top of the sacred stairway when they really started demanding healthy chunks of my soul.  Being one of the guys that could engineer and write, I simply took a few staff engineer positions.  Swallowed my pride for a long time.  

Mics and Pres and Compressors and Tubes now have replaced those melodies and lyrics and concepts that would help everyone get through a day or a week.  It's been a tough transition because I still have that artist inside me and I still get offers to do records where they want my co-writing and melodies or string sections.  But I can't, for my own sanity, blend the two.

The future generations will have to be jacks of so many trades and I can't see it happening, unless it's playing video games, sorry kids.  And so it will be video game 'written' pop melodies. Get ready studio guys!  Aren't you so excited!

Specialization is where it's headed because people will have no other choice.
 

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Skullsessions on August 27, 2010, 02:38:05 pm
Funny.

I wanted to hate this song from the first note.  Not really sure why.  I just ate lunch, perhaps.  Maybe it just wasn't what I expected to hear.

But then I got about 50 seconds in and realized I liked it.  Very cool verb/delay on that single note keyboard line.  And finally...about the time the second chorus hit I was sucked completely in.

A little Floyd,  a little Duran Duran, a little Kraftwerk, perhaps.

Vocals are massive, and I love the relentlessness of the 808.  Good stuff!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 28, 2010, 07:27:59 am
Thanks James Hook!  If your lunch stayed down I must have done somthing right.  hah.  

It is a tough proposition to hold a feeling of longing for the past going for 4 plus minutes, and I must admit there have been times when this song made me hate it too!  But once that chorus hits how can you not chant along?  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C28omOuUFkA

Thanks for the patience!    
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: MDM, on August 28, 2010, 08:45:09 am
I dunno.. I feel that machines in general rob you of artistic energy.

I have this idea that maybe the best thing that a musician (especially a solo-songwriter) could do is write and concieve their material as far away possible from machines, and try to envision the arrangement in their head from beginning to end before getting near any gear.

even during the process of recording, I believe that to keep the vision pure and clear in the mind there should be no contact with machines..
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 28, 2010, 11:45:33 am
I love that concept!  Syd Barrett, if around and working, would surely agree.  I think Syd was onto it.  

The other thing machines force you out of is the habit of working by yourself, not always, but you wouldn't be able to sit there and let the generically zipping Alesis HR-16 slowly seep in and change the very feeling you had before you started.

For me, for this song, I felt a connection with the 808, the real dear TR-808.  I'm a pretty darn good drummer and it wouldn't be any drum machine that could inspire me.  Something about the way the computer runs on a real 808 is very imperfect but has a pocket.  I honestly think it was a mistake but I don't know.  When I get a groove happening with it I feel inspired to write chords, and I'm describing exactly how this song was written.

Machines suck, but we are all dependant on them and being turned into them.  What can we do?  Where would 'One More Trip Downtown' Be without the 808?  Honestly, nowhere.  It wouldn't have happened that night.  
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: RSettee on August 28, 2010, 12:14:59 pm
Some good words, Bob. I hear you on the gear thing--sometimes I get a bit more focused on the gear than the songs, but i'm really happy with the gear that i've got now. Sure people have "better" stuff, but even with guitars and amps and pedals and stuff like that.....I find that after a certain level of money spent, that the gear may feel or may be built nicer, but it's not necessarily better sound-wise than what I already have. But sometimes I too wonder if I shouldn't have moved onto something else than music, a long time ago....gone back to school or had a legitimate "career", etc.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 28, 2010, 04:48:51 pm
Well you've got me there Mr. RSetter!  God!  It sounds like we are cut from the same exact experimental cookie cutter!  You guys rule.  Don't you always wonder, 'why are we not getting all the soundtrack work?????'

I was musing on what if I had become the strict studio unintelligent artist.  I wonder.  It's weird.  Guys like Dead Meadow and Interpol walked into the studio and looked at everything like it was a bunch of gadgets--'whatever' they could have said with their looks.

I kinda wish I had remained ignorant at some point.  

Way too late now!!!!!  Control Freaks!!!!!

Part 7 was getting me off!  I need these alsbums to sleep to, and that is a big complement!  hehe
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 28, 2010, 04:52:50 pm
PART 7!!!!  Use the drums more guys!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: RSettee on August 28, 2010, 05:09:43 pm
bob ebeling wrote on Sat, 28 August 2010 15:52

PART 7!!!!  Use the drums more guys!


It's funny you mention that--it's a drum machine (highly modified SR-16....sounds sent to each of the four outs, ie: snare/ hat in one, toms in another, bass drum in another, cymbals in the 4th out). I have some real drums here and there on the records, but when there's drums, there's always the idea that everything should be bigger. It's kinda nice to just let the melody take over. Programming drums to sort of bridge the gap between the mechanicalness of the drum machine and having some sort of realism to it is kind of hard to do at times.

bob ebeling wrote on Sat, 28 August 2010 15:48

Well you've got me there Mr. RSetter!  God!  It sounds like we are cut from the same exact experimental cookie cutter!  You guys rule.  Don't you always wonder, 'why are we not getting all the soundtrack work?????'


Thanks! Sometimes I think that, yeah. But I like the idea of not having pressures, too--no deadlines. I just work at this day after day and sometimes if it's too frustrating, i'll stop doing it for awhile and return to it when it's flowing.

"Downtown" reminds me of "Playground Love" by Air--same vibe, kinda sounds 10CC-ish.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAgX1jO3No0
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Unwinder on August 28, 2010, 07:19:50 pm
compasspnt wrote on Fri, 27 August 2010 17:21

bob ebeling wrote on Fri, 27 August 2010 11:47

I really wonder how much further I would have made it as an artist, which was at one time my sole aspiration.  As equipment entered the picture to get the art made, even in 1992, buying a 16 track for 5 grand, the stress of being a studio operator started to directly take away this free and always writing guy and turn him into an always thinking about money and gear guy.

