I know. It’s been a long time since I rapped at you. It’s been nothing but tapes and discs and WAVs and a steady downpour of albums, EPs, singles. A few highlights: I restored and remastered Yusef Lateef’s Hikima: Creativity from a pristine slab of vinyl. Lateef recorded this in Nigeria while on a fellowship to write and teach at Ahmadu Bello University in the early 1980s. Utterly transporting! And a real challenge to declick complex rhythmic music. Gratitude to Jonathan Sklute and Key Systems Recordings for entrusting this to me. I also got to work with the talents at Women’s Audio Mission on Versoul’s rich and vibrant debut Soulrise. Producer / mixer / engineer / all around talented gentleman Ted Young brought me Heavy Diamond Ring’s debut, helmed by Sarah Anderson and Paul DeHaven. Listen to lead single “Wild Things” and then dip into the whole album. I restored and remastered Barbara Howard’s On the Rise for Colemine Records, and ooh, the heat of album opener “Light My Fire”! I was pleased to stumble upon tracks from this record on the Danger Mouse Jukebox playlist on Tidal. Glad he’s digging it too! Buffalo, NY’s The Tins, oh my old pals The Tins! They never cease to amaze me with their creative output, this time “City Lies II,” an update of last year’s “City Lies.” I am patiently waiting for them to tour the West Coast. Last on this list (but only because I’m running out of time), two singles for International Dub Ambassadors, Ñam-Ñam and “Dos Amores,” which will slay your parties this summer. Check ‘em all out!
A few other work-related highlights of the past half a year:
I’m still working with the Arhoolie Foundation on the Harry Oster collection, funded by grants from the GRAMMY Museum and the National Recording Preservation Fund. Harry was a folklorist and ethnomusicologist, but he was also a decent recording engineer, so these 1/4” analog tapes sound far better than they might otherwise! I’ve been traveling back in time to Iowa and Louisiana in the 1950s and 1960s and eavesdropping on jam sessions, church services, dances, intimate performances. Much gratitude to the folks at Arhoolie for partnering with me on this project.
I was elected to serve as Vice President of the San Francisco Chapter of the Recording Academy. I’m looking forward to serving with President Camilo Landau, Secretary Kev Choice, our amazing Trustees Leslie Ann Jones, Michael Romanowski and Piper Payne, and the rest of our board of governors.
McKay Garner and I gave a presentation to students at SAE/Expression for GRAMMY U about the Producer & Engineers Wing Best Practices technical guidelines. Didn’t know these documents exist? Download and read! They offer invaluable tips and templates for data management, workflow, organization, and delivery of recorded music projects. Top tips: use folder hierarchies and file naming conventions, document credits, back up your data!
In May, I traveled to Portland to drink magnificent cups of coffee and eat at the many delicious food trucks, oh, and to give a pre-conference workshop on Digital Audio Workstation Basics for preservationists with Konrad Strauss at the Association for Recorded Sound Collection’s annual conference. Once again, I snuck my Coco Chanel quote into the slides. She famously said (or didn’t? who can verify?) “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” This is my modus operandi with audio restoration. Before you print, dial back one click. You rarely regret it, and you can always add more. Keeps me from being too heavy handed. The rest of the conference was an inspiration, and I got to hear Endpoint Audio’s magnificently digitized magnabelt recordings of Rod Serling and Spyros Skouras, learn about the history of KBOO community radio and grassroots work of XFR Collective, engage in a little FLAC vs WAV debate, and regret that I couldn’t be in two places at once to attend more panels. I also snuck out one night to play pinball. We all need a little balance.
This October, I will be back in New York City, my beloved home for so many years, for the Audio Engineering Society’s 147th convention. I am chairing the Archiving and Restoration track again and putting together some prime time programming around archival audio. No hints until the schedule comes out next month! Hope to see many of you there!