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Whack Mythology Basement Glitter ,credits recording methods background


So I’m known in some music circles around the planet for playing all of the instruments on my recordings. Singing,Songwriting, Performing all kinds of things, making strange sounds,

Producing and so on.

Ego,,sure I’ve got enough to overthrow a government and two religions before lunch time.

But it didn’t exactly start that way.

Most of this came about from frustration. 

I thought there would be a band and producer and all that stuff.

Maybe the bands weren’t on the same page. Or even in the same room.

Maybe the engineers thought it should sound more like what everyone else sounds like.

Everything kept pointing me toward doing it myself. So rather than pick fights with imaginary

hands of fate. The desire was so great within me,

that the only available answer was  

“Ok, do the best you can with whatever you have”

Which brings us to releases number 10 and 11.

 The Recording of,

“Whack Mythology” and “Basement Glitter”

It all started out in a twisted state of learning a new recording method Logic Pro,

and writing a bunch of new songs. 

The memory of a room tangled up with cables is still right up front for me.

There were numerous iterations of songs and about two other entire albums worth of experiments that remain in the vaults, well ,,,back up drives.

The deal was how was I going to get this to sound the way I wanted.

Recording acoustic instruments in a small space is kind of like ice fishing at night,

well not really because ice fishing at night sounds like a terrible way to spend time.

A non treated room can be gotten around by strategically by 

placing things that randomize the sounds that are darting around.

The drums were an enormous set of Birch Ludwigs,

recorded with 3 mic’s and presented in Mono. 

Yeah that’s right, you heard me, mono.

No this was not exactly the Glyn Johns method of drum recording, 

but a variation on that theme.

Piano was an 80 year old upright that’s in surprisingly good shape. 

That was a shure 57 low and on the back of the soundboard.

Guitars, mostly Telecaster, some Stratocaster, and whatever else was around,

Guitar amps Fender and Vox, lots of direct recording via 

Sans amp,Pod, Zoom, and Logic Amp designer.

Acoustic guitars Epiphone Texan, Avarez dreadnought, Fender Malibu

all miced up with AKG 414, Shure 57, and MXL V57

All vocals recorded with either an AKG 414, a shure 57 or 58.

All bass direct , virtual amps via Logic Amp designer.

Synthesizers from Roland, Prophet, Logic Pro.

On to the lineup

These are performances, not a programmed record,

the only people on these recordings are me and my sons.

The full length album 

“Whack Mythology”

 Graham Nasson Drums all tracks, Rhythm Guitar on “Books About it’

Colin Nasson Rhythm Guitar “Books about it”  Percussion 

on “All I seem to hear” ‘Books About it’ 

Arthur Nasson, Lead and Backing Vocals, Piano, Synthesizers, Organ, Guitars, Bass,Percussion,

spooky treated sounds.

“Basement Glitter”

Graham Nasson Drums all tracks

Arthur Nasson, Lead and Backing Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Percussion

All songs tracked and mixed at Scabbey Road [my home studio]

Engineered and Produced Arthur Nasson

Mastered at Peerless Mastering Boston, Ma.

Jeff Lipton and Maria Rice


8 Commandments of Home Recording [an article I wrote]

Armed with his instruments, a lap top, a four channel interface, and a few microphones, our hero chronicles his journey through the rugged terrain of home recording, complete with cheesed off neighbors, prying ears, ongoing construction noise, visits from the local authorities, and more. Will he finish this record in the face of overwhelming adversity? 

originally published by New York City Based Magazine Sonic Scoop.

TEN [some thoughts on my upcoming tenth release]

My Tenth release is being recorded at Scabbey Road,,home of the hits.

The other day I stopped and thought about the implications of this large and small, and tried not to become self conscious of a growing body of work and it's scope. It seemed to me that this is a pivotal moment,where at worst,one can break down into a place of, repetition,childish folly, blithe indifference, squirrelly nut gathering, and squalid reflection. Of course I bring you none of that.

Admittedly there was this sense within me that change sometimes happens when we are not looking straight at it.That change can some how be about personal progression, or maybe  a product of other activities. We all go on our respective journey's through this life and whether we decide to distract ourselves from the overarching sense of existence or glare at it unrelentingly like a second grader in a staring contest. This stuff happens, and like most things it's all about how we respond to it.

