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Audio Alchemy

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The classic definition of an Alchemist is someone who practices the medieval art/science concerned with the development of an elixir of life, which would confer youth and longevity; as well as transmutation: turning low-value base metal into the noble metals gold & silver.

The Urban Dictionary defines Alchemists as people who are awesome and full of amazing powers.  I put forward, practicing audio alchemy is the act of transforming audio. Not simply recording audio, which is a craft in itself. What I am talking about here is taking program material whether in the form of a individual tracks to be mixed together, already mixed songs, a field recorded sample (instrument, or sound), a poorly captured voice monologue or creation of a unique sound from synthesized or natural sources (sound design) and transforming it. Of course you are thinking ahh, mixing & mastering, audio engineering. Yes and No…

The craft of audio alchemy as I practice it sometimes, is about yes, mixing and mastering. Yet in the extreme cases, it’s mystical stuff, it’s about breathing new life into audio, which, then will manifest in a better form forever (the elixir of life). It’s a form of transmutation. Not synthesis

FullSizeRender (4) or the creation of a new crazy sound from something else, which could be sound design; but, the transformation of some God-awful audio into something useful.

What do I mean? Audio Alchemy takes different paths: sometimes it’s a pedantic process to improve, and yet in extreme cases it is the equivalent of turning lead into precious metal. Here are a few examples:  an ever present low hum of an air conditioner; a honking car horn as it whizzes by; the waterier, waverly sound of a poor quality, bandwidth limited digital recording; a constant Ssssssssssssound, the plaaaaa plosive sound in audio terms, the breath, fizzle, haaa sound some humans make as they are catching breath before belting something out, and a myriad of other possible combinations of all the above including ambient hums, whistles, scratches, bumps, shakes, zips, barks, chirps, and fizzles etc… and, in the extreme: speech recorded via iphone with the phone located right on top of the loudspeaker capturing a painful distortion along with the barely audible voice. Sometimes, with the wave of a magic wand, a truncated piano chord forming the cadence or resting place concluding a scene in a film is corrected/manipulated to extend its natural decay into silence to synchronize with the video fade to black. The magic wand is actually a multi-pronged process involving matching the ambience of the piano sound before the chord, sampling and extending the actual chord, blending the new sampled material with the existing truncated material, then adding reverb that’s of the same character of what is already on the track. Poof: just like that. Oh, and that’s 6 seconds that took 20+ minutes of experimentation to come up with the right recipe to please the discerning ears of the composer.

Recently, I worked on a project where I needed to assemble a poem as the voice over for a soundtrack. The audio was recorded via a hand held digital recorder, the kind that is only about three inches or so long. The audio consisted of multiple takes of phrases that had to be sliced, diced and assembled as one cohesive poem. Before addressing this challenging audio editing task, I first had to perform some audio alchemy in the form of transmutation addressing the audio quality. That entailed a multi stage process of noise, click and pop reduction, ambiance and EQ matching, as the recorder position was not consistent in placement relative to the mouth of the subject, and then some smoothing via a multi-step compression process. Magic! Well actually, hours of fiddling with settings to get the best possible outcome.

FullSizeRender (6)Ok so how and what do I use? Future posts will get into more how-to specifics of my audio alchemy practice.  As for what and without going into exploration of the infinite possibilities of tools available today, here are my current goto items:

Izotope RX 5 (especially Declip, Denoize, Dehum, & Spectral Repair Modules); Ozone 7 & Final Mix (comes with some very useful dialogue presets; they work so I use them!)

Stillwell Audio: Bombardier Mastering Compressor (using RMS not Peak detection)

Universal Audio UAD: Precision Mastering, Pultec, and Neve 1081 & 1076 Equalizers; Multi-band Compressor, LA2A, Precision Limiter, K System Ambiance

Voxengo: Elephant Mastering Limiter

Xynaptic: Unfilter, Unveil, and Unchirp, which provides capability unlike anything out there for dealing with wobbly bandwidth decimated material

As for a DAW/Editor, Izotope RX is becoming my default forensic audio editor as it runs on PC & Mac and now hosts VSTs. For years depending on hardware platform (I use both PC & Mac) I have used Sound Forge, Wavelab, Gibson Brands/Cakewalk Sonar Platinum (20160114_230116_resizedincludes a bevy of possibilities in pro channel modules and bundled Blue Cat Audio plugins) and PreSonus Studio One ver 3.2 (which also comes with nice collection of native (German-engineered) processing tools).


