Podcast Episode 4: Dreams, Enchantment, & Living Magically

Antonio_de_Pereda_-_El_sueño_del_caballeroThe first thing you hear in this episode is my favorite natural spring in the world, on a mountainside near my home in Maine. The water that comes from this spring is a blessing, it is the best water I have ever tasted.

Next you hear Eddy Dyer‘s guitar, a performance I recorded recently at a benefit concert. Some drums come in, followed by another nice rant by Dr. Bones. Then you hear a remixed version of Eddy’s performance of a medley: “Under The City” (music by Jimmy Otis, lyrics by Eddy Dyer), followed by a Cure cover, “If Only Tonight We Could Sleep” (Smith/Gallup/Thompson/Tolhurst/Williams).

Finally, we have a talk from C.S. Thompson  on Dreams, Enchantment, and Living Magically.

Thanks to the spirits of the spring for their song, to Eddy for his enchantment, and to Dr Bones & C.S. Thompson for their wisdom.

This podcast ©2015 Crafted Recordings. Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Podcast Episode 3: Pagans & Prisons


This episode begins with the sound of rainfall. I knew the rain was coming and set up the recorder outside under shelter. When I went back an hour later to retrieve the recorder, I was astonished to see that there was snow on the ground. So the recording transitioned over from rain to snow. You can hear the transition in the podcast if you pay attention. The snow has a softer sound than the rain, though it was still a wet snow and it isn’t a huge difference.

Next is a gorgeous 28″ community drum that was played by the Order of Maine Druidry. Thanks to them for the rhythm and holding space.

The bulk of the podcast are thoughts from several members of the Maine Pagan Clergy Association, all of whom do some kind of work or ministry in prisons. Thanks to Alban Artur, Kevin Emmons, and Janine Marie for their thoughts and insights, and for the work they do.

In addition, this podcast sees the first contribution from Dr. Bones, a writer over at Gods & Radicals, who delivers a fine rant.

All other background music by me.

©2015 Crafted Recordings. Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Podcast Episode 2: Winter is a Time of Revolt

beautifulfcoverfinalIn this episode, Rhyd Wildermuth, the editor of Gods & Radicals, tells the story of the origin of the organization both as a website and a publisher. He also gives a detailed preview of the upcoming first edition of the print journal. Learn how winter is a time of insurrection, and how gods seem to be involved in revolt, among many other tasty things.

This one begins with an ambient recording I made on Munjoy Hill, the Portland peninsula, on the 4th of July. There was a large crowd (many tens of thousands of people), a brass band playing through a huge PA system, and of course patriotic explosions in the sky. There is also the sound of Casco Bay, recorded from Willard Beach in South Portland.

Rhyd’s voice was recorded over the phone, and enhanced to sound like commands coming over a transmitter.

Percussion was by Alfred Lund, same as in episode 1. Piano performed by James Lindenschmidt. Produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered by James Lindenschmidt for Crafted Recordings.

©2015 Crafted Recordings. Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Podcast Episode 1: The Social Justice Warrior & The Polar Bear

CC-BY-2.5. Photo taken by Ansgar Walk
CC-BY-2.5. Photo taken by Ansgar Walk

This episode is a friend of mine, Matt Dyer, telling the story of being attacked and nearly killed by a polar bear in July 2013, in the Torngat Mountains National Park in Canada. I did a more detailed writeup of this story over at Gods & Radicals.

From an audiogeek perspective, this episode consists entirely of remote recordings I have done over the past few months. It begins with the sound of the forest, and me lighting a fire with a ferro rod, birch bark as tinder, and some dried pine as fuel. You can also hear the barred owls that love to visit the woods near my home. These were all recorded with my portable stereo recorder.

Once the fire is going you can hear percussion (by Alfred Lund) and violin (by Carson Lynch). These I recorded with my laptop rig, using a variety of microphones (Heil dynamic mics, and some ribbon room mics for the percussion) with my Focusrite preamps.