There was a direct effect where gear, in my case, wrecked (erased?, slowly turned away?) an artist.  Now, that was my choice and there have been hundreds of great things that have come from going the gear way, but could I have been that great artist who today would be sitting in Scotland, drinking a Guinness and scribbling lyric ideas on napkins while trying not to let those 4 girls in the corner recognize who I am?

I think if I had to do it all again, I might not have ever bought that 16 track in 1992 and rather put all that time and effort into rehearsing a band, writing songs, and spending more time in Jamaica...but who's to say?




This is an EXTREMELY important point.

There is something in the "creative spirit mindset" that does NOT like the intrusion of business ideals.

That's one reason a good band manager is so important. Sometimes there is one band member who can take on the basic responsibilities (often the bass player for some reason?), but so so many musicians just plain do not want to do "the business thing."

This is yet another reason that the music business today, wherein a band or single artist is almost expected to write the songs,
book the gigs, handle the merch, collect the money, record the demos (or worse, MASTERS) in their own house on their own recording system, drive their own van, load their own gear, design their own album cover, market themselves extensively, call David Letterman's booker, etc....is causing a DEARTH of truly creative flow.

And the WORST thing, I have seen it several times, is when a band or artist decides to "put in their own high end studio."  Can it work...yes, it might.  Will it work?  Likely it will diminish the creative juices as the focus is diverted towards day to day business ideals.

Yes, on the other hand is the fact that in today's "artistically democratic" world, there are more chances to record oneself, more opportunities to go worldwide, than ever.

But where is the Golden Mean?



That's a good reason that if you are an artist that is recording yourself, you need to be acutely aware of the seperation between these two things, or you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin...and neither one ends up being any good. I'm glad I put in all those hours (years) reading about gear, setting up a signal chain, listening, etc... but it has nothing to do with what happens when i'm writing a song? Absolutely nothing. It's nice to have some idea when i'm setting up a KM84 into an API and a Gates Sta level... or if i'm recording or helping someone else. Otherwise, i setup a chain, make it sound as good as i can, objectively, then attempt to release that mindset and move into the creative mindset that brought the song about in the first place...and stay there for awhile attempting takes and listening for something that feels right. A difficult thing to go back and forth between. Even to begin to start to be successful at 'recording' your own 'song', you need to be aware that you are unable to do both.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: RSettee on August 28, 2010, 07:25:38 pm
Good points. I've found that trial and error accounts for alot. I've learned more, I think, by what I throw away. Alot of artists don't throw away or try enough things where they're realizing what could be, or what shouldn't be there. As long as one knows that they're either totally the way to where they want to sound, or if they're not there, that's a step in the right direction. There's nothing that bothers me more than "this doesn't sound right, and I don't have the time to correct it". Well, find a way. Make the time. Most of the bands that would contact me in the last few years would say "we don't have the money or time". To me, that sounds like "hey, we want to release music, but we don't want to put any effort into it".

With the cheap cost of top notch equipment nowadays that I would have personally killed  for in the 4 track cassette days, I don't think that audiences should have to listen to someone's half baked demos. People want to put out music, but they don't want to figure out a way to make it better.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 28, 2010, 07:47:38 pm
Seems the staring-at-a-tiny-screen-all-day generation just wants the fame or whatever it is the little screen is telling them.

Isn't that so uplifting!

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 29, 2010, 09:26:09 am
You guys both make great points though that are leaning towards something I've been screaming inside about with every mix job i get these days:  EDITNG PROCESS.  or SELF-EDITING.

That seems to be getting lost faster than decent production itself and has to be either a symptom or result.

These DAW's with 100 plus track counts are killing me man.  I used to mix a song for a flat rate no matter what, now there is no way to do that or even quote a job until I open the sessions and then most often what I see is is a total nightmare.

These kiddies are losing sight of the 60's (4 tracks) and 70's (8, then 16, then 24, then two 24's synced up if you had ALOT of money).  So basically every great record ever discounting the ones from before 1998 or so were done with probably 24 tracks or less!  

I open a song sent to me to mix and it's got 138 tracks, the saxophone part in the bridge has 4 microphones on it, every guitar is triple miced and double tracked.  

I'll just start a new service Bob Ebeling's Editing Services.  Kidding.  But seriously, why are the kiddies not learning any self-editing skills anymore?

I think the best advice I can give anybody starting a new record is this:  Limit yourself to 16 tracks per song only.  I swear, the results will be so much better and you will have to make decisions and you will have to live with them and a natural ambience will form around your music because of the hard thinking you made yourself do!  
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: RSettee on August 29, 2010, 10:04:47 am
I think that if one tracks a whole bunch of things that they're not even sure that they're gonna keep,  that can be a nightmare for a mixing engineer. I've never really seen the point to having ten different snares with the possibility that they'd be used. I've recorded 80-100 tracks for some of my songs, but most of that is things like the same part, but an octave or two up or down, and usually things build up in later verses and choruses in the songs, or maybe there's a horn section in the bridge that's 20 tracks or something, or counterpoint vocal harmonies with 5 tracks for each one It's rare that something doesn't make the final mix--I come from the school of 4 track cassette and then 8 track bouncing....I think that's good discipline in what the basics should be to keep, and then what to get liberal with, later.

I'll outright erase takes that I know aren't gonna make it--i'm not really into a hard drive full of possible this and maybe that. It's a hassle to go through the takes later on and then try to remember why it was kept--but better yet, why it wasn't used.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: MDM, on August 29, 2010, 10:52:17 am
if the people involved in sweetening and overdubbing aren't excellent arrangers, it only takes a few overdubs to make the whole track sound small and constipated.

Unfortunately if you are dealing with amateurs they tend to blame the mixing guy for not being able to make it sound good.