As of the writing of this post I am just settling in with Isotopes’ Ozone 7 Mastering suite (which has also stepped up it’s Stand Alone operation mode capability) and RX 5 Editor feature laden updates. So far, both of these updates really appear to include potent new features that may well change things up for me. Notably, is the implementation of the Vintage Tape, Vintage EQ (fantastic mid/side processing capability) and Dynamic EQ modules (think of it like dynamic multi-band compression but it’s an EQ; it’s especially potent for use on orchestral material). Finally as it turns out, the RX interface in fact has a “magic wand” tool. The magic wand: standard accouterment for any magician, wizard or … audio alchemist.


Something I don’t see Everyday and worth sharing. Props for the Alchemist:

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21st Century Musician = Neo-Renaissance Human

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IMG_2736I was musing on the word entrepreneur and what it means, or how it might manifest in the form of a musically creative person.  By that I mean one committed to creativity and music by disposition, innate ability;  —the need to… Many a doctor or lawyer possess musical ability but yielded to what some may call the pragmatism of a steady six figure occupation, and thus relegated music to avocation. The easier road taken perhaps?

In viewing the word entrepreneur via Thesaurus the word enterprising comes up: marked by imagination, initiative, and readiness to undertake new projects”; “an enterprising young man likely to go far” resonates.

And doesn’t it resonate with all creative types? IMG_0975

That’s anybody who embarks upon the road of boldly going, and then exposing their art to the World for the praise, patronization and perhaps rejection.  Isn’t being truly creative in business just another form of art or creative expression? Was Steve Jobs an Artist?  In Joshua Ruthman’s New Yorker article he wrote Steve Jobs likened himself and his employees to artists; he deployed his mercurial personality in the ruthless way that artists sometimes do. He cared about his products the way that artists care about their art. Perhaps Seth Godin got it right in his seminal book Linchpin arguing, “Art is the ability to change people with your work, to see things as they are and then create stories, images, and interactions that change the marketplace.”

So what does this mean in the wake of the post-2008-recessionary-stagnant-recovery-times where so many jobs, those of highly skilled workers have been downsized, taken as efficiency, forever eliminated? A time when spending 10’s or a 100’s of thousands of dollars at an institution to pursue a career in music, could at best amount to working the customer service desk at a music technology company. The prospects of ever realizing home ownership: bleak. This could also be said of a Classics Literature major of course…

So what’s the prescription for musician as entrepreneur or that of enterprising individual that travels replete with musically creative proclivities? Stereotypically, the artistic temperament manifested by most musicians is not anything like the skill set manifest in a person interested in business or other similar careers.  Then again, I will argue the enterprising musician of these times, needs the fire in the belly, the tenacity of purpose, the emboldened entrepreneurial spirit along with an appetite for the broad view of the World and business acumen. Of course, a healthy dose of pragmatism is warranted if not sitting on a trust fund. I have heard that making decisions as an entrepreneur and that of an artist emanate from the same creative right-brained place.

BLUEIn her Musings of A Musical Educator Blog, Dr. Maggie Rizzi puts forward an evocative treatise “The End of the Romantic Era, the time of the Neo-Renaissance Human” where the interconnectedness of my music/technology/entrepreneurial vocation is cited as example. In summary she presents, “now here we are in the 21st century, carrying with us some paradigms from the Romantic era that are not particularly helpful to us, or reflective of the multiple types of intelligences and interests that people have, not to mention the skill set needed to find success in the 21st century work environment. It is time that we cultivate a Neo-Renaissance approach to life and work that honors the capacity of all people to be more than one thing.” 

And, “if you are an artist, don’t allow yourself to accept limits. Listen to the many things that may call you, or be necessary for your higher level of survival in this world. Don’t assume that you can’t manage your money or understand the trends of the economy, or that these skills will somehow damage your ability to create art.”