The new stuff seems to deal with many subjects musical and lyrical that not only look forward but look back.No,I'm not having some sort of "Proustian" moment, more of a trying to interact with the arc of life and how it's stages shape our interactions with it.

There is also an ongoing sense of abandoning straight narratives in favor of painterly images.

The music seems to be in various ways,inhabiting these three different types of spaces.

1. where structure and the expectations of classic form find it's place in society.Be a good boy ,draw us a dog and a pony.

2.Where characters and their silly stuff get enveloped, incongruously into a place where art mocks fashion.

3.where there is no center to grab hold of, where there is a floating universe of unexplainable stuff where the universe mocks man.

Not really sure how this will get released.I may form three artistic ghetto's for each, or have them be one or two releases that represent what some might say exemplifies a cohesive sense of things. I never really cared about that, or want to continually push the possibilities of it.

Of course there is so much more to this than these three sign posts,but humans secretly desire some sort of organizing of things in an attempt to pretend they possess some greater understanding. See I just did it.

New Music 2017

A Plethora of new music is being recorded at Arthur's Scabbey Road Studio. These recordings cover a wide range of ideas and depending on how things go may be released as either one full length album,or a couple of different EP's. Scabby Road is now running Apple's Logic primarily. More blog entries and perhaps photo's of sessions will be forthcoming.

Recording "The Emperor's New Sound"

There were a series of firsts for "The Emperor's New Sound" EP.

This is the first time I have released a full digital recording.

Sure I've been using digital since it's inception but not quite in this way.

The technology has improved dramatically over time and for a plethora of reasons it made sense to embrace modernity. The boy's and I pulled into Replacements Guitarist David Minehan's Woolly Mammoth Studios in picturesque Waltham Ma.The studio is in an old factory building and looks like a loft space that has been redesigned with different spaces serving individual functions.This was our first time recording in this room,as well the first time of having a studio with a real dedicated drum room,not just some crappy little booth that makes drums sound small and dead. The studio is unusual in that more often than not people just set up a large space and some small isolation booths.It was great to have this level of sonic separation while tracking basics. Also haven't used a 7 foot grand Piano on a record in a while either,usually relying on uprights or smaller grands. Graham drums through out the EP but also made his debut on Hammond B3 organ on the aptly titled "Graham's Gentlemen's Club". Colin added all kinds of Robot Voices,Theremin,Altered Guitars and spoken word to the project. This is off to a great start getting front pages of several magazines,and even a top ten so far nod. more news soon.

The Emperor's New Sound Video

New EP getting great responses out of the gate here's the video.

2 new EP's on the way

Ever prolific Arthur's up to recording a great deal of new music.An Experimental EP for treated Piano,

as well as a five song EP of songs.Check for forthcoming blog entries about both.

New Video "I've Got A Flanger In My Heart"

Here it is.  the latest video.

New Video "All Dressed In Plastic"    

Here it is, My Directorial debut.

Arthur Nasson presents,,The Video "All Dressed In Plastic"  

