News! Fall 2018

What can I say? Sometimes you get too busy to step back and reflect on all you’ve done. It’s been a ride. I have more to say, but I’ll start with this:

Last spring, I had the pleasure of restoring a cassette (thank you Dolby B!) of mesmerizing minimalist synth recordings made by Michele Mercure in the 1980s. Now out on RNVG, Beside Herself is a career retrospective worth diving into.

Matthew McNeal put out a beautiful record called Good Luck last year, which he followed up with a pair of singles “Change” and “All For Nothing.” I always love hearing the evolutions in songwriting, and this pair expresses some deep emotion. Matt has been touring with Israel Nash, whose song Rolling On was just nominated for International Song of the Year for the UK Americana Awards. (I mastered Israels’s album Lifted last year - total knockout!) Shoutout to Ted Young for his incredible work on these recordings!

Double shoutout to newlyweds Ted Young and Lucy Horton! May your lives always be filled with music.

From the always awesome label Awesome Tapes From Africa, please check out a new release of a very rare cassette of Ethiopian singer, krar player and cultural icon Asnekech Worku, recorded in the 1970s with Hailu Mergia accompanying.

Another cassette unearthed after many years - this unhinged and sweaty recording made by Bill Frisell with Julian Summerhill in a downtown Manhattan loft in 1981. The End of the Word Sessions are an unfiltered snapshot of experimental jam sessions.

My pals The Tins have two new singles, and they will make your day and probably make you dance. Mixed by Ted Young, check out Saksaywoman and Open Minded and then go back and listen to their whole album.

Bay Area rapper Rocky Rivera dropped her album Rocky’s Revenge. Check out the official video for Best Shot. It was a real treat to join a talented team of women producers and engineers, including Kelley Coyne, on this record!

On top of all this, I’ve been doing lots of digitizing with my new-to-me ATR 102 tape machine. Gracing its tape heads this summer and fall: recordings of John Steinbeck reading his works, a whole collection of punk recordings by a seminal Bay Area band, and stacks of field recordings made by folklorist and ethnomusicologist Harry Oster. This last project, in partnership with the Arhoolie Foundation, is ongoing, funded by grants from the GRAMMY Museum Grants Program and the National Recording Preservation Fund. I am honored to be the engineer responsible for digitizing these unique records of vernacular music.

Enya's Orinoco Flow

FACT just posted an article about Enya’s Watermark 30 years on. This happened a week after I stumbled upon “Orinoco Flow” tucked away on a Spotify playlist curated by Molina. After which, I added it to my running playlist. Yes, my straight-up cardio playlist. Sandwiched between Grimes, M.I.A. and Miike Snow and some ERAAS and Nine Inch Nails for when I’m feeling dark. And you know what. It totally works. I’ll be trudging along at mile 3, sweaty, bored by the scenery, and Enya will lift me up and carry me another 4 minutes and 27 seconds and (if I’m on) almost half a mile.

We remember this song, don’t we? 1988. Our moms played the CD in the car. We first heard it on the radio when we found out our cat died, our parents were divorcing. We made out to it? Can you kiss to Enya?

I first heard it on an international flight, Los Angeles to Melbourne. (My own version of sailing away!) This was before iPods and in-seat screens. I had a stack of books and cheap headphones and the airline’s “radio stations,” which were roughly an hour of curated music, looped. Enya must have been on the “light hits” station. I toggled between alternative rock, light hits, anything else that would keep me entertained. On that 12+ hour flight, I must have heard “Orinoco Flow” at least 12 times. And then, on the return flight, the same airline, the same playlists. Me & Enya & the vast Pacific.

This song deserves it’s props. It’s ready for a non-ironic comeback, a perfect placement in a non-ironic movie. Hear for yourself:

My New Tape Machine

Honestly, I feel like I bought a classic Ferrari. Maybe the 1966 365 California or the 1960 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione. (Truthfully, I'm more of a 1960s Porsche 912 girl myself, but...)

I bought a cherry ATR-102 in perfect shape, lovingly refurbished by Mike Spitz of ATR Magnetics, with 1/2" and 1/4" headblocks and a Dolby SR unit thrown in for kicks. This beauty was commissioned on Halloween 1977 and still plays back tapes like a boss. I love it! Bring on the tapes!

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Late Spring News 2018

Yikes, I got busy for a moment and sorely neglected my website. Here is some of what I've been up to these past few months.

Mastering marvelous new albums by The Tins, Israel Nash, Occurrence, Matthew McNealProfessor Rhythm (Awesome Tapes From Africa) and many, many more, including a few knockouts that I can't talk about yet.

Celebrating the release of Barbara Dane's career-spanning boxset Hot Jazz, Cool Blues & Hard-Hitting Songs, in collaboration with Smithsonian Folkways, with her live performance at the Freight & Salvage.

Writing, researching, writing, revising an essay on The Sonics of Historic Recording Media, included in the new book Music Preservation and Archiving Today (Rowman & Littlefield), edited by Norie Guthrie and Scott Carlson.

Interviewing fellow mastering & restoration engineers Maria Rice, Josh Bonati, and Michael Graves for an article on The Aesthetics of Remastering Reissues for Tape Op Magazine.

 

Teaching the students at SAE/Expression in Emeryville about the making of Pet Sounds, about Ralph Peer and the Bristol Sessions, about phonautographs, magnetic tape, distortion as aesthetic texture, Max Martin's songwriting prowess, and so much more.

Plotting conference panels and talks for the AES Conference on Audio Archiving, Preservation & Restoration, happening at the LOC in Culpeper, Virginia this June. (And chairing the restoration track for the fall AES Convention in NYC - hit me up with ideas!)

Serving as a Governor and, now, newly elected Secretary of the SF Chapter of the Recording Academy.

And riding my bike, drinking coffee, planting a garden and eating radishes harvested from that garden, so even though sometimes it seems like it (and happily so), life is not all about my work.

But I love my work. 

Archival or mastering projects? Let me know!