For my part, I embody the blurred lines of a modern career at the intersection of art, music, technology, and business: my experience a living, evolving organism for the times in which we live. Then again, one might just say I have comfortably landed in the Generation Flux cohort.


Thoughts to Live by…

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IMG_2422 IMG_2430
Success is doing the right thing and not  everything right.

When life happens: be the author of your life or victim of it.

Action determines outcomes, and outcomes inform actions.

Living an uncommon life leaves no choice but to seek an uncommon approach to living it.

The quality of your impact often matters much more than the quantity of your activities.IMG_2418

Don’t waste time for others to get it, invest time getting other people.

Leverage is about maximizing results, success is about the uncommon application of common knowledge.

Good Luck is another name for tenacity of purpose. 

IMG_0885Do something unexpected and bring remarkable.


About Organization

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IMG_0975What I have noticed is the lack of writing on the subject of organization for creative types. Perhaps, this goes with the common belief that creative people stereotypically, Right-brainers, lack the organizational chops that are domain of Left-brain Accountants and Manufacturing MBAs. The original studies that put forth the theories on cortile hemispheric dominance are decades old. And much scientific study since the days of Nobel laureate Roger Sperry’s initial discoveries has shed light on the fact that left and right brain sensibilities can coexist in anybody. Sure, we all may have our leanings, but it’s not to say a musician by virtue of innate musical ability is deficient in the organization and logic department.

Here are a few books that provide different paths and insights to organization. Not just for you creative types, for anybody.

First off is Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky.  Although you may hear echoes of David Allen’s Getting Things Done in Belsky’s writing, Belsky does put allot of pithy anecdotes on the table gleaned from his interviews with creatives and creative teams. Things like “The way you organize projects, prioritize and manage your energy is arguably more than the quality of the ideas you wish to pursue,” and “The truth is, creativity isn’t about wild talent as much as it’s about productivity. To find a few ideas that work, you need to try a lot that don’t. It’s a pure numbers game.”

Besides the business focus at a glance some of these titles might conjure, all these books provide suggestions and insight on organization. After all, managing and marketing a music project takes the same organizational disciple as bringing any widget to market. Then again, you might argue it takes more!

Yes! There are many classics not represented here. These are just a few chosen from my bookshelf.

Making Ideas Happen, Scott Belsky

Getting Things Done,  David Allen

Manage Your Day to Day  99U, Edited by Jocelyn Glei

The Power of Focus, Jack Canfield

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,  Stephen Covey

The Eighth Habit,  Steven Covey

The New Leaders 100 Day Action Plan, George Brandt

You’re In Charge-Now What,   Peter Citrin

The Effective Executive,  Peter Drucker

MBA In A Book, Leslie Pochell

HBR Guide to Project Management,  HBR Press


Spin on Pareto’s 80/20 and you.

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Screen shot 2014-08-30 at 11.11.47 PMA century ago, Italian economist Vifredo Pareto put forth his observations on market economics.  He concluded that no matter what country, the richest percentage of the population controlled most of the wealth.  

In Italy at that time 20% of the population owned 80% of the land. This paradigm know as the 80/20 Rule or Principle is often explained in business texts as focus on your top 20 percent of customers will yield 80 percent of the business’ profits or 80% of the results in an organization come from 20% of the people.

For an inverse take on the equation, executive search consultants, James Citrin and Richard Smith shed light on the 20/80 Principle For Performance and apply it to career management in their book,The Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers, The Guide for Achieving Success and SatisfactionScreen shot 2014-08-30 at 11.15.33 PM

The 20/80 Principle For Performance is one of the five patterns that forms the authors’ thesis on what makes an extraordinary career.  The 20/80 Rule in this context is about differentiating your performance, blowing past set job parameters and by creating and delivering unexpected impact to your organization.  Looking at it another way, 80% of your time on the job is about doing excellent work in that position. That encompasses 100%+ of meeting job expectations. It’s the 20% that you focus on above what is expected and, getting the right people to notice, that leads to advancement.  With everything in life, “the quality of your impact often matters much more than the quantity of your activities.”

