Feb 282010

4. Furry Friends

Any good recording environment needs pets.

In 1993 we had Barley.

I was working at White Crow Audio in Burlington, Vermont under the tutelage of my buddy Tom Walters.  Barley was his dog, dear friend, and—in the studio—colleague.

Barley

Barley put everyone at ease, even musicians with allergies.  Even a certain producer/engineer going through serious drug and alcohol addiction withdrawal.  Of course i won’t name names, but said producer could terrify the drummer into into an involuntary bowel movement before a take.  Mr Producer would throw very expensive, vintage equipment across a room in a tantrum.  (”No, no….not the Pultec!!!!” and then duck.)

Barley liked to lie under the Neve 8068 console in the control room.  Mr Producer never threw anything—or even raised his voice—when Barley was under the console.  Why?  Barley was a natural calming agent for everyone trying to focus on the creative moment, trying to deliver recorded sound that would hopefully one day mean something special to many, many people.  He would loosen up even those just trying to create a hit based on demographic research.  Barley didn’t discriminate.

Our feline guys at Red Sun are Tee Tee and Béla.  They each have remarkably distinct and discriminating tastes and are not at all shy about showing their opinion during playback just by walking right out of the room.  If you’ve got something, you’ll know it, ears will be peeled.  If you don’t, there won’t be anyone nearby warming your feet.

Béla

Béla

Béla holds expertise in the avant-garde, anything resembling children’s music, and monophonic translation.  Loves Björk, Steve Reich, Eric Dolphy.  He’s also very fond of Thai-Lao classical music,  although that particular enthusiasm hasn’t had occasion to prove directly useful in our shop just yet.

Tee Tee’s expertise lies in High-Life, African Funk, the Nina mystique, serious bottom end, European lounge, Piaf integrity, and optimum stereo imaging.  Often he’ll hog the sweet spot between the monitors.  You can tell when he’s working because he has such observable focus.

Tee Tee

Tee Tee

Both guys produce subsonic frequencies with immense healing and spirit-lifting power.

Play time reminds us to take the ears breaks that are so necessary when doing extended audio work.  Tossing a ball or running around with a piece of ribbon momentarily takes your mind off the contour of the bass, or the vocal take, or whatever we convince ourselves is putting everything on the line in a given studio moment.

On top of all that, these members of the crew get paid in treats!—and while that’s more than most interns earn in this business, pets will never be mistaken by a client as being legally capable of going out for a beer run.  Not most clients, anyway.

It can be great to have friends with you in the studio.  Nonhuman friends often provide a unique tone of relaxation, a reminder that while our work is serious we humans don’t need to take ourselves too seriously.

I think the listener hears that in the final result.

Feb 162010

On behalf of the whole Red Sun Soundroom crew i want to extend a hearty welcome to newcomers and old friends alike.  This is the new weblook for Red Sun, and since we’re all so busy trying to make things sound great, it was no small diversion for us to focus our attention on making our web presence look great too.

We had a pretty simple 1-page weblog look in the past.  At the time we felt posting what we’re playing on our hi-fi now and again and a few links to downloadable music would be enough.

You asked for something better, something more worthy of Red Sun.  We took a crack at it, and we hope you like it.  It remains a work in progress, but with the new format, it will be easier to continuously improve, refine, update with pertinent information, as well as provide the occasional appropriate ornamentation.

Please note that the entire archive of posts has been preserved, and all new posts will appear in the same place, On The Notepad. There is now an added benefit of posts being organized by category.  You can, for example, with a click of the mouse see all the playlists from past Listening Salons.   (Or, rather, all the playlists i got around to posting in the first place!  The debaucherous nature of said events can sometimes lead to a day or two of laziness and thus playlists at times get pushed further and further down the task list until they just never get published.  I aim to make this is a phenomenon of the past.  Not the debauchery, of course.)

We hope you enjoy the In The Stream page, which will lead you to free downloads of  some albums and singles birthed within these walls.  Also on this page are many excerpts from pieces of original music as well as sample beats and atmospheres ready to appear in our clients’ original productions or sent out into the marketplace for others to use.  Please note: we have intentionally designed this page so that you can play more than one selection at a time. Try putting a beat and an atmosphere together.  Play a song excerpt and add another one to it but at lower volume.  For those of you who have spent any time in our shop, you know we often experiment by blending prepared ingredients.  Join in the fun!

Many thanks to Sayontan Sinha for providing the scaffolding during our renovation.

No small thanks to you all for stopping in for something warm, and for making the Red Sun Soundroom the special place it has become.  Cheers!

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