My natural tendency is to cut-out the tracks, but that usually gets me into trouble.. I don't think you get these problems when dealing with talented artists and arrangers though..

what was that interview where they described putting the 'thriller' tapes on?  something like 'I put the faders up and there was the record'
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Waltz Mastering on August 29, 2010, 11:59:10 am
MDM, wrote on Sun, 29 August 2010 10:52


what was that interview where they described putting the 'thriller' tapes on?  something like 'I put the faders up and there was the record'


There's also the story where Swedien did 90 some mixes for one of the songs and they went back and chose the first one...
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 29, 2010, 02:50:41 pm
"Record take one only because I never fuck up."
--This is one of my pals and I's running jokes, but how true it is, even if it isn't, there's always a magic you will never recreate on that first take..part of the brain that is working properly until it gets told to shut up.

Just like trying to recapture the magic of a 4-track production by switching over to a 24 track and spending a day micing the drums....  Usually though it's the guitar or vocal tone that really stops the session in it's tracks.

God bless you if your clients are able to walk the tightrope, but I must bid you fair warning, I have seen nothing get easier on the engineer lately.  But it's not only engineering to me, it seems the whole world is turning into a hand holding telemarketers apology.  We appreciate your patience sir...

I personally love having a good time and sharing some smiles but I also like to define an objective and then totally murder it with tears of bliss and rage.  The save save save thing to me is total BS and always will be, I don't care if they make 500 track rigs that record at reality, very few records have ever proven to me that more than 24 tracks is necessary.

When decisions are made now, records are being made now, and the emotion and ambience that you are forcing yourself to swim in will inform the rest of what happens for the song. It will always be more unique if three months later some golden ear cannot EQ it to sound exactly 'right'.  Motown.  Beatles.  

But that ain't 2010!  It's not modern and new!  

Well, I submit that 1979 was the cutoff then, with few and rare acceptions.  Supertramps 'Breakfast in America' and Pink Floyd's 'The Wall'...and previous to this alot of other things, Queen, ELO in 77 and 78, keep going back...hundreds of beautiful LPs.  Rock as Art.  Rock as High Art.  Painters and sculpters used to be the artists of a culture but in the 1960's and 1970's the ultimate artist, the man who's work spoke for his generation and represented that time, those men and women were rock-n-roll artists.

But things reached a perfection in the late 70's for some reason and then it was over, save for the revisitations--Radiohead's 'OK Computer', Beck's 'Seachange', the revisitations happen when the match of the artist who is ready to take the throne, to make the statement, to define what life feels like right at that time, when that artist demands to work in a certain way, which happens to be the way it used to be done.  

You have to be locked away, your thoughts must never be centered around, 'well I can save this and revisit it'.  

It's now or never.    
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: MDM, on August 29, 2010, 03:38:01 pm
I totally agree.

The great-sounding stuff was up to 1979..

I think of '82-'83 as a turning point for some reason, though that may be just time lag. Maybe it's the midi-studio, cheap mixer fenomena that dropped the bar.

it would be nice to have some photos of the big studios up until 1979 and then after 1980-82  to see how they changed.

The bands were different as well, of course.  This maybe ties in with the discussion on record companies and the '80s, artist development etc.



Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Bob Olhsson on August 30, 2010, 12:29:47 am
MDM, wrote on Sun, 29 August 2010 14:38

...I think of '82-'83 as a turning point for some reason, though that may be just time lag. Maybe it's the midi-studio, cheap mixer fenomena that dropped the bar.



Three letters, SSL, and the mentality of compressing, gating and automating the grunt out of absolutely everything.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Blackie Pawless on August 30, 2010, 01:23:35 am
Bob Olhsson wrote on Sun, 29 August 2010 23:29

Three letters, SSL, and the mentality of compressing, gating and automating the grunt out of absolutely everything.




1000% correct. Added to that, the concept of quicker / more accurate recalls which made endless tweaking easier on SSL's.
Also on the post 1979 cut off list: drum machines and click tracks to make sure those pesky choruses didn't speed up and get too exciting. The concept of "perfect" time over feel.


Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: compasspnt on August 30, 2010, 08:41:01 am
Agreed, but having the tools (in this case, SSL, drum machine, editing capability) does not force one to make worse recordings, it just allow those with less-than-perfect taste to go wild.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on August 30, 2010, 10:25:12 am
I don't know if it's simply a matter of peoples taste and sensibilities.

Let's entertain this scenario: (and not pick apart the imposibilities of it, just imagine it)  

For the next year, starting Nov 1'st 2010 thru Nov. 1'st 2011, all artists across every single spectrum and everywhere in the world will be forced to use a 16 track 2" machine.  They will not be allowed to use anymore than 16 tracks no matter what.
(Yes, 200,000,000 perfectly working MM1200 machines will be provided, with all the punch in mods actually working).

All automated consoles will be banned also.  You can use your Neve but you cannot turn on the flying faders, you can use your SSL, no automation, etc..

At the end of this year, would we not all be freaking out at the miracle that has happened to music?  Too utopian?  Obviously, but do you think it would be wonderful?
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Fibes on August 30, 2010, 03:20:04 pm
compasspnt wrote on Mon, 30 August 2010 08:41

Agreed, but having the tools (in this case, SSL, drum machine, editing capability) does not force one to make worse recordings, it just allow those with less-than-perfect taste to go wild.




Yes.



Taste and imagination should come before convenience and dogma.



I still think there are plenty of great sounding records coming out today but they aren't at the top of the promo echelon.

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Bob Olhsson on September 02, 2010, 11:27:05 am
compasspnt wrote on Mon, 30 August 2010 07:41

Agreed, but having the tools (in this case, SSL, drum machine, editing capability) does not force one to make worse recordings, it just allow those with less-than-perfect taste to go wild.



It also sold gobs of studio time as people screwed around with all of the knobs. It kind of took the place of drugs in that respect.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on September 10, 2010, 08:03:16 am
New EBELING HUGHES short Documentary!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ4S7ViisgE

We talk a bit about our building studios in the early 90's.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Seb Riou on September 10, 2010, 08:54:00 am
How did i miss 5 pages of this amazing thread ?!?

Great work Mr Ebeling, and great thoughts !
I feel shoegaze is on the way to come back
I surely psyche the guitars and vocals more and more Wink
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on September 10, 2010, 11:44:16 am
Thanks Seb!  Shoegaze is in full swing here in my house.  'Souvlaki' by Slowdive is just playing over and over.  haha.

