I built a new recording rig that I’m excited about. I don’t like to talk too much gear on this site, but I’m quite pleased with the performance and cost-effectiveness of it. I have more tone-shaping options in the analog domain for tracking to work with. I also picked up a few new microphones that expand my arsenal of recording tools in a very useful way.

To test drive the new rig, I asked Eddy Dyer if he was up for a session. This song is the result. I also used the session as the basis for an upcoming Recording Magazine article about recording singer/guitarists at the same time. We got together with my new mics and rig, and the portable acoustic panels I bring to remote sessions, and we had a great quality mobile studio set up.

Then this happened:

We recorded two takes of Eddy playing his new Taylor guitar and singing at the same time. The first take was the best one; that’s the one you hear throughout most of the song. But the second take was really good too, so I edited it in to match the flow of the first take. That’s the 2nd guitar and the reverby chorus vocals you hear in the second half of the song. It was a nice moment, I’m lucky to have had my rig there to capture it.

Do you see?

Maine Thunderstorm Field Recording

I love to make field recordings of natural sounds & events. A really cool thunderstorm blew threw here the other day and I got a nice stereo recording. It’s been edited down to 40 minutes. The thunder really picks up about 3 minutes in, and is at its loudest between there and about 10 minutes in. It continues off & on. Also you will here the forest insects and the rain, and possibly the occasional vehicle driving by in the distance.

I was struck by the height dimension; in some of the thunderclaps you can hear the air rushing upwards, getting further from you. Very cool. This will make an ideal background or sound effects track for various applications, so I’m releasing it under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. Listen below or download the mp3 directly (this is a relatively low-res 128kbps mp3; if you require a higher-res version of it contact me).

©2017 Crafted Recordings. Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Eddy Dyer – Heart Of Your Rage

heartofyourrage-coverHeart Of Your Rage is the second single from Eddy’s forthcoming album, Love is At The Heart of This Thing, Right? We’ve been working on this album for several months and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Give a listen here:

Musically, there’s a lot going on here. Acoustic guitar and a single vocal take are the foundation of the song, with several layers of electric guitars (played by both Eddy and by Justin Spicer) coming in & out of focus as the song progresses. One of the more subtle guitar tracks was recorded at Battery Steele on Peaks Island, Maine, which was one of the most fun recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. Eddy also played bass, and there is also cool synth drone that runs in the background throughout the song. There are drums (played by Chuck Greenwood and recorded by Bob Nash at Wonka Sound in Lowell, MA).  About 2:00 in you can hear a kid’s choir directed by Eddy & Seth Bailin. The song slowly builds all the way up to the climactic ending. After I dialed in the final mix, the song was mastered by Scott over at Old Colony Mastering, who will also be mastering the album when it’s finished.

All that is well and good, but the real story with this song is with the lyrics, which are quite timely in this world:

After our fight, I let the cedar wolf lead me deep inside
into the angry flesh of a tulip, partially capsized.
When we washed the blood from our faces at the heart of it all
we could see the bottomless well behind the cracks in the wall;

It said,
“Illuminate the love that resides within the heart of your rage
Illuminate the love that is hiding in the heart of your rage
because later or soon, there’ll be
none but the moon left to blame
so cast off what’s been burned in the fire,
keep what’s been forged in the flame.

Liberate the love that resides within the heart of your rage
Liberate the love that is hiding in the heart of your rage
because in sin or in grace, there’s but one face
that carries your name
so cast off what’s been burned in the fire,
keep what’s been forged in the flames

Watch the stars, they’re moving

Celebrate the love that resides within the heart of your rage
celebrate the love that is hiding in the heart of your rage
because in sin or in grace, there’s but one face
whose ways you can change
so cast off what’s been burned in the fire,
keep what’s been forged in the flames

and love.

Enjoy the song. If you really enjoy it, then support Eddy as we complete this album.

The Droimlins – And Then There’s Whiskey

The Droimlins
“There’s everything else in the world, and then there’s whiskey….”