Analog Vs. Digital Recording

Ok,I have recieved various emails,comments,thoughts about Analog vs. Digital Recording and while I lay no claim to any expertise, I feel compelled to write further on the subject. I have nothing inherently against Digital Recording,Hey some of my best friends like digital recording! The real crux of this issue for me is how it sounds.I am not averse to technological advances in any way,in fact I welcome them.So,,, Let's go back,I was one of the first kids to jump into the digital pool with the belief that this would somehow improve the sound quality of recordings by ten fold. I started by mixing to digital and sometimes still do for convenience sake,then jumped into full digital recordings.When I analyzed the recordings on multiple playback systems there was just something lacking. Whether the recordings were done on open reel digital machines,adats,computers,the recordings sounded harsh,brittle,and bereft of depth. To take this further I would play recordings made by the same artists in some instance using the same engineers and even the same mastering rooms and the recordings made years prior on analog equipment just sounded better.My personal analogy is that this is like the difference between an oil painting and a water color. So I started asking people I knew who understood a little bit about physics to share their thoughts.Many of them stated,well Nyquists therom this, and blah blah sampling rates  and it should be fine, and maybe your a fossil stuck in your ways. As you can see it even got personal. I came away with more questions than answers.Ok So,, what's really going on here ? I set about trying to understand this.There is a great saying that I will paraphrase,"when one is ready to learn, teachers appear".Analog and Digital function in very different recognizes .0 nothing or .1 something. Digital favors louder brighter spikier fequencies,these shoot to the top of digitals recognition system while many of the subtlties trail off or get lopped off!Turn up a digital recording it will feel like chewing on tin foil. A very well known mastering engineer recently stated that doing a digital transfer can lose up to 25% of the recorded information!  This would be considered less than subtle even to the average listener because it's an enormous amount of loss and sonic degradation. Digital resolution is around 4,608.000 bits switching per second. Analog tape running at just 15 inches per second delivers around 80.000,000 oriented and randomly structured particles per second.So whaddya think cowboy do you want 4.6 million deelies or 80 million ! Clearly there is a rather significant difference occuring.There are also other factors that the human ear finds pleasing such as harmonic distortion [not the guys in leopard pants kind] that analog characteristcially has,as well as tape compression which adds interesting qualities to the sound of high sound pressure level instruments like drums. Don't believe me ,,go listen to older recordings vs. newer recordings.In well made Analog recordings The Vocals sound comparitivley enormous,the bass has extraordinary depth,the drums sound 50 times larger,all frequencies benefit in every way. Now the practical aspects of this. Digital editing is genius,it would be irresponsible to call analog editing anything other than prehistoric/extinct/goofy from an editing stand point.In recording one is ultimately either going for performances or going for Frankenstein/Auto-Tune/Loop/Program/Hollywood Douchebag/kind of stuff. Yes there can be editing in small and subtle ways but let's be honest here,it typically breaks down into the two very different processes described.I personally want to hear brilliant music and in the end however it is recorded and realized is insignificant.  There have been studies done on how and why we percieve and interact with music the way we do. Simply put when one quantizes a recording and removes all of the interperatation we humans don't find it compelling. All of the performance aspects of how a musician phrases a melodic gesture are what all of the poets,philosophers,artists through out the ages have responded to. When the saying "All Art Forms Aspire to be Music' was stated I feel certain they didn't have in mind the freeze dried digital bean dip found in most mainstream stuff. There is something extrordinary in how we make music, the elements people recognize and often term soul are what gets removed from programmed music. On a personal note,I make recordings the way I do because I want to capture the ,,if you will,, 'magic' that happens in a performance,I want all of the details the push and pull of human timing,the wringing of each phrase captured in it's true form.Yes,,This approach can of course be captured digitally.It's just not the same

Record Release party May 19th Lily Pad Cambridge

Saturday May 19th 7:00 join us in Celebrating the release of "West Cambridge Cowboys" Arthur's 7th album.

1353 Cambrdige st. Inman Square Cambridge

It's HERE!!!!!!

Arthur Nasson Presents,,,,  "West Cambridge Cowboys"  Album # 7  a truly extraordinary album from start to finish,,,    click on the link to hear and buy it.

Mix down and Mastering

Mixing this was fun there were so many strong elements that at times it was hard to choose what to feature. Benny and I mixed this,he was a good sport about being pulled into odd directions,and added a few unusual aspects of his own. I have this overwhelming desire to not be rearranging the same furniture in the same room.There were backing vocals that were modulated and treated to a point where they sounded nothing like a human voice. Theremin solo's that morphed into guitar solo's and back again. Percussion that became unrecognizable as such,and took on different forms through out the pieces.Among just a few of the fun things we did with the sounds of this album. This approach of expanding boundaries and trying for new things is to some degree in all of my albums.Mixes were done on schedual November 1,2,and3. Mastering was done on November 6th at Jeff Lipton's Peerless Mastering.I can't say enough about Jeff,he is extraordinarily talented and an amazing person.He has Mastered five of my albums. I am thrilled with every aspect of this album,it should be out in early 2012.

