We are proud and fortunate to have created the inspiring space that is Manifold Recording. But we always envisioned achieving something more than what we can do for artists, engineers, and producers. We believe that there is a larger public sphere that is curious, excited, and even ravenous for new ideas, new experiences, new musical performances and productions. We wanted to also create a space in which a newly-engaged public could bring new energy, new interests, and new resources to create a healthier, more vibrant, more sustainable future for music and musicians.
One thing I have learned as a former Trustee of a model Montessori school is the importance of the prepared environment. Characteristics of the prepared environment include: beauty, order, reality, simplicity and accessibility. It may have required the genius of Maria Montessori to explain why these are crucial to child development (compared with, say, efficiency, authority, policy, technology, and convenience), but as adults, it is obvious to most of us that such environments are conducive to our own development, too! Like fertile ground ready to bring forth an abundant harvest of whatever may be planted, prepared environments known as Salons helped bring about The Enlightenment by injecting academic discussion and debate into a newly formed public sphere (that was also a by-product of the Salon experience). Adam Smith and Benjamin Franklin presented and refined their ideas at salons, “inventing” large parts of modern capitalism and modern democracy in the process.
But commerce and politics were not the exclusive subjects of salons–they were but two of myriad subjects that excited those who participated. Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt were proof of that. Chopin, in fact, preferred the environment of the salon to public performances. Continue reading “The Miraverse: A Salon for the 21st Century”
Alex Machacek and Gary Husband spent several days with us recording a new album for their label, AbstractLogix. Gary has just finished touring the East Coast with John McLaughlin, and Alex flew in from Los Angeles. Both had been writing, practicing, and sharing notes about the music they would be recording, but this was the first time they had a chance to play it together. It was exciting to witness the music literally being realized through the process of recording!
Our recording setup anticipated Alex playing both electric and acoustic guitar. In the photo you see him practicing with Gary, so the amp is not isolated, and neither is Alex. For the recording, Alex played through a Carr Rambler amplifier isolated in Booth B, but he’s practicing with Gary through a Carr Mercury amplifier. He really enjoyed playing through both. During the recording session, Alex moved into the hexagonal room we made from gobos. When he was getting set up, I asked him “what’s your favorite color?” and when he told me “something warm, maybe orange”, I illuminated it with a really orange light. He liked the effect, and that’s how we kept it during the remainder of the session. (See below for some color out-takes.)
For the acoustic guitar, Alex auditioned two of our studio guitars: a Breedlove and an Alvarez Yari. Alex picked the Yari because its tone and action fit were a perfect fit for the tone he envisioned and for the way he plays.
Gary played our Yamaha CF-9. We set up three pairs of microphones to capture several perspectives of the piano’s sound. Over the hammers we had a pair of Schoeps CMC6 mics. Over the harp we had our DPA 3521 compact cardiod pair. Slightly higher and slightly farther away we had a pair of Coles 4038 ribbon microphones which you can see on the large boom stand. Ian then set about to get the piano to play Gary’s favorite colors, which tended to be a bit darker than our piano plays naturally. However, after some back-and-forth, we found that we could get the desired color with a touch of EQ. With that, we were ready to record.