TEC Award Nomination for Outstanding Creative Achievement

“Manifold must be one of the finest music-dedicated studios built in the world in the last decade. ” — Alex Oana, Manifold Recording: Inside the Miraverse

Manifold Recording is honored to have been nominated for a TEC Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in the Studio Design Project category.  We congratulate and thank Wes Lachot Design, and especially Wes Lachot, who succeeded brilliantly in helping to realize this ambitious project.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, and then the 10,000 pictures I have taken of this project during its four years of construction suggest just how much could be said about what he conceived, drew, detailed, and then argued for in its implementation.  But there is much more to this creative achievement than meets the eye, or the ear for that matter.

“we wanted to reboot the music industry by reinventing the role of the recording studio”

When I first sat down with Wes, he asked the question that every studio designer must ask: what do you want to do?  I told him that we wanted to reboot the music industry by reinventing the role of the recording studio.  We agreed that we would need to honor the laws of physics (especially acoustics), but in all other ways we would seek to be the change we wanted to see in the world.  We would be a model for acoustic and technological excellence, but we would also be a model of transparency and collaboration.  We would be an ideal environment for musical performance, but we would also be a model for entrepreneurial innovation and economic sustainability.  We would honor the great teachings of organic architecture and sacred geometry by becoming the best example of those teachings we could be.  All of this was discussed before Wes put pencil to paper and began drawing the lines that ultimately became footings, walls, structures, buildings, and operating commercial facilities.  In accepting this commission, Wes accepted the whole of the project, and he delivered brilliantly, even when certain aspects seemed to be in irreconcilable conflict.  Such is the nature of an outstanding creative achievement.

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The importance of art education

Last week the church I attend highlighted The Arena Culture, an editorial by David Brooks which considers a new book All Things Shining.  David Brooks writes:

For the past hundred years or so, we have lived in a secular age. That does not mean that people aren’t religious. It means there is no shared set of values we all absorb as preconscious assumptions. In our world, individuals have to find or create their own meaning.

This, Dreyfus and Kelly argue, has led to a pervasive sadness. Individuals are usually not capable of creating their own lives from the ground up. So modern life is marked by frequent feelings of indecision and anxiety. People often lack the foundations upon which to make the most important choices.

Brooks puts his finger on a very important subject—the relationships between truth, meaning, and reality—but when he wields his rhetorical hammer, it is his logical fingers, rather than the target, he manages to strike.  As a parent, as a church-goer, and as a board member of a Montessori school, I have been on my own little journey of self-discovery, and I have had a chance to re-evaluate many of the truths I thought I had settled the first time I made my way to self and adulthood. Continue reading “The importance of art education”

A spiritual beginning to 2011

I think we all look for auspicious signs around the time of the New Year–signs of good fortune to come, signs of disasters to avoid, signs of hope. Indeed, there are many rituals from many cultures intended to tilt the cosmic game in one’s own favor.  For the start of 2011, I did nothing more profound nor bizarre than to turn my radio dial to 91.5 WUNC as I drove down to Pittsboro to check on the latest progress of my construction project.  Suddenly I found myself listening in on a conversation with John McLaughlin about spirituality in music.  Having seen John and his band play in Raleigh just a few months ago at the Lincoln Theater, hearing him talk about A Love Supreme was like music to my ears.  And I’m still jazzing strong about his latest release, To The One, which was nominated for a Grammy award last year, and which totally deserves to win it this year. Continue reading “A spiritual beginning to 2011”

Week 142 (Music Room Cloud)

At long last the acoustic cloud in the Music Room has been completed!  With 60 panels totaling very nearly 900 sq ft (nearly 1800 sq ft of active acoustic performance since both sides are used), it is a thing of beauty to behold:

But if you look more deeply, many more layers of beauty await…

Continue reading “Week 142 (Music Room Cloud)”

Glee? Not for me…

Last month after the buzz reached a fever pitch, I finally sat down to watch an episode of Glee.  I have not watched it since, but I have been thinking about why not.  I came across this blog posting, which begins:

The fictional high school chorus at the center of Fox’s Glee has a huge problem — nearly a million dollars in potential legal liability. For a show that regularly tackles thorny issues like teen pregnancy and alcohol abuse, it’s surprising that a million dollars worth of lawbreaking would go unmentioned. But it does, and week after week, those zany Glee kids rack up the potential to pay higher and higher fines.

Indeed.

I’ve watched enough television to know that sometimes a deliberate distortion of reality is part of a show’s appeal.  The Office clearly (and hilariously) offends virtually every HR law on the books, but we’re in on the joke no matter how straight the actors play it.  In its day, Ally McBeal did the same thing with courtroom antics.  On the opposite side of humor, the TV drama 24 created a “hero” who could always be relied upon to use torture as an excuse to continue to protect a regime that condoned such illegal and reprehensible actions.  I never watched 24, but from all the advertising and imagery that surrounded that show, it was pretty clear they knew and the audience knew that the show was stepping over all sorts of legal, ethical, and moral lines, and that was quintessential to the drama.  Glee appears to be entirely tone-deaf when it comes to the subject of copyright:

In one recent episode, the AV Club helps cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester film a near-exact copy of Madonna’s Vogue music video (the real-life fine for copying Madonna’s original? up to $150,000). Just a few episodes later, a video of Sue dancing to Olivia Newton-John’s 1981 hit Physical is posted online (damages for recording the entirety of Physical on Sue’s camcorder: up to $300,000). And let’s not forget the glee club’s many mash-ups — songs created by mixing together two other musical pieces. Each mash-up is a “preparation of a derivative work” of the original two songs’ compositions – an action for which there is no compulsory license available, meaning (in plain English) that if the Glee kids were a real group of teenagers, they could not feasibly ask for — or hope to get — the copyright permissions they would need to make their songs, and their actions, legal under copyright law. Punishment for making each mash-up? Up to another $150,000 — times two.

[…]

It’s hard to imagine glee club coach Will Schuester giving his students a tough speech on how they can’t do mash-ups anymore because of copyright law (but if he did, it might make people rethink the law). Instead, copyright violations are rewarded in Glee — after Sue’s Physical video goes viral, Olivia Newton-John contacts Sue so they can film a new, improved video together.

If Glee decides to bring copyright into its storyline, and treat it as intelligently and as sensitively as it attempts to treat other social issues, then perhaps I’ll watch.  Until then, no Glee for me.