I would love a shoegaze revival.  Get your reverbs and delays out kids!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on September 10, 2010, 01:56:13 pm
Also--Don't miss the latest MGMT record!  Modern prog drenched in EMT 251.

New Interpol out.  New Blonde Redhead out.  A few nice things left in the world.  Wink
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Seb Riou on September 10, 2010, 02:23:18 pm
Yup, can't wait to hear the Interpol album, and love the MGMT !
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Chris Nighman on September 10, 2010, 02:37:51 pm
What a great thread! I'd just like to say thanks to Terry for spotlighting different forum members from time to time. What a great community and moderator. Also, thanks to both Bob and Terry for all the comments. I gotta admit half of what passes for a hit song now days is just mind blowing...but then again I'm sure we won't be talking about these artist 20 years from now!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: RSettee on September 10, 2010, 06:49:34 pm
Fibes wrote on Mon, 30 August 2010 14:20


I still think there are plenty of great sounding records coming out today but they aren't at the top of the promo echelon.




Yeah. Even albums like last year's release by Bill Callahan were great sounding, but I don't think that it went much past his core audience or past the indie rock scene. Justin Currie's "What Is Love For" and "The Great War" sound great, but I don't think that many people heard it outside of his core audience, either.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: plughead on September 10, 2010, 10:59:00 pm
Incredible read and fascinating stuff, Bob.

I totally enjoyed the clips you've provided here, but - your writing on your reflections on life from the musician/songwriter's side of the glass, to moving solely towards production is disheartening, but incredibly uplifting too.

I think it's important to remember you had some 'frivolity' and allowances for indulgence in your younger years, but - when push comes to shove, having anyone else determine your artistic course and/or direction can be devastating. I think far too many folks expect they will become successful (i.e. RICH) from their pursuits in the music biz, but in all honesty - working towards success is the harbinger of artistic defeat: the songs MUST COME FIRST - f*ck the rest - write material that resonates with you and comes from an honest place. If it's meant to be, it will be. If not, you were honest with yourself, and not a caricature of an artist...

It seems you've been able to hone your skills at production, and still have your musical savvy to bring to the groups/artists that hire you for your expertise, which IS what it is - expertise.

Thank you for chiming in and giving your enthusiastic perspective - it is very appreciated!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Seb Riou on September 11, 2010, 03:59:51 am
RSettee wrote on Sat, 11 September 2010 00:49



Yeah. Even albums like last year's release by Bill Callahan were great sounding


And it's an understatement !
But most Smog albums are amazing

You talk about small audience of indie scene, but imagine what it's like here in France.
The most mainstream rock band can hope to reach 40 000 people, that will buy the record and go to shows.
If you play a more refined and demanding music, that goes straight down to 5 000 in the best case scenario.

So if you don't go out in Europe (and that means a different distro, touring agency), being "pro" is completely out of question.

And don't laugh, we have some great bands here Wink
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: RSettee on September 11, 2010, 12:29:31 pm
Seb Riou wrote on Sat, 11 September 2010 02:59

RSettee wrote on Sat, 11 September 2010 00:49



Yeah. Even albums like last year's release by Bill Callahan were great sounding


And it's an understatement !
But most Smog albums are amazing

You talk about small audience of indie scene, but imagine what it's like here in France.
The most mainstream rock band can hope to reach 40 000 people, that will buy the record and go to shows.
If you play a more refined and demanding music, that goes straight down to 5 000 in the best case scenario.

So if you don't go out in Europe (and that means a different distro, touring agency), being "pro" is completely out of question.



Yeah? I'm also thinking about Calexico albums, too--phenomenal band, songs, production (Craig Schumacher/ Wavelab Studios). But really, the average person doesn't know who they are. I remember that Calexico stayed well outside my radar for the longest time even on the indie scene, and i'd sort of felt like either I wasn't listening to recommendations, or was never recommended it by a source that I respected enough, or I was just plain ignorant until hearing "Feast Of Wire" that year when it came out.

The Sadies album this year, "Darker Circles", sounds great from a sound point of view, and the songs are excellent as well. They have some acclaim, but really, their reach doesn't spread much further than the clubs that they've been toiling in for the last +10 years, which is a shame, because they're really an outstanding band on every level. They're one of those bands that I wouldn't say that any of their albums really stand out from one another, but I think that goes back moreso to the fact that they're so consistent, and their albums always have a raw, unprocessed organicness to them that you usually don't find in albums these days.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Seb Riou on September 11, 2010, 01:37:57 pm
Even if there always was a "radio dictatorship" on business, quality and commitment seems less and less rewarding these times.
It's really a shame

And also, I feel that even if medias have reach a level of coverage never seen before, independant ones are almost unvisible.

Where are the wild web radios that set trends ?
Web show or Phone apps for indie live rock bands ?

Youtube and Facebook all around
Lame

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on September 11, 2010, 02:24:30 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ4S7ViisgE

But don't put down this youtube gem!! haha

Seriously, thanks for the thanks and support and understanding and unity guys.

There's still alot of cool stuff, you just have to be like a gold-panner at the mouth of the river, and do it when the mine owners aren't around.

I found spots to stream both the Interpol and Blonde Redhead records and they are both great.

I have to check out alot of your suggestions now!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on September 11, 2010, 07:35:11 pm
Alright, I made a list-really.  The Sadies sounds like top condender of intriguing and Bill Callahan, but I'll check on Justin Currie, smog, and (heard of!) Calexico.

Just to share and maybe you guys are way ahead of me on these and also anybody reading this thread, if you are interested in pure sonics, I'm talking the best gear ever made, used correctly, these two albums are brilliant displays of such, but the bonus is some amazing songs too;

Earlimart 'Mentor/Tormentor' - Very Elliott Smith type stuff and recorded (in part) at his studio in Van Nuys on the Trident A-Range which he purchased from Le Studio--where they did Rush Moving Pictures and about 100 other classic albums.