Studio Log part 4 ,tracking set,preparing to mix 10/23

10/23/11 The last tracking session before mixdown. I brought in a bunch of recordings from home,which were entered into the studios system. Some final mixes,and some sounds to fly into exitisting tracks.Thankfully all sounded fine. My Son Colin came in for the first three hours or so of the session. He played Slide Guitar,Ring Modulated Guitar,Synthesizer,and Percussion on a couple of songs. I then added Backing Vocals with a Neumann U67 this time,Synthesizers,Percussion, Guitar arrangement parts and Solo's,all through the Marshall Cabinet with the Deizel Top. We checked over every song on the album to see if anything else was needed and realized that it was only 3;15 and we were way ahead of schedual. How quickly an album as detailed as this came together surprised everyone. In our excitement we began to prepare the tracks for mix down.Mad Oak has tons of gear, some very modern much of it legendary and vintage,from a time when some audio designers were more concerned with the quality of the sound then permeating and captializing on a market place with inferior products. In short order,an overview of how this album would be presented began to take shape.I took home a couple of rough mixes and blasted them on a boom box, realizing there was more work to be done,but that even the roughs could go out as they are.

Studio Log Part 3 home recording,and a NYC show

Well of course it wouldnt be an Arthur Nasson production without some home recorded tracks,or sonic excursions thrown in. The album will have 13 tracks as of this writing ,10 tracks done at Mad Oak Studios in Allston 'Rock City' with Benny Grotto Engineering,and 3 cuts done at my home studio Scabbey Road. The freedom of home recording has made the entire process of recording so enjoyable,as well as making it possible to create a larger body of work,without the costs and constrictions of studio recording. I also have learned more about recording at home than in any other forum.Ok,, So Colin and Graham got onto garageband and recorded the sound effects for a ytack called "Robot Trouble" a darting romp of an electronics piece. There will be a synthesizer track that will follow a song that is largely surreal in nature called "From A Window On A Train". The previously mentioned[last post] Piano and Voice piece [untitled still] where I tracked 22 tracks of vocals onto 7 tracks of my  8 track will be mixed at home but Benny gets a shot at it,so there may be a Tascam 488Mk2  8 track sitting on top of a 70's Tweed Console.The Tweed console was where the engineers at Neve took a shot at their own designs and tried to out do Rupert Neve and his legendary consoles. Having now worked with both consoles they each have their own charm and extraordinary sonic characteristics. On another note,,  I will sneak in a show in NYC just before mixing the album. October 26th 7;30 at the Sidewalk Cafe 94 Avenue A at 6th Street. Then time to Mix album #7

Studio Log for album#7 part 2

September 26 and  27th

Ok ,,Monday was schedualed as a half day ,nonetheless very productive,guitar tracks,stacks of backing vocals,keyboards and more moving along smoothly.

Tuesday was a full day all lead vocals are finished,more backing vocals,we stayed with my AKG 414 for vocals, then several organ tracks,Mellotron,Percussion,theremin,many Guitar tracks,some through my  small  Vox and Fender amps. Then Benny brought out the big guns, a Marshall cabinet with a top by a German company called Deizel. I had never heard of Deizel, we put the amp in an isolation booth and turned the rig up so loud the entire room started to hum.What a sound! It was hilarious the amount of noise it generated so I started to stand in different areas of the control room to try and minimize this,it made little difference.The tracks sounded great it became apparent we would have to edit the noise out later. Some guitar sounds got over dubbed with this set up to mix with some of the previous tracks. By the end of the session,the majority of the album is complete, there is one more session on October 23rd,if we finish then, we begin to mix. We booked the Mix dates anyway feeling confident enough that we have the time needed. So we mix Novemeber 1,2,and 3. more soon,,

Studio Log for album #7

Introduction; The entire process has changed for me ,
 re-entering a studio and leaving my home set up after more than 10 years as a guerilla home recordist,
 should be fun,different,and full of who knows what.
 We will stay analog not for religious reasons but because it just sounds
 so much better.
 I embraced digital early on thinking it was the answer to so many issues
 with recording.
 I found the truth was I was after a different approach
than most recording engineers.
 So in finding an engineer
[Benny Grotto, credits;Aerosmith,Ben Folds,Dresden Dolls]
who is capable of making both formats sound good.We set sail.
 In the past every aspect of the decision making process was in flux.
With only 8 tracks ,
 decisions had to be made quickly,with no chance to redo,
given this,
  the entire process has been the most fun and exciting time I have