Matt’s narrative was also recorded with my portable recorder. In retrospect, his voice is a bit weak from the attack, so I should have put the microphones closer to him, or better yet just used a dynamic mic right up on his mouth, radio-announcer style. Ah well, live and learn. Getting the noise floor of the voiceover tolerable was the biggest technical struggle of this mix, luckily the ambient forest & fire sounds, along with a bit of downward expansion, masked most of the noise pretty well.

Future episodes will have other storytellers, musicians, teachers, and interesting sounds on it. I look forward to bringing more of these episodes out. If you are interested in telling a story, singing a song, or other rants & chants for a future episode please let me know.

©2015 Crafted Recordings. Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Morgan Lindenschmidt – When The Words Fade, We Fade

Morgan Lindenschmidt - When The Words Fade We Fade - Cover

When The Words Fade, We Fade, the new EP by Morgan Lindenschmidt, is finally here. Check it out on her Bandcamp page:

This one was fun. The basic tracks were recorded in the same way as Rest Inside (her debut EP), using my recording rig. The first track (An Aftertaste) was recorded at home, with the rest of the tracks done over at Halo Studios’ live room. The performance of An Aftertaste on the home recording was just too good, so we kept it. All the songs basic tracks were six tracks total: stereo ribbon mics on the guitar, an AKG 414 on vocals, a pair of Gefell room mics, and a DI out of the guitar.

However, there was much more post production on this one. I used the DI output to reamp the guitar on several tracks, including Little Hoaxes/Little Hopes above, which is my personal favorite track on the album. This one has a lot more texture and sonic depth than the previous recording, and the growth of the artist as a songwriter and performer is apparent since her debut EP. I also did the mixing and mastering on this one.


Eddy Dyer – Benefit Concert for Stephen Carpenter

Eddy Dyer with Joie Grandbois, at the Stephen Carpenter Benefit concert. Photo by Arthur Fink.
Eddy Dyer with Joie Grandbois, at the Stephen Carpenter Benefit concert. Photo by Arthur Fink.

A few weeks back, I ran sound for a pretty extraordinary show. Stephen Carpenter is the musical director for Dark Follies, and unfortunately he was hit by a truck several weeks back. He’s doing well and is expected to make a full recovery, but the community of people came together to raise some funds for Stephen. In addition to running sound for the show, I also recorded the set. Someone else took video, so there will likely be videos released of the show at some point.

The first mix from this show is of Eddy Dyer, a singer & songwriter. The room was full, and his performance was quite captivating as you can hear by the silence of the room. This recording was just 3 tracks: his vocal mic (an Audix OM-3 as I recall), a DI on his acoustic guitar, and a room mic (a trusty SM57) at the back of the hall. I think the mix came out good!

This is 2 songs performed by Eddy. The first is “Under The City” (music by Jimmy Otis, lyrics by Eddy Dyer). The second is a Cure cover, “If Only Tonight We Could Sleep” (Smith/Gallup/Thompson/Tolhurst/Williams).

Morgan Lindenschmidt – Thigh-High Apprehension

I just realized I never posted this video here. It’s a song I recorded with Morgan Lindenschmidt a few months ago, from her upcoming EP.

This recording was done at Halo studios in Windham. It’s a simple recording using an AKG 414 for vocals, a pair of Coles ribbon mics on the guitar, a couple of Microtech Gefell room mics, and a direct line out from the guitar. All live, no overdubs, no edits, one take.

Morgan Lindenschmidt — Wooden Overcoat

The latest song released by Morgan Lindenschmidt, Wooden Overcoat, is up on Youtube:

It’s another very interesting song…. still recorded live (in a living room) in one take with no overdubs, but this time with electric guitar rather than acoustic. The vocals are mixed more forward than I usually like, but the intimacy of this song called for it I think. I definitely recommend checking out this very promising young artist as she continues to grow and evolve.