This one, to me, sonically, is top ten in the world, regardless of songcraft, which is amazing too:

Rachel Yamagata "Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart"
-I don't know much about the guy that mainly engineered but I know from watching making of vids on Youtube that they chose some amazing rooms and microphones.  If this record doesn't move you and show you how cool your speakers are at the same time, check for a pulse.  And I would have never heard of her to this day except for a strange car ride home from a school for troubled kids where I was letting them record their voices on an old 4-track.  The two kids that snapped out of some stuppor and ripped the mic out of my hand and let it rip really blew everyones minds, even their close classmates...and one of the teachers had to drive me home and she popped in Yamagata Elephants and I was like, wow, there is really this reciprocal thing in the universe.  A couple hours of 'charity' work, and I arrive home with the knowledge of an artist who has really inspired me to keep searching for the next sonic place, the place beyond 1979, or within it.  Check this record out...it's one of the exceptions for sure, though I'm sure it's probably smacked onto an ATR-124 with the hand picked 251's and 47's you see in the vids.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOBwWnoNI6U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anti8A_3eJQ&feature=chann el
album recording documentary

ranting...
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: RSettee on September 11, 2010, 11:43:02 pm
bob ebeling wrote on Sat, 11 September 2010 13:24

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ4S7ViisgE

But don't put down this youtube gem!! haha

Seriously, thanks for the thanks and support and understanding and unity guys.

There's still alot of cool stuff, you just have to be like a gold-panner at the mouth of the river, and do it when the mine owners aren't around.

I found spots to stream both the Interpol and Blonde Redhead records and they are both great.

I have to check out alot of your suggestions now!


Man, i'll have to buy a box set of your stuff, seriously, or have some sort of bulk multi-cd deal, heh. "We'd listen to symphonies and there would be that five seconds where the chords would change and we were after those moments" (or something like that)--i've always tried to analyze those moments of elevation, too. There's things that stand out even more in even the best songs, I think. The clips of the songs in that doc were super cool, too. Every now and then, something comes around that I think I really should have heard before--this is one of those times. "We got a four track and we were like, the Beatles". I remember getting a used Fostex 4 track in the mid 90's, and that was a holy moment....for about an hour when I realized that 4 tracks weren't enough, hahahaaa.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Eric H. on September 12, 2010, 06:01:56 am
I love this thread.
great stories and great music being channeled.
Isn't all we're looking for?

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: compasspnt on September 12, 2010, 10:02:44 am
Rachael Yamagata recorded her first album {"Happenstance") here at Compass Point, and her "making of" videos on the session were shot by none other than then-12 year old Lucas Manning. Rachel just gave him her small vidcam and said, "Go."

She is quite the talent.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Kassonica on September 12, 2010, 10:33:01 am
RSettee wrote on Sat, 11 September 2010 08:49

Fibes wrote on Mon, 30 August 2010 14:20


I still think there are plenty of great sounding records coming out today but they aren't at the top of the promo echelon.




Yeah. Even albums like last year's release by Bill Callahan were great sounding, but I don't think that it went much past his core audience or past the indie rock scene. Justin Currie's "What Is Love For" and "The Great War" sound great, but I don't think that many people heard it outside of his core audience, either.


+1 On Bill  Callahan Album one of my Fave's. so good in fact I bought it both on CD and  vinyl.

The song All thoughts are prey to some beasts is near perfection in every way for me.

 
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on September 12, 2010, 11:18:06 am
Unbelievable Terry!  That is something else, Lucas shooting those.

She is a talent and the productions are yum yummy!  

Gotta go find this Bill Callahan stuff immediately.  I live spiritually through about 6 or 10 records a year and the searching has gotten to be qute a task.

I'm streaming again from npr the new Blonde Redhead, mixed by Alan Moulder.  Perfect Sunday morning record and the new Interpol is streaming too if you google 'new interpol record' its about the 8'th thing down with an interveiw with Paul and 'why they are happy Carlos D left' in the description.

I think it's great.  Sounds like an all grown up Interpol and Pauls lyrics are more honest then veiled metaphors.

Also, I'll restate it (self plug?) that if you go to half.com (which is part of ebay) you can get both of Ebeling Hughes records and the Downtown digipak record with the naked women painting by Klimt for about $2/each.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: compasspnt on September 12, 2010, 11:27:11 am
bob ebeling wrote on Sun, 12 September 2010 11:18

Unbelievable Terry!  That is something else, Lucas shooting those.

She is a talent and the productions are yum yummy!



She said she wanted the "kid's point of view," not that of a professional videographer.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on September 12, 2010, 11:46:53 am
YES!  In that interview and others she talks about recording and leaving the ambience and warts and everything in there.  I couldn't agree more.

I got a record to mix a few weeks ago and the harddrive came with about 24 pages of notes for things they wanted on each song.  I didn't toss the notes in the garbage, but I filed them and haven't read them.

People need to stop editing the life out of their tracks.  I'm trying to mix these 60 plus track records like they are done live and that's kinda my little contribution on trying to get things back to life here.  It doesn't apply to everything but with experience as an engineer you end up seeing that you're really just trying to get things to sound like they probably did or ultimately would in a dream perfect concert scenario.

Another Rachel vid:  The tones are enough for me to keep listening over and over.  This is a great record on a big level and I'm sure it never touched billboard.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csYXGF9O0To&feature=chann el  
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on September 12, 2010, 11:57:05 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrCQbrFCQ1I&feature=relat ed

and...if anyone missed PJ Harvey's 'White Chalk' record......
...witness what Flood does with a handfull of sm58's, a couple cmv-563's, a mackie mixer and an artist who once toured with U2 but went back to making music that doesn't allow you to tour with U2.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: RSettee on September 12, 2010, 10:40:53 pm
bob ebeling wrote on Sun, 12 September 2010 10:46


People need to stop editing the life out of their tracks.  I'm trying to mix these 60 plus track records like they are done live and that's kinda my little contribution on trying to get things back to life here.  It doesn't apply to everything but with experience as an engineer you end up seeing that you're really just trying to get things to sound like they probably did or ultimately would in a dream perfect concert scenario.