spent recording.
I will attempt to chronicle the shift and see if anything is gleaned
 from this.
day 1
Determined to record analog,
I brought in some old 2 inch reels that looked to be perfectly fine
some parts were never recorded on some parts we'd just record over.
Benny opened them,set them up,
they wouldnt play.
Not only would they not play,
they began to shed oxide particles
all over the head stack of the tape machine!
Benny had q-tips and alcohol out furiously cleaning the machine.
"Bad news guys,looks like your making a digital record
A few minutes later
Benny asked,
"Give me a minute to make a phone call"
Within minutes Benny gave us the good news,
His friend Mega Producer Sean Slade said we could use some
of his out take reels from a previous session and record over them.
Apparently the recording angels were smiling over us,
we thanked Sean,
and started to set up.

 we set out to capture
 live off the floor piano and drums,
bleeding everywhere with some control thrown in for certain mics.
Tracking an upright piano with an AKG 414 on it
 and a five piece birch ludwig drum set,
 with 70's Zildgian new beat high hats,
and a mix of Paiste and Zildgian cymbals.
 Micing  Drums took longer than expected,
 we really wanted to take the time and get great sounds,
 and also set up many options for mix down.
 some things worked right away,some things got scrapped.
 There was a combination of approaches.
 Old mics and new mics,tubes and transformerless
 condensers,ribbons,and close micing techniques with dynamic mics
 as well as
 semi-distant and distant mic techniques.
All seemed to have their own character and place,
and as we started to blend these elements,
the drums took on a huge present sound that was never strident,
but emminently listenable.
I felt a little out of my element at first,
 I hadnt been in a studio in over ten years,
 The last 5 albums,
 I was recording at home all this time,
when it came to drums I got good at working within
 the limitations of one mic one track.
 I found the process of being back in a studio
 confusing even though I had a great deal of
 previous experience working with multi-mic multi track recording.
 Benny was great about this ,
patient,understanding and flexible,
 and what occured was a combination of his
 and my approaches to drums,which complimented each other well.
 To everyones surpirse,
We tracked all of the albums basics in just a few hours.
 Graham surprised me,
 usually when someone goes into a big studio for the first time,
its like there is a microscope on everything you do.
 It reveals every flaw in a glaring and unforgiving way.
Most people first time in are confronted with how much work they need to
do in order to sound just ok,
and get their ego kicked around in a harsh way.
 This was a 13 year old kid going live to 2 inch analog tape,
 no Doctoring,no B.S.,no man behind the curtain,no kidding.
 I couldnt have been more proud as he tore up the tracks
 like a lion taking down a gazzelle.
 The more I listened,to what Benny was adding to this as an engine 
I found myself drawn in to the sound while adding bass tracks.
 Everything was working,we established a comfort level,
 and the process was going as we hoped it would.
We finished relatively early
 with Graham sleeping on the couch as I finished the last of the Bass tracks.
 Day 2
We started out hoping for Piano basics on an instrumental,and got side
 tracked by a messed up sustain pedal.No Piano tech in sight.
 We recognized we might have to have me track this at home on my piano
 analog and fly it in to the 2 inch machine later,or
 We may just bring in my 8 track and put it on top of
 the Tweed console and mix it like that.
 So we shifted gears and set up a bunch of vocal mics and went at it.
 Neumann u47 Neumann u67 AKG 414 with c12 capsule and
my AKG 414 from home,a new model with many polar patterns.
 We did a shoot out and for reasons that confused everyone in the room.
 My AKG c 414B-xls won the shoot out with the U67 closely trailing it.
 We whipped through 7 lead vocals in no time,
 switched to guitar,I brought in my white Telecaster and a tiny Vox
 pathfinder Amp.
 I was too lazy to bring in my fender deluxe 85 as well.
 We tried a number of the studios amps first,
 and while they sounded good,
 the Vox [this is a cheap 120.00 dollar amp]took the honors.
 I am a huge proponent of small single speaker amps,
 you dont have to get loud for them to open up,
there are no phase issues of mulitple speakers,
 and your back will thank you when it comes time to lift them.
 Rhythm guitar tracks were done quick with some switching of the amps gain
and boost section used to alter sound as well as a deluxe memory man at
There were a couple of mic techniques a shure sm57 close and an AKG 414
 for a room mic.
 A lot of this was done with a Neumann U67 a couple of feet from the
 speaker and the AKG 414 as a room mic more than ten feet back from the
We then got on to backing vocals and added stacks of them with my AKG 414
 we had laid down over 30 tracks of keepers,in light of this enormous
 amount of progress we made an early night of it.

