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Matthew Greenwald  |  Feb 01, 2005  |  0 comments

“Canvas the town and brush the backdrop…”

Brian was already smoking pot by late 1964, and his first efforts combining reefer and music were promising: most of the songs on side two of The Beach Boys Today, particularly “Please Let Me Wander”, showed Brian expanding on the beautiful, innocent vulnerability which began with “Surfer Girl”. His arranging skills in particular were growing into something completely different by this time, and culminated with the burnished spiritual gauze of Pet Sounds. Brian later revealed that the gleaming introduction to “California Girls” was composed following his maiden L.S.D. voyage. But, Brian Wilson, a man of delicate psyche to begin with, was probably not someone who should have taken large amounts of psychedelics. But along with this, speed - especially a compound called Desputol (sic) - was becoming more and more prevalent in Brian's world. The result was a man with many of the casebook symptoms of abusing the drug, the biggest and most obvious being overwhelming paranoia. Brian began talking about Murry bugging his house, Phil Spector (and his 'mind gangsters') attempting to freak Brian out via director John Frankenheimer's film “Seconds”. Brian's mind must have been like a spooky house of mirrors at the time. Van Dyke later commented, “If you go to the dark side of the moon, you're lucky that you don't get burned up on re-entry…”

Matthew Greenwald  |  Feb 01, 2005  |  0 comments

“The album became a legend. Songs and beautiful musical fragments would emerge over the years, but Smile was to have been a whole musical direction, and the individual songs, taken from their natural surroundings, were deprived of what could have been a stunning collective emotional effort. The work had started with “Good Vibrations” and it had expanded with the help of a friend (Van Dyke Parks) Brian met on Cielo Drive. Now, a year later (1967), Smile was still a dream. Too much pressure. Too many drugs. Too much anticipation. Too little support. It was the end of an era.” - Byron Preiss (“The Beach Boys”/1979)

Matthew Greenwald  |  Jan 31, 2005  |  0 comments

Wondermint vocalist/vibes/keyboardist Darian Sahanaja, a member of the Wondermints—Brian Wilson's live back-up group— speaks with Matthew Greenwald about his job as Brian Wilson's "musical secretary," and about the restoration and creation of Wilson's legendary Smile album for both live and studio presentation.

Bill Taylor, New York Musician magazine  |  Jan 31, 2005  |  0 comments

This interview was conducted by New York Musician Magazine's Bill Taylor, and originally run there. We reprint it thanks to
the kindness or Mr. Taylor and his publication. Thanks also to Don Grossinger for gettting it for Musicangle.com.

BT: What was your participation on the project?

DG: I did all of the vinyl mastering and some of the QC work to make sure the test pressings were up to par.

BT: How did you get the project? I was recommended by Bob Ludwig who had mastered the CD for the project and Joe Gastwirt who had worked on many Beach Boys projects with Mark Linett. Bob didn't do it himself because he no longer has a lathe. This is the second project he's sent to me. He sent the Rolling Stones' remastering for vinyl work, the new SACD masters, to me as well.

BT: Did you do the whole Brian Wilson album or just a few selected cuts?

DG: It was more than the whole album, actually. The whole CD consists of three suites which are 47 minutes long in total. Each of the sections took one side of the album. The fourth side, which I EQ'd and mastered from scratch, consisted of bonus tracks. These were 4 instrumentals of some of the songs that were on the album as vocals. These tracks will only be on the vinyl release, not the CD.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 31, 2005  |  0 comments

Muswell Hillbillies

Produced by Raymond Douglas Davies

Engineered by Mike Bobak

Compilation engineered by Mike Konopka at Toy Specialists

Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering

Konk/Velvel 63467-79719-2 (HDCD)

Music: 10

Sound: 9

Having gotten the madness and betrayal of the music business at least partly out of his system on Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, The Kinks' final Pye/Reprise release, Ray Davies returned to what he'd begun back in 1968 on The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, the group's most beloved, though far from best-selling, album. Steeped in nostalgia for a Britain that was rapidly disappearing, ...Village Green looked back at an idealized past that may never have existed, but which Davies wanted to preserve - at least in song.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 31, 2005  |  0 comments

Back in 1998 KOCH licensed both the RCA and Arista Kinks catalogs from BMG. Ray Davies supervised and approved the transfer from two-track analog masters, which was accomplished using an Ampex ATR102 directly feeding a Pacific Microsonics Model One A/D converter running at 88.2k/24 bit PCM (bonus tracks were sourced from Ray's DAT tapes). The files were sent to Bob Ludwig's Gateway Mastering for final mastering, including HDCD encoding.

Frank Doris  |  Jan 31, 2005  |  0 comments

Esquivel: Other Voices, Other Sounds/Four Corners of the World

Bar/None AHAON-090

Esquivel: Exploring New Sounds in Stereo/Strings Aflame

Bar/None AHAON-091

Esquivel: Infinity in Sound, Volume 1/Infinity in Sound, Volume 2

Bar/None AHAON-003

(1 and 2) Produced by Johnny Camacho, (3) produced by Neely Plumb

Reissue Supervision: Paul Williams for House of Hits Productions, Ltd.