What exactly are on those tracks? Do they have a whole bunch of different snares/ hi hats, guitars? When I record things, rarely do I need to mix something out--usually some parts are just triple/ quad tracked--they're not extremely different in timbre, but the main parts and counterpoint harmonies are all huge sounding because there's tons of tracks playing the same thing or generally the same thing. If you don't know what you want to nail when you're recording it, to me, it's like a movie director trying 50 different angles and then hoping the editor makes something good of it....problem is, the editor isn't the guy that should have the vision or bring the vision together.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on September 13, 2010, 06:58:30 am
I don't want to set up any hard rules or act like I dictate anything for a band, all I'm saying is preproduction.

Back in the days and the further back you go, the more limited the options were the more the music had to be rehearsed and well written first.  I think there are a lot of results from the 50's, 60's, and 70's that far outweigh the results we are getting now with this billion track recorder under every roof method.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on September 22, 2010, 02:14:15 pm
Hi guys, thanks again for the replies and encouragement thru this thread.  I wanted to mention that we have gone ahead and posted about 50 videos that show alot of the Ebeling Hughes live and studio ramblings in the 1990's on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ4S7ViisgE

Though not yet titled correctly, if you go to this link and then click on the extended offering of videos from MunroviaPictures right where it says '136 videos'-- you will see about 40 of the new EH ones loaded.  Some very cool early 90's studio stuff from when we were cutting our records.

Rock-n-Roll

Bob Ebeling
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on September 23, 2010, 02:47:16 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCapQqrtrTU&feature=chann el

Now things are properly titled on Youtube.  You can go there, enter Ebeling Hughes, and basically watch some guys go from their parents barns and sheds right into building really cool studios from like 1993 until 1999.  4-tracks to 3m79 24 tracks in less than 3 years!  Now that was progress!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3_GCxbTVLs&feature=chann el

This one is me doing the ol' walk around the Rustbelt Studios, in 1997 before we took over the entire building, gutted it, and rebuilt the version that is there today.  

If I had a time machine..I would record everything I do in this pile of a looking place.  We had Channel One and Two of the Helios modules from Olympic Studios for God's sake!!!!!!!

Anyway, I think between these two videos alone you'll see how fast we were catching on in 1997.  
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: RSettee on September 23, 2010, 06:09:55 pm
I don't have the time right now Bob, but i'll definetely look into all this stuff quite soon! What I like about what i've heard of the Ebeling Hughes stuff, is that it's not slavishly shoegaze--alot of bands and artists haven't aged well because they were doing everything that they could to fit into the parameters of what they thought that encompassed. The best band in that whole movement, to me, was Spiritualized, because they broke all the rules on "Ladies And Gentlemen...".
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: RMoore on October 04, 2010, 11:51:28 pm
Just saw this now & thought I'd chime in,

Eons ago I had a stint as a hired hand in a band back in the 'good old days' which was on Polydor in the USA & got to witness all kinds of Major label World machinations as a fly on the wall - made me make a mental note to do things as an indie/DIY if I'd ever release my own music.

Some years later a prospective label A&R person who wanted me to remix an entire album because he thought the hihat level was too low, cemented the deal.

So I commenced DIY in '95, set up deals in Europe, Asia, USA etc. Had, in retrospect a few lucky breaks with timing & zeitgeist. It was ok when the discs flew out the door by the truckload & I was getting paid. I thought it would never end!

Then it got a lot less fun when the record biz collapse began to take place & much of my energy it seemed went into coordination, administration, shipping & receiving etc. For a dwindling return. That combined with the Kafkaesque iron clog of the Dutch State & tax office constantly stomping me into oblivion with absurd pressures like trying to make one man music guy operating an 'official' business submit a yearly business administration done to the same standard and guidelines of say Philips or KLM.

One day I realized that 1 part music equaled 2-3 parts unsavory office serf work for me & I began to associate, in a Pavlovian way, what I previously loved (music) with something highly unpleasant.

A cautionary tale!


Fwiw - the upkeep & maintenance on studio stuff, while sometimes inconvenient,  didn't overwhelm me too much as I felt it ultimately helped me to become a better engineer & understand what was under the chassis of the boxes with knobs & coloured lights.




compasspnt wrote on Fri, 27 August 2010 18:21

bob ebeling wrote on Fri, 27 August 2010 11:47

I really wonder how much further I would have made it as an artist, which was at one time my sole aspiration.  As equipment entered the picture to get the art made, even in 1992, buying a 16 track for 5 grand, the stress of being a studio operator started to directly take away this free and always writing guy and turn him into an always thinking about money and gear guy.

There was a direct effect where gear, in my case, wrecked (erased?, slowly turned away?) an artist.  Now, that was my choice and there have been hundreds of great things that have come from going the gear way, but could I have been that great artist who today would be sitting in Scotland, drinking a Guinness and scribbling lyric ideas on napkins while trying not to let those 4 girls in the corner recognize who I am?

I think if I had to do it all again, I might not have ever bought that 16 track in 1992 and rather put all that time and effort into rehearsing a band, writing songs, and spending more time in Jamaica...but who's to say?




This is an EXTREMELY important point.

There is something in the "creative spirit mindset" that does NOT like the intrusion of business ideals.

That's one reason a good band manager is so important. Sometimes there is one band member who can take on the basic responsibilities (often the bass player for some reason?), but so so many musicians just plain do not want to do "the business thing."

This is yet another reason that the music business today, wherein a band or single artist is almost expected to write the songs,
book the gigs, handle the merch, collect the money, record the demos (or worse, MASTERS) in their own house on their own recording system, drive their own van, load their own gear, design their own album cover, market themselves extensively, call David Letterman's booker, etc....is causing a DEARTH of truly creative flow.

And the WORST thing, I have seen it several times, is when a band or artist decides to "put in their own high end studio."  Can it work...yes, it might.  Will it work?  Likely it will diminish the creative juices as the focus is diverted towards day to day business ideals.