 Day 3 Monday September 26

Arthur on the New Album "Echo Garden"

This is a pivotal moment for me as an artist. "Echo Garden" album number 6, was composed with the idea of being an entire listening experience, a journey.Where a myriad of disparate ideas are brought together to make a cohesive experience.

I perform all of the instruments on the album except for where I am joined by my two young sons.

The tracks and ideas get formed then pulled apart and morph into completley different pieces. For example the opener "Summer Drops" takes the chord progression from the verse section of "Bounce" ,slows it down,strips away drums ,guitar,and the bass counter point and envelopes the piece with 16 tracks of vocals that spell out a totally different harmony. BubbleFish Parts 1 and 2 ,as well as "Echo Garden" theme parts 1 and 2 are more obvious because of name,but also take a few similar ideas and transform them into different pieces. There are other pieces that  take things out further. The track listing and some overview.

Part 1 "Summer Drops" opens the album with lush vocal harmonies floating over a few chords played on piano. "Bounce" a song about rebounding in the face of betrayal, kicks off with some high octane rock where Guitar ,Drum and Bass riffs drive the song and Piano solos over the top of it cutting the rhythm to shreds. "The Other Side" is a Ska like piece  where psychosocial developement and mortality converge.  "BubbleFish Part 1" brings aboard My 12 year old Son Drum Phenomenon Graham Nasson, this high-speed chase of an instrumental morphs into ascending synthesizer lines. "Unglued" is a non-apologetic Beatle-esque rocker,Graham on Drums, complete with Guitar solo that mimicks the verse melody. "BubbleFish Part2" takes a few of the chords from the previous uptempo version,slows them down and adds layers of vocal harmony,piano,guitars,and synthesizers.The Title came at the last minute,I had a few ideas and didn't like them all that much. I was literally in the mastering room and had to come up with something fast,so Iasked Jeff Lipton[Mastering Engineer extraordinare] if we could take a quick break while I made a phone call.  I called my sons,relayed the situation and asked them to take a shot at it.Well I got more nonsensical gibberish than a senate subcomittee hearing,and,,,yes you guessed it BubbleFish sounded like the most compelling [and funniest] of the bunch. "Psych Ward"   rollicks along with good nature de-evolving into a train wreck,concluding Part 1. The track list is as follows.

 Part 1

1.Summer Drops


3.The Other Side

4.BubbleFish Part 1


6.BubbleFishe Part 2

7.Psych Ward

Part 2 is where things begin to draw down to a more inward experience ,blending almost neo-classical ideas like "Echo Garden Theme Part 1" flat out synth strings outlining the harmony of "Echo Garden". "Unravel" a piece that runs from Piano and Voices then changes into a string section,and "Drift" a Piano and Synthesizer piece that repeats a forlorn melody. We Then delve deeper into an atmospheric,Avant -Pop area with soundscapes like "Orb" "Firefly Chase" and "The Boy With The Backwards Guitar"   Both "Fireflychase" and "The Boy With The Backwards Guitar" mark the first appearance of my 9 year old son Colin on a recording. Colin performs,Guitar,Percussion,Recorder,FreQ box and Backwards Guitar on these two tracks. The Track listing.

Part 2

8.Echo Garden Theme Part1




12.Firefly Chase

13.The Boy With The Backwards Guitar


We emerge into Part 3 clearly in a new place,through the darkness into light ,with the Fender Rhodes and Vocal driven "Echo Garden Theme Part2" which gives way to the Piano,Bass and Drums backdrop for a vocal piece that borders on neo-doo-wop,called "You Wouldn't Understand" [Graham on drums]where unreasonably immature women get called out and recieve a taste of what they like to dish out.There are even mentions of  James Joyce and Marcel Proust!  "Drag" {Graham on drums]is a straight up stones style rocker lamenting the lack of hedonistic fun we all could use a bit more of. "Meant To Be" dishes up some  backside shaking gospel inflected soul. The Album Closes with The title Cut [Graham on Drums].