Very happy this song from The Droimlins was released. This is probably my favorite track from the EP we did earlier this year. These are a bunch of great songs, but this one had something special in the performance. The Droimlins describe themselves thusly:

Multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Otis and songsmith Eddy Dyer, both formerly of The Reagan Babies have again joined forces to create The Droimlins, Lowell’s newest Celtic Gypsy Punk outfit; regaling you with songs of Drinking And Rebellion.

The recording was done very simply, in a small, untreated room. It was done live in one take to preserve the performance aspect of what they do. The arrangement on this song is fantastic, the interplay between the guitar and the accordion, with the vocals sitting right on top, is really good.

I recorded the accordion with 2 dynamic microphones that have excellent sound and fantastic rear rejection, so I could maximize separation from the guitar & Eddy’s voice. Accordions produce sounds from both ends, so you really need 2 mics to do it justice. I used a pair of ribbons to record Eddy’s acoustic guitar, along with a tube mic for Eddy’s vocals. These all gave really nice tones, despite the very far from perfect room, with lots of flexibility during the mix. Because there was significant bleed between everything, I didn’t bother recording room mics, and they weren’t needed in the mix.

In addition to this project, I am working with Eddy on his upcoming solo album. Please support him if you can, it’s going to be excellent.

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 — 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.

Harper Meader: Honey

My good friend Harper Meader is an interesting guy. I learned to make mead from him. He built his own cordwood masonry home by hand. Turns out, he’s also a musician and a songwriter. After he had a particularly inspirational year he’d been writing a lot more songs, and wanted some help recording them.

I was happy to oblige. I’ve been wanting to record in Ironwood Hollow — the space he built by hand — because it has wonderful acoustics. It’s a good sized room with tall ceilings, no parallel surfaces, and remains the best mead hall I know.

Anyway, Harper had his songs well-arranged, polished, practiced, and even a few harmony and lead guitar lines. The result is a very fine debut EP. Check it out. You can even get a copy of the CD from Harper.

Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by James Lindenschmidt for Crafted Recordings.

Dark Follies

Last summer I had the pleasure of recording Dark Follies, an award winning vaudeville style variety show based in Portland, Maine.  Family friendly while still keeping an edge, Dark Follies  features the live music of the Dark Follies Rhythm Orchestra, dancing, juggling, side show acts, fire performers and more.

This session was over a year ago…. and the best news is, I’m going to record them again very soon. This time I’ll have a larger room, and my new mobile rig with my mic collection. To say that I’m looking forward to the next session is an understatement!

For the first session last year, the instrumentation was very interesting: violin, accordion, nylon string guitar, and 4 percussionists. We ended up booking an afternoon at Peapod Recordings to have a nice quiet spot to record, and they were well-practiced. We recorded all 4 songs in the same session, and the mixing was finished within another couple of weeks.

For this session I took advantage of having several ribbon mics available to me, utilizing both their old-school sound and their off-axis rejection properties to record the entire ensemble in one small room.

We recorded 4 songs that day: Uskadar, Rast Kars Lama, Jovano Jovanka, and Dobriden.

In the meantime, here is a playlist for their previous work. You can find them on Dark Follies Reverb Nation.

Recorded and Mixed by James Lindenschmidt for Crafted Recordings.

Still here

This site hasn’t been updated in a while. I have been doing more audio recording lately, but have not been updating the site. I’ll add a few entries as I get time.

These days my mobile production strategy has evolved and I have a nice portable rig for recording. I’ve downsized physically (less gear to haul) but my capabilities are more than ever.

In the coming days I’ll write about sessions I’ve had recently with Dark Follies, Harper Meader, Freakwitch, as well as some voiceover work for Studio Comic Kaze.

I will also have some audio samples as well, though you can hear some of the recordings I’ve done on Dark Follies and Harper Meader’s sites above. More samples (from Freakwitch) will be coming up soon.