The five patterns to be harnessed and used by anyone:

  • Understand the value of you
  • Practice benevolent leadership
  • Solve the permission paradox
  • Differentiate using the 20/80 principle of performance
  • Find the Right Fit (in strengths, passion, people)

As Hugh MacLeod of Gapingvoid.com says, “Bring new light to what life might be: that’s what creativity means.”    

Some believe the reason you exist in the first place is to bring some new light  —new angle to the human condition.   Beyond making the world a better place for family and friends, and since we spend so much life immersed in work, why not bring it there and make an impact?

Screen shot 2014-08-30 at 11.15.02 PMAlthough The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers was written a decade ago, there is still much insight enclosed for these Gen Flux times.  In closing, while on the subject of YOU and career navigation, here are few additional reads to check out:


Reinventing You  Dorie Clark

You, Inc.   Harry Beckwith

REWORK   Jason Fried

Maximize Your Potential  99U

Different: Escaping The Competitive Herd  Youngme Moon

the startup of you  Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

Masters of Success: Proven Techniques for Achieving Success in Business and Life   Ivan Misner and Don Morgan

Screen shot 2014-08-18 at 2.50.10 PM Evil Plans, Having Fun on the Road to World Domination  Hugh MacLeod

Linchpin  Seth Godin

Audistry Cover


Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Catalog
Screen shot 2013-03-18 at 8.30.07 AMAUDISTRY was conceived and constructed combining  Shawn Clement’s deep Other-Worldly cinematic orchestral music and signature guitar sound, with the genre-mashing production aesthetic of music producer Audnoyz (Steve Thomas). German music technology journalist, Joerg Sunderkoetter was first to frame the Audnoyz aesthetic ‘Kopf Kino’ (mind cinema) an aural sojourn for the inner eye. Like experiencing synesthesia, seeing the music, imbued by its multi-referential stylistic cinematic properties.
The twelve tracks that comprise AUDISTRY vary in breadth and depth, speaking to the collaborators cerebral sonic creativity and unique artistic vision.   Menacingly dense, this work envelops you in an aural journey, replete with unexpected genre juxtapositions, cinematic soundscapes, stirring orchestra, sublime vocals, and biting guitars. Often in a cacophony of sound, something familiar emerges only to segue to a well-placed Zappa moment of discord. Sometimes frenetically bombastic, sometimes contemplative, this music is always cinematic, evocative and exciting.
Taking several months, the bi-coastal collaboration occurred North of Los Angeles and in suburban Boston, its slicing, dicing, mixing and mangling reaching completion the last of December 2012.


Audistry- The power and dazzle of the New Fusions

The tools available today make composers, dj’s, record producers, and instrumentalists of pretty much everyone.  The high school student has access to the sequencing, mixing and mastering products professionals paid dearly for just 10 years ago.  IMAG1443-2They have the advantage of beats and prerecorded parts made by experts.  This proletarianizing of sophisticated technology has resulted in an unprecedented ability for the average personto make surprisingly good quality tracks.  But what happens when all that gear ends up in the hands of a truly skilled and talented, trained and experienced musical technician?  The answer is in Audistry.  All the stuff we all have, and then add the hands, ears and mind of real masters.  The material in this album is a sensuous treat, made with the combined expansive palettes of Clemistry and Audnoyz.  The pieces are evocative and programmatic, conjuring visual images as powerful as the sounds.  Not that the work is a Tone Poem in the way of the later Romantic period, when some composers chose to use music to mimic the sounds of other things and thus draw pictures of specific items or events.  There is much more latitude for the listener to conjure and create his or her own images, vivid, like a dream in color, but highly individual.  This quality provides potential applications of this music to film scoring, exhibit enhancement, choreographing ballet, or just plain sonic imbibing.

There are 12 tracks here.  They can be experienced as individual pieces or can be seen as movements in a larger more symphonic work.  steveshawneuroThis is not a symphony in the technical sense where 4 movements of an expected length and style are sequenced, and each follows a classical form.  Rather there are multiple frescos that emerge from a single wall, a dozen meditations on different ideas, but all somehow linked.