"Echo Garden" feels like innocence lost or imagined, a five minute or so journey of its own that ends up in unexpected places. I encourage people to have their own experience with this album,these are just a few of my thoughts. The track listing is as follows.

14.Echo Garden Theme Part 2

15.You Wouldn't Understand


17.Meant To Be

18.Echo Garden

Arthur Nasson on The Recording of "Echo Garden"

The Recording of 'Echo Garden"
My recording process is the culmination of years of trial and error.
Watching and asking questions on any recording session I was part of,
and spending years in the basement experimenting.
I wound up producing all of my albums to date,I think they are unique and
specific as a result.
The only producer I was ever slated to work with was Rolling Stones
Producer Jimmy Miller.
The sessions never materialized,but during our talks he imparted
many ideas,that came from his years of experience.
At the time of our meeting I was a young kid,and he was
caught between trying to capture new glory and
destroying himself with Alcohol and Heroin.
He was very impressed with what I was doing musically,
and was also happy to talk with someone who was more interested in his
process,and ideas about record production,than in asking questions about
what Keith Richards was like.
Recordings like 'Rip This Joint' 'Tumbling Dice' by the Stones,
and "Gimme Some Lovin" by Spencer Davis group,had an intangible quality to
them,they had their own sound,and energy.
I asked him about this and specific questions like why Charlie Watts
Mono one track Drum sound on 'Honky Tonk Women' sounded bigger and more
exciting than modern drum tracks with a dozen or more mic's and tracks on
He attempted to explain his approach, and frankly at the time,
I didn't completely understand what I was recieving.
It wasn't until a few years later when I borrowed an ancient four track
from my then manager that I began to pull these elements
I had a machine with no EQ,reverb,effects,no nothing,and a cheap radio
shack mic.
If I wanted any kind of sound to happen ,
I had to make it happen in the room and capture it that way.
Whenever my frustration mounted,
I kept thinking back to what was imparted during those meetings.
I would try to paraphrase some of what was said in my attempt to remember.
"The excitement of what's happening in a room during a performance is
something never to be messed with"
'Trying to capture it can be as elusive as trying to put lightning in a
" Use fewer mics,keep em wide open,and place em well"
"Signal flow is simple,just get out of the way"
The Guy who produced 'Let It Bleed' liked to let sound bleed all over the
In time I kept thinking about the space,and moved a drum kit into an open
area of a basement,with concrete floors and walls, a plaster ceiling,
and put a mic not in close, but several feet back from the kit,and hit the
drums hard.
I was beginning to be able to capture what I heard in the room.
What hit the tape was the start of something.
There are many people who don't like the sound of 'Exile On Main Street"
they say its muddy,crowded,well,,it was recorded in a basement with
cobbled together equipment,little sound treatment to the room or baffling.
To me it has this magic,where sounds blend, where there is an uncontrolled
dispersion of energy,it feels like being right in the middle of something.
Modern recording is fighting this. Engineers are trying to mic every
aspect of things then compress them and EQ them,and compartmentalize
To me this sucks the life out of performances and makes things sound dull.
The recording of 'Echo Garden' was all about letting go and embracing
The writing and recording of this album happened quickly,
it would have been impossible to have done this with a band or a producer,
there was no time to explain things.
Mics were left wide open,the little red record light was always on.
It was time to do.
I still have yet to use an outside producer,and stopped using recording
studios after my first album.
I reached a crossroad where I was either going to have to be a slave to
technology,or I was going to embrace what people like
Jimmy Miller was talking about years earlier.
Perhaps the Art form thrives more with limitations,it forces decision
making,mic technique,and creativity.
I have recorded every album after my first in a basement on 8 track analog,
no auto-tune,no digital trickery.
Drums are one mic one track, Real raw performances.
To me there is an urgency and direct honesty to 'Echo Garden"
where sparks can fly anywhere with nothing to slow them down.
This is exactly what I wanted.

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