Yes, on the other hand is the fact that in today's "artistically democratic" world, there are more chances to record oneself, more opportunities to go worldwide, than ever.

But where is the Golden Mean?


Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Barish on October 05, 2010, 08:53:01 am
bob ebeling wrote on Mon, 23 August 2010 17:23

Sure!

This particular song was done in my Brooklyn apartment.  Unlike most closet style apartments in NYC, I was very lucky to find a four bedroom exquisite place off of the Ft. Hamilton Parkway stop of the F.  Huge open rooms built in the 1940's...gotta love it!

So my main gear in this place was a pair of pair of V76/80. A black face rev d 1176.  An LA-2A.  A Lang PEQ-2.  Mics included a U47, a couple UM-57's, km 84's, Schoeps 221b's, and more of the usual suspects.

The drum machine is a real deal Roland 808.  I love that thing so much.  Samples never come close to the life that is inside that machine.

I had just lucked across the Sesame Street Minimoog, bought straight from the origional music maker from that show.  He gave me his book with all the patches notated ('cookie monsters diabete's shock', 'count's moment of ecstacy', etc... haha).  

So this particular song started off with alot of synth and 808, just to get some chords happening.  Everything else was built up from there, but 90% of the song was done in an afternoon.

When it came time to do the vocals I had a big doubt on whether or not I should keep the very first chord of the verse as the c# (?) which actually never appeared again in the sequence.  Good buddy and audio-ologist Paul Logus talked me into keeping it.

THe 'Downtown' record went on to be one of the coolest things you've never heard.  Flood and Alan Moulder came on board towards the end to help me straighten out a few of the songs in london.  

If you are into heartbreak, substance influenced sounds (haha), and general shoegaze via Beatles production then go find a copy of this (someone still has it on I-tunes under my stage name 'Robert Kaeding' or 'Downtown') OR better yet, put it out on your own label!  I still own 100% of the record, publishing and all.

index.php/fa/15278/0/

Look on Half.com, they usually have a bunch of copies under 'Downtown digipak'

I did make the record on 2" machines blended with Protools, using some of the best studios in NYC and some of the best gear on the planet so it is a fun listen, and like I say, if you've just been thru a divorce, you just might worship this slab!


Nice job Bob, congratulations. Cut listening to The Blue Nile a bit for a while for the remainder of the work, though  Very Happy

B.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: RMoore on October 05, 2010, 01:37:46 pm
Just been reading through this whole thread & it is a good one,

Inspiring, insightful & thoughtful..

I go now to face the day.

Groovy.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Nicky D on October 06, 2010, 11:33:31 am
bob ebeling wrote on Mon, 13 September 2010 05:58

I don't want to set up any hard rules or act like I dictate anything for a band, all I'm saying is preproduction.

Back in the days and the further back you go, the more limited the options were the more the music had to be rehearsed and well written first.  I think there are a lot of results from the 50's, 60's, and 70's that far outweigh the results we are getting now with this billion track recorder under every roof method.


I'm noticing that bands may be overprepared these days...their parts overthought and set in stone before even setting foot in the basement....errr....studio

I'm starting to like not doing any prepro...and trying to discover as we go...because more often than not what I think will sound right in the rehearsal room, doesn't translate to the recording...of course this only works with musician's that are actually musician's.. a lot of bands don't like this idea initially as it is unheard of territory these days....much like no click...but I would say that those 50's and 60's recordings may be the result of a more spontaneous approach.

BTW to the topic at hand..very nice job on that record!!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on October 06, 2010, 12:45:30 pm
Charles Hughes and I wanted to create a studio of all glitchy and malfunctioning gear.  We worked almost how you described...first take only and never really knowing where we were going until we got there.

I find preproduction really important with bands though, even if it's just me attending a few rehearsals, making notes and discussing.  Gets me prepared for the personalities and gear I'll be micing too.  This can help to flush out poor arrangements beforehand also.

But I'm also lumping gear rental and borrowing, musician choices, venue choices, etc.. into preproduction.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Nicky D on October 06, 2010, 08:36:08 pm
bob ebeling wrote on Wed, 06 October 2010 11:45

Charles Hughes and I wanted to create a studio of all glitchy and malfunctioning gear.  We worked almost how you described...first take only and never really knowing where we were going until we got there.

I find preproduction really important with bands though, even if it's just me attending a few rehearsals, making notes and discussing.  Gets me prepared for the personalities and gear I'll be micing too.  This can help to flush out poor arrangements beforehand also.

But I'm also lumping gear rental and borrowing, musician choices, venue choices, etc.. into preproduction.



yeah being prepared and ready...that is definitely pre pro and essential...maybe I just meant too much musical pre pro...anyway whatever way you do it, you're getting good results!!...it just reminded me of how much fun recording can be if you leave some room for discovery...and put yourself on the spot once in a while.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on October 07, 2010, 12:14:02 pm
I'm with you!  I have this problem that I can't even recall anything that I did...been sitting on the couch relearning the songs to myself, just kind of wondering what chords I was using, what progressions.  I'm in a curious 'try to understand those 10 years' spot, with a 3 month old hanging around being very demanding once every few hours.

...but prepro is definitely for budget sessions I guess.  I would LOVE to take everything from a directors standpoint and just feel the talent out and then command them.  I think the results would be so much more artistic-- and very hard to book!

For 4 years now since I left NYC I have forced myself to negate the ego and figure out how to be an expensive tool (not the VH1 type) for people to use.  Strictly quality control, obsessive quality control, engineering with a very small dash of opinion.      
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on October 14, 2010, 09:04:21 am
Hey!  For all of you post-shoegaze fanatics I forgot to share one important bomb with ya if you missed it in 1994.

Truly 'Fast Stories from Kid Coma'

This is one of my favorite all time records that is so damn mind-blowing everytime I listen.

If you youtube the album title you can check out some tracks.
But find a copy of the record!!  It's the 'Sgt. Peppers' of Generation X.  No kidding.