The first two tracks are edgy and hard, one featuring a jagged piano riff, the other a metal guitar power chord motive.  The underpinning is rhythmic and driving, but with much more nuance and constant subtle permutations than could be made with a straight up repetitive drum track.  These first tracks stir the urge to dance, but in the way of Stravinsky’s Firebird, with 20th Century Classical orchestrations and punching insistent rhythms, rather than a Pop style 4/4.

The third track, WTF, is both movie music, and modern classical orchestration.  Just when you think you might have the album pigeon holed, the next piece sequences effortlessly into a progressive rock tone reminiscent of the great rock show bands like Dream Theater, or Yes.  fuzzy arp kolnBut this is no tribute piece.  The sections of the piece could not have been conceived before the breakthroughs that make synthesis of European post modern art music and industrial rock acceptable.

Sometimes you think Bollywood dance styles are about to take over, then the tonescapes and sound paintings of the post Phillip Glass sound world emerge seamlessly from underneath, and you have to change your mind, your perspective.  The 4th track, or movement, as I have come to think of the organizational structure, Aud vocalese demonstrates a type of musical CAD, using a slight shift to take a human voice and transform it from waves reminiscent of a lone wolf to a lonely woman.  How little manipulation it takes to morph one into the other.  How much more alike are these than we might think?

Like all symphonic works, there are places of rest and slower movements.  Ray’s Dream provides us with that sensibility in this set of pieces.  The orchestrations carry over from the more vigorous Stravinskyesque movements, but the tempo drops a bit, and there is more space.

Fine production adds a tactile element to the work that makes the experience truly visceral.  You feel, as well as see and hear.  It is not physically possible for music to be multisensory in the most literal sense, but this music makes it seem almost possible.

A democratizing revolution has taken place as elite technology has reached the hands of everyone.  The musical material of the centuries and the many cultures of the world come in the same box to be part of the artist’s musical palette as never before.  The choices of material are limitless.  Beethoven, with all his godlike ideas, could only conceive of them through a small set of instruments.  In the same way that teachers are no longer limited by textbooks, but can use all material in the world in their classrooms, so the world comes into the composer’s studio.  It is no longer necessary to write with a handful of Audistry_Mock_MUGSHOT (1)instruments and styles in mind.  Now they are all here at once.  This is a mindblowing change without precedent since the printing press.  This album demonstrates that revolution in thinking about musical composition.  There are no limits to the genres, the rhythms, the instrumentation that can now be combined in the hands of the right musicians.  Audistry brings the talent and skills of two extraordinary musical minds to the tools of the masses, that’s why this recording is the new paradigm.

-Dr. Riz  (April 2012)


Audnoyz Project Vol 3

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On The


Genre mashing music producer Audnoyz releases third album, Audnoyz Project Vol 3 on the Atwood Media label.

This latest work on the Audnoyz creative continuum envelops you in an aural journey, filled with unexpected genre juxtapositions, cerebral electronica, tormented 16th century Baroque motifs, stirring orchestral elements, pulsating techno / eurodance beats, contemplative piano-jazz and sublime vocals from the heavens.

Often in a cacophony of sound, something familiar emerges, only to segue to a well-placed hook or dissolve into a moment of Cirque du Soleil excitement. The 10 tracks that comprise Audnoyz Project Vol 3 are sometimes bombastic, at times contemplative, yet always cinematic, evocative and exciting.

Track highlights include: The Epic Tale using an operatic style of vocalization for its emotive quality, bypassing words. The limitations drawn by languages, and the understanding of a particular language are neatly side stepped.  The power comes across, without the barrier, and clothed in the technique and sound palette of our contemporary world. The entire piece is a grand gesture. 

Random Intersection, deftly paints a contemplative sound scape featuring uber-processed tenor saxophone, sounding like a guitar solo reminiscent of Jeff Beck, but with no pretenses of imitation.  A clear voice articulates a short statement of wisdom, over the heartbeat of peaceful world.  In a different approach to the world’s great composers and previous styles, Bach’s Prelude #6 is treated to a jazz arrangement and then recomposed using Euro DJ techniques with a level of sophistication that while unique, is utterly accessible to any listener in Get Off my Bach

Paris channels some of the same techniques, Euro techno, impressionistic beckoning connected beautifully with jazz style saxophone improvisation, so appropriate, given that the French have always loved Jazz, perhaps more than the Americans whose culture gave rise to it.  M Vision is a haunting reverie that is both a validation and a cautionary tale, depending on who you are and where you are in your life’s journey.

