Friday, July 22, 2011

Wax Cylinder Recording Session!

Check out our new Edison Wax Cylinder Recordings EP, recorded at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park on a 1908 Edison Phonograph using brown wax cylinders, the preferred recording medium of the 1890s!

We wrote all new songs for the session, with special arrangements squeezing them into the roughly 2:15 maximum time allowed on each cylinder. We were thrilled to have a few guest musicians on the session with us: Jeff Hudgins on clarinet and alto sax, and Brian Adler on drums.

Here's video from our friend Mac, the ancient recording technology guru who hooked us up with this incredible opportunity, and who is also the man behind WFMU's Antique Phonograph Music Program. The video shows a take plagued by a technical malfunction in the recording machine, which caused the cylinder to slow down. When played back on a different machine that was working properly, the audio plays at an increased speed and pitch. Luckily Jerry Fabris, the Museum Curator, knew how to handle it and all the other takes were glitch-free!

We were told the only source of new wax cylinders is a single English guy working out of his garage, so they're kind of rare and expensive. Therefore, the park keeps the cylinders, shaving them down to reuse for future recording sessions. However, the aforementioned Mr. Fabris bridged the centuries and created digital files using a fancy electric motor-driven phonograph that could plug directly into an analog to digital converter and then the computer. Yes, the product of early 20th century recording technology is being distributed by early 21st century media technology. We're selling each individual track for 35 cents, the going price for a cylinder in 1908, as set by Thomas Edison. We'll cut you a deal though, and you can have all four tracks for 99 cents. Other than a quick little fade at the beginning and end of each tune, and one minor edit to one tune, no processing was done to the files – no EQ, no compression, nuthin'! Pure, waxy, crackly mono sound!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Horns for Voltaire!!

We'll be heading back to the studio tonight to record more horns for our friend Voltaire. He's working on his next Goth masterpiece called "Riding a Black Unicorn Down the Side of an Erupting Volcano While Drinking from a Chalice Filled with the Laughter of Small Children," or "RABUDTSOAEVWDFACFWTLOSM" if you're into that whole incomprehensible acronym thing.

It's a true gothstravaganza with drums from Brian Viglione of the Dresden Dolls, cello from Melora Creager of Rasputina, and bass from David J of Bauhaus. It's also got a generous slathering of accordion from Franz Nicolay. Where'd I put that eyeliner?

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