And from there, the singer/lead man Robert Roth did an incredible sweeping solo LP in 2002 called 'Someone Somewhere'.  Just as cool and timeless in a slightly more grown up way.

I got to record some tracks for Truly's new LP last year and Robert and I are still trying to figure out how to have two heads in one room from 3500 miles away.

Truly 'Fast Stories...Kid Coma' is just amazing.  John Agnello did some of it.
'Someone Somewhere' is kind of the American version of OK Computer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK5nEwQ0cWY

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa8PFpyycjY&feature=relat ed
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on November 05, 2010, 02:19:36 pm
For our fans, I just wanted to announce that EH IV is has recieved a major tweak and is nearing a true release.  I have to find out more myself as all I've been allowed to do is audio.  The 'others' won't fill me in but I sense a special tone in their vocies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3_GCxbTVLs

There was so much 'leterally!' tape on the copping room floor that EH IV should be quite an experience maybe cooler than Transfigured night even?
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on November 05, 2010, 08:05:07 pm
http://www.sendspace.com/file/3xm6y6

this link will allow you to download a very rare recrod done in 1995/6 by Ebeling Hughes.

Enjoy it while it lasts!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on November 09, 2010, 02:19:20 am
I'm trying to make the zip format more people friendly.  If you are interested in some very heady stuff from a couple o chaps trying to figure out recording like that ape figuing out the bone in 2001....pm me and I'll send you the mp3's.

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on November 18, 2010, 01:52:07 pm
Hey all fellow audio lovers!

I finally joined the revolution!  Check it out!

http://bobebeling.bandcamp.com/
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on December 04, 2010, 11:34:14 am
http://bobebeling.bandcamp.com/album/downtown

I added the record some of you guys were asking for now.  There ya go!  
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Todd Loomis on December 04, 2010, 06:27:53 pm
bob ebeling wrote on Sat, 04 December 2010 09:34

http://bobebeling.bandcamp.com/album/downtown

I added the record some of you guys were asking for now.  There ya go!  


  I just picked it up (FLAC).  Sounds really great...  awesome songs & production Bob...   Listening now.
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on December 24, 2010, 10:36:19 pm
Thanks Todd!  I haven't been very busy around here because I finally undertook making my 12 plus cd biography available in full with outtakes and alternate mixes.

Check it out, alot of work the past few weeks!

http://bobebeling.bandcamp.com/
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Bubba#$%Kron on December 25, 2010, 02:06:58 am
Wow man, really great tunes.  Very classy synth/guitar choices, I really dig it!!!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on December 26, 2010, 07:43:11 am
Bubba Kron has GREAT TASTE IN MUSIC!!!!!  hee hee

No, but seriously, three of the records are marked as basically free download if you look for them, someone found them this morning.

The ones I'm really proud of are obviously my last two, 'Life on High' and 'Climb Down From the Hill'.  'Climb Down' the most right now.  That record has many sides to it and was a strange situation turned on its side then used for the best and recorded out of hotel rooms.  I have a personal love for it.

'Life on High' took a L-o-o-ng time to get right.  Trying to do something half positive is quite challenging for me.  Plus its a double LP set up.  18 full on big time jams.

Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on December 29, 2010, 02:37:29 pm
http://bobebeling.bandcamp.com/

All 9 records with bonus material FREE for all you psw'ers!!!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Seb Riou on December 30, 2010, 01:21:53 am
Downloading !
Great music Bob
A class act, definetely
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on January 05, 2011, 02:34:03 pm
Thank you Seb.  You have put an afternoon grin on my face.  Bandcamp is a cool site.  I like how nobody can toss their meager or not opinion in, it just exists.  I like too how you can keep adding to existing albums.  For years I thought of how to tackle the mountain of remixes, remasters, etc... now I can do a little at a time.  Hell, 'the Little Bugs Glow' is already up to 38 tracks from it's 1996 13 or 14!  If I would have had to sit back and make a plan, this never would have happened.
Also, 'Climb Down From The Hills', which totally got shafted hardcore by the label, I finally feel like it's getting it's day, 4 years later.  
Sound Cloud is next, then I might tackle the old I-tunes.  It's interesting for a guy like myself who has never had the heart or guts to brag, boast, and generally promote the crap out of finished works to the world--I'm sure partially my downfall, but bandcamp.com is aligned with my brainwaves and at least it exists now.  I mean, patting myself on the back aside, and I'm sure there are a few hundred others like myself, I would spend years on these records, on tones, on snares, on synths, but then that would be the end and I'd be kinda satisfied yet wondering why the world wasn't discovering it.  Then I learned it's (in a way)not the content, just he lawyers and bs involved, back in the Eminem/KidRock days this lesson became quite evident.

I feel hope at least.  I appreciate the vote of confidence, and though I'd love to believe this is the beginning of some amazing slow wildfire spread across the globe, I've been around the block.

It's always odd to me that more of 'us' don't organize.  But I understand it totally.  Even within a genre like 'space-rock', there is love and hate and selfishness--or my way is the way and your way sucks. hee hee.  Seriously, I know some amazing bands from Detroit like Perplexa, David Straughter, etc... they are great, but I generally just don't listen to them.  I'm being honest here, I'm trying to describe some phenomenom that happens within the more esoteric rock forms.  I love all who trample that path, I just have kids and a studio to run, and I don't have time to dedicate to obsessing over every cool band that comes along, of which there are so many.

Rock strange!!!!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on January 17, 2011, 06:55:25 am
"It must strain you to look down so far from you fathers house!...."

Love me some David Bowie..only certain jams though!
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: Seb Riou on January 17, 2011, 07:05:49 am
I like me some Bowie too sometimes Wink

Hey Bob please don't forget the switch to the new Forums, we would clearly miss you there.

http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,229.0.html

Cheers !
Title: Re: Downtown: What Are PSW guys doing?
Post by: bob ebeling on January 22, 2011, 07:44:48 am
New forums, hmmmm.  Something wrong with these?

We'll have to see what develops I guess.  I'm getting (thankfully) back to creating and not just talking creating, not that you can't do both.

strange...