Harper Meader – Sweet Insomnia

Harper Meader at the CD Release Party for Sweet Insomnia.
Harper Meader at the CD Release Party for Sweet Insomnia.

I just returned home from Harper Meader‘s CD release party for Sweet Insomnia. Congrats to Harper for his first full-length CD! Doing his EP Honey was fun, but this album is even better. The party was great, getting a chance to hear a few sets of Harper’s music.

It’s always a treat to record in Ironwood Hollow, it’s such an interesting room. Havamal is probably my favorite track from the album:

This song, like all the songs on the album, was recorded in Ironwood Hollow. I set up Harper with his acoustic guitar and we recorded both at the same time as a basic track. I set him up between 4 RealTraps MiniGobos seated with his guitar. I used 3 close microphones, all 3 of which are figure 8 mics. This allows me to use the null points of the figure 8 mics to my advantage, to maximize the side null rejection patter those mics have. 2 mics were ribbons to give a gorgeous stereo picture of the guitar, with nice space up the middle for the vocals. I used a tube condenser mic in fig-8 for Harper’s vocals this time, and it’s a beautiful match for Harper’s voice.

I also recorded stereo room mics, about 20′ away from Harper, pointing at him. Ironwood Hollow is a big room so it sounds nice, and these mics captured the room.

Track 6 was a direct out from Harper’s Martin guitar, when he recorded songs with that. It’s his main guitar but he also uses a Yamaha without a pickup for some of the songs.

These 6 tracks are the foundation of the album for all the songs. Some of them, that’s what the song is. Other songs had some overdubs.

Havamal first had a hammered dulcimer overdub. This is a beautiful instrument, not unlike the internals of a piano, but rather than piano keys you just hit the strings manually with hammers. I recorded this with a cardioid large diaphragm condenser microphone about 4′ over head.

Next was the shaker part. Harper had a few percussion instruments, but I saw him get a twinkle in his eye…. “Wait a second. I have an idea…..”

While I was adjusting the microphone, he came back with a mead horn filled with some barley. This was the shaker. I can’t remember what I recorded it with, probably the same large diaphragm condenser I used for the hammered dulcimer.

These tracks came out beautifully, only requiring a bit of EQ and some volume rides to get them to sit right in the mix. But we weren’t done with this. We had one more on location recording to do, to really fill out the meaning of the song Havamal.

To hear Harper tell the story:

“Havamal” means “words of the high one,” Meaning the Norse god Odin. It is a collection of verses included in The Poetic Edda, purporting to be wise counsel from Odin himself. It includes the famous passage about how he hung on the World Tree for nine nights in his quest for wisdom, which came to him in the form of the runes.

I have a battered old copy of that work, much underlined and dog-eared, marking where, at one time in my life or another, particular lines touched me. Recently I started singing one section while playing an odd chord on the guitar, and the rest of it just followed along in short order. The song is made of paraphrased bits of many of my favorite lines, enshrining the values of friendship, honor, family, bravery, and respect.

The chorus of this song, “Pass the horn from hand to hand/Pass it along from friend to friend,” evokes images of campfires and drinking horns filled with mead. So of course the backing vocals had to be recorded outside, around a campfire, with the mead horn passing around. The men present sang the backing vocals.

Right at the end of the song, you can hear the voice of our friend Matt Dyer, who has quite a story to tell about his encounter with a polar bear in Canada. He has pretty much completely recovered, except his voice isn’t the same as it was. Did I mention the polar bear dragged Matt out of his tent by his neck, having basically Matt’s entire head in its jaws? It was really a blessing to add Matt’s polar bear voice to this song.

I recorded these voices around the fire with my portable Zoom recorder while we listened to a reference mp3 played through someone’s iPhone, and then imported the resulting tracks for the mix.

This mix came together quite quickly, despite it having the most tracks on the entire album. And it is without a doubt my favorite track. All the songs are very well crafted. This CD is worth a listen. Get one while you can. He also has mp3s available, so head on over to his site.