Like the Audnoyz Project releases before it, one does not listen to Audnoyz Project Vol 3 so much as experience it.  This music envelops you in a viscerally spectacular, rich, rhythm driven, and multi-referential-stylistic mind/body experience.

Audnoyz Project Vol 3 is available digitally from leading electronic distribution retailers and sources including: CD Baby, iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Google Play, Amazon MP3, iHeartRadio, Rhapsody and eMusic, as well as in Compact Disc from Amazon.com

Other albums on the Audnoyz creative continuum include: Audnoyz Project Vol 1 (sometimes found as the Audnoyz Collection, 2007), Audnoyz Project Vol 2 (2011), and the Audistry collaboration with film composer Shawn K Clement, (2013).

Audnoyz is the genre mashing music producer guise of composer/guitarist/music industry technology veteran Steve Thomas. The audnoyz production aesthetic has developed over the course of the last decade. It was a European music technology journalist to first frame Audnoyz music as ‘Kopf Kino’ (mind cinema) an aural sojourn for the inner eye; like experiencing synesthesia, seeing the music, imbued by amazing multi-referential stylistic cinematic properties. For more insight on the genesis of the Audnoyz music aesthetic please visit http://www.audnoyz.com/aud-insight.html


Anatomy of a Track

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Audistry CoverAudistry is the 2012 full-length album release fusing  film/TV composer Shawn K Clement’s deep Other-Worldly cinematic orchestral music and signature guitar sound, with my Audnoyz genre-mashing production aesthetic.

Audistry epitomizes how collaborative work is happening these days out of home studios.  In this case a bicoastal collaboration with tracks bouncing back and forth between IMG_2718Clemistry Ranch, North of Los Angeles and a personal studio outside of Boston, where the final slicing, dicing, mixing, and mangling was done December 2012.

WTF like many of the tracks on the Album is an assemblage of material from past projects taken out of their original contexts IMG_0648blended with new material, united in a form that tells a story.

WTF started with Shawn digging up a dense orchestral cue that I then stripped down to just the tuba and contra bassoon pairing, added a trombone, and then laid that on top of a drum track played by Frank Basile of LiveStudioDrums. Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 10.09.25 PMThe thing is Shawn’s original orchestral stems were in multiple time signatures so I basically sliced, diced, and aligned the voicing on top of Frank’s solid 4/4 beat. Franks simple set up for recording the drums kick: Audix D4, snare: SM57, toms: Sennheiser e603s, hats: Audio Technica ATM11R, overheads: paired Audio Technica 4033s into a PreSonus StudioLive 24 board front end to Sonar.

My goto plug-ins on WTF for achieving that analog-tape sound is the UAD-2 Studer 800 that not only provides “that sound of tape” but also Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 10.12.19 PMprovides a great EQ tool. Depending on what I am going for I’ll tweak the HF setting in the Studer rather than mess with the channel EQ, always netting a pleasant outcome. And, the Empirical Labs Fatso Jr. emulation that’s just awesome for sculpting harmonic content. The more you hit it with input level the more second and third-order harmonics are added to the signal. It’s just great Capture 2for fattening up and spreading out. Both of these plugs were used on the drums, harmonica, and are the secret to getting the phat bass with no bass guitar or synth in use on the main theme section. Next I put together the transitional elements from another of Shawn’s orchestral cues, along with a track from my catalog and the basic arrangement took shape.