Digital transfers by Mike Hartrey

Digitally remastered by dbs Digital, Hoboken, NJ

This whole Cocktail Nation, Space Age Bachelor Pad Music revival thing strikes me with extreme bemusement. All of a sudden, a new generation discovers and decides that what was once unhip is now the coolest-whether martinis, leopard skin, kitschy Fifties furniture-or the “easy listening” instrumental music popular at the dawn of the Stereo Age.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 01, 2004  |  0 comments
TA: Let's go on the 5D era then, if we could. This is a major point of change for you guys. Your two primary sources of material, Gene Clark and then Bob Dylan were not on the record. Did you decide consciously not to do any more Dylan stuff for this record?

RM: I think maybe we got too much flack for doing too many Dylan songs.

John Nork  |  Oct 31, 2004  |  0 comments

The Tracking Angle Interview: David Crosby

TA: Let's begin with If I Could Only Remember My Name , your first solo album. It won some awards for sound quality. You once were quoted as saying the engineer Steve Barncord did a really good job. Do you think that a record like that could be made and released today?

DC: Probably not. Things have changed in the field. It's not as loose as it was then. Nowadays, if it isn't a clone of whatever's at the top of the charts, it's very hard to get anybody to pay any attention to it at all. We (CSN&Y) had just gotten through doing Déjà vu, you know? And I had more stuff and I was just having fun in the studio. It was the only place that I was really happy right then. That was not long after that girl had gotten killed that was my old lady, and so the studio was my refuge. I would hang out there and all my friends that were loose on any given night would wind up there. It was very self-indulgent, but we had no push, there was no pressure so we could do anything that I could think of. That's not true these days. Nowadays, the prices are so huge and the game is so distorted that winning is what matters and MTV has changed it to where theatrical acts win more than musical acts. Smoke bombs and costumes, you know, how much rage you can seem to express and anything to cut through the fog. It has very little to do with music. But that was a very musical album. I think if it came out now, it would fail.

John Nork  |  Oct 31, 2004  |  0 comments

TA: Are you interested in the studio side of things, or do you just see it as a means to an end?

DC: I've been forced to get into it because I love the sound. I love making sounds. I love making it sound wonderful That's why If Only I Could Remember My Name sounded the way it did. That's me without any restraints or anybody in the way, you know? I am not a very good "tekkie" but I can hear fairly well and it's not too hard to figure stuff out. I've done things like running analog and digital off of the same recording (mic feed) and then really listening.

TA: And what did you come up with?

DC: I still like analog. I still would rather cut my tracks, anyway, on a Studer.

TA: And why is that?

DC: Two things: one transients, and the way that it handles them, you know? When a kick drum or something sort of shocks the tape, it behaves differently on the two different system but mostly overtone structures, harmonics.

John Nork  |  Oct 01, 2004  |  0 comments

Roger McGuinn. McGuinn co-founded the group with Gene Clark and was its nominal leader. If you disassemble the complex tapestry of the Byrds' sound into its molecular underpinnings, McGuinn's distinctive voice and unique twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar are the nucleus. Lead guitarist McGuinn's unique style simultaneously employs a flat pick and fingerpicking patterns, drawing

more from five-string banjo rolls than typical guitar scales. When this unusual picking pattern is done on an electric twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar, the resulting sound is a brilliant cascade of harmonic intervals and gleaming overtones. McGuinn also sang lead on many of the group's songs, including all of their Dylan interpretations.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 01, 2004  |  0 comments
TA: How did you select music as a career? What were the factors involved in your going that direction for your occupation?

RM: I just loved it and I kinda fell into it. I was playing it as a hobby and getting ten dollars a night at the coffeehouse.

TA: How old were you at this point?

John Nork  |  Oct 01, 2004  |  0 comments
It was January 20, 1965. The "British Invasion" was at its apex. Led by The Beatles, English rock bands dominated the American airwaves. Meanwhile, with little fanfare, a newly formed aggregation called The Byrds was working ardently on their first (and possibly last) single for Columbia Records. As was standard record company practice back then, the Byrds' contract called for one single. If it was successful, an entire album would be commissioned. Otherwise it would be bye-bye Byrdies.
Michael Fremer  |  Sep 30, 2004  |  0 comments
Though much has changed since this story first appeared, it still holds interest. Mike Hobson and Ying Tan have long since split, with Ying starting Groove Note, and sadly, plating guru Ed Tobin was murdered, but Bernie Grundman Mastering thrives, as does Classic Records, thanks to the vinyl revival now underway.

Spend a few days watching how they make records late twentieth century style and you'll understand why hardly anyone makes them anymore. You'll also appreciate why the good ones cost what they do.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 30, 2004  |  0 comments

Bernie Grundman Mastering is in Hollywood, Greg Lee Processing is south toward Long Beach and RTI, the pressing plant is, wouldn't you know it, way north of L.A. .So the Classic folks rack up lots of miles ferrying lacquers south and stampers north.