The arrangement was then packed up and sent to Canyon Country via the Clemistry FTP. Shawn then got to tracking the heavy guitars at Clemistry with the help of his long-time assistant, engineer James Speight. IMAG1443-2With the multiple mike parings and different guitar takes we ended up with 50+ guitar tracks to work with for the Mix.  Guitars used in the tracking were a 1952 Les Paul Gold Top, custom made Stephens, Yamaha Pacifica 604, and a1960 Dan Electro, all into a Marshal Plexi 100. An assortment of pedals were used, including Pigtronix IMG_0143(the mothership, tremvelope, philosopher king), as well as distortion boxes from Coffin Cases Custom made Yamaha Pacifica, w Fishman Power bridge, stereo outs, custom made pick ups by Seymour Duncanand Vicious Monkey. The Marshall cab was mic’d using a Roland binaural head placed 5’ behind the cab, one SM57 placed in front 6 inches from the cone another SM57 in back of the cab, and Blue Dragon Fly in front positioned 4’ feet back and high. Guitar Viol2Also used was an AKG 414 on a Portuguese guitar placed in front of the cab to pick up just resonance, Shawn likes to play loud! All straight into the Yamaha 02Rs, of which Clemistry has three.  Also, Kellie Rucker’s kik-ass Harmonica was IMG_2733recorded on this session using a hand held bullet mic straight into a 66’ Fender Champ with Kellie getting the feedback effect by putting her face right into the amp.

The track then came back to New England for layers of Audness, ethereal textures from Omnisphere, and Native Instruments Massive and Absynth; lots of guitar comp editing, tweaking and mixed by both of us in the same room.   We stacked up 25 busses with a Studer 800 strapped on all but a few. IMG_0460The very fine SSL Bus emulation in Sonar’s Pro Channel, Stillwell Bombardier, Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 10.28.15 PMand UAD-2: LA2A, LA3A, Fatso Jr, and Precision Limiter keeping things in place. Five busses for FX that included Perfect Space convolution reverb, Sonitus FX Delay, Softtube, passive and focusing EQs; UAD-2 EMT Plate 140 and Lexicon 224 digital reverbs which are great for depth and the Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 10.13.38 PMCSIScreen shot 2014-06-27 at 10.15.23 PM multi fx processor, that I fell in love with years back as it came standard on the original UAD-1 cards. With all the horse power we had on the 32GBRAM/8 Core/ i7 screamer audio system running verbs on a gazillion tracks is not an issue. However, I find tracks sharing reflections of the same reverb brings things more together. The fact is many a classic gold record has been made with just a couple of plate or spring reverbs.

Screen shot 2013-03-18 at 8.30.07 AM

At the end of the day, WTF like all the Audistry tracks happened organically. We had no creative direction by an outside production, no deadlines; it was just us having fun. The most exciting part is seeing how un-related music can be linked together, and evolves beyond itself.  Also, how with the right tools you can create a performance-like track via a composite process in home studios that sounds good.  In a future article I’ll cover the final mastering of Audistry.

About Influence

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Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 3.18.57 PMRecently I was re-reading a May 2013 Harvard Business Review Article titled What Would Ashton Do—and Does It Matter?  by Sinan Aral.  The article questions the place of influencers in creating brand awareness. Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 3.20.07 PMThe article states that although a celebrity may have a huge social media following, he/she may not be as influential when it comes to motivating followers to make decisions. I also was taking in Forbes Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 3.21.25 PMMagazine contributor Mark Fidelman’s critique: Why this Harvard Business Review Article on Influence is Seriously Flawed.

Regardless of whose story you want to agree with more, one thing for sure is too often, Marketers over-exaggerate the early adopters (who are often alike) role on influence.

This got me thinking about sharing a few of my favorite books on the  topic of influence. So here they are:

Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 3.49.37 PM

Hook, Spin, Buzz: How to Command Attention, Change Minds & Influence People by Garrett Soden

Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 3.44.17 PMInfluence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini


Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 3.47.02 PMAge of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion by Anthony Pratkanis

Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 4.11.57 PMThe Power to Persuade by Richard Haass


Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 4.17.01 PMPredictably Irrational by Dan Ariel



Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 4.18.30 PMToxic Sludge is Good for You: lies, damn lies and the public relations industry and Trust Us We’re Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 4.20.34 PMExperts by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton



Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 4.28.10 PMSPIN by Michael Sitrick



Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 5.07.15 PMBlink by Malcom Gladwell

May the force be with you…