Last month at the Ars Electronica 2008 conference and festival, I had a chance to discuss with a number of very smart folks both my physical studio project, Manifold Recording, and my approach to creating a new recording environment/context, the Miraverse. In the course of those discussions, a number of people mentioned Jazzin the Black Forest, a Book/DVD combination that documents the amazing history of the German MPS label.
The letters MPS stand for “Most Perfect Sound”, and as John Kelman writes…
Daniel Lanois is pursuing a new business model with Red Floor Records. I will be checking out the music of his first release, the soundtrack to the movie “Here is What Is”, but I have to confess, based on the description, I really want to see the movie (or the DVD)! From the site:
For those of you who might not know, the film is a camera following me around over the course of a year, in and out of recording studios documenting once and for all the way it really happens. We start in Toronto and end in Morocco.
First, there is the premise, which Herbie lays on the line straightaway: that to grow as a musician, he must walk outside the lines of his comfort zone, meeting other artists halfway or more than halfway. In the first few segments, he explains this idea of sharing, give-and-take, and you can see the chosen artists saying “yes” but acting as if “OH MY GOD! IT’S HERBIE HANCOCK!! WHAT DO I DO?!?!?” It takes Herbie a few times to really get the message “just be yourself” through through to them.
The DVD of my dreams has just been released by Abstract Logix, and I’ve already started buying it by the dozen: John McLaughlin’s Meeting of the Minds, the making of Floating Point. It is my hope that when Manifold Recording opens and The Miraverse comes into existence that we will be hosting musicians and archiving such creativity and experiences as the Meeting of the Minds DVD captured.
I’m a big fan of John McLaughlin’s music and musicality. When he came to Durham last year, I was lucky enough to procure 4 tickets to his Fourth Dimension concert so close to the stage I could touch it. At that time we had already received zoning approval for the studio complex, but we had not yet received a building permit. I went to that concert at the Carolina Theater of Durham both as a fan and as a prospective producer. How would his live concert measure up to what I believe could be an even better experience–an opportunity to see and participate in the creative process with a musical genius like John?
Amy sent me a link to this latest ABBA shrine, a 70,000 sq ft museum, stage and recording studio ready to inform and entertain ABBA’s greatest fans. Not that the band didn’t do a great job releasing the definitive concert/tour DVD in 2004. Platinum-level tickets cost only €190 (and given the ABBA style, I cannot imagine settling for less). I look forward to seeing what it costs to step into the recording studio and cut one’s own track with the most fabulous four, and I am delighted that ABBA are willing to open their music up this this form of enjoyment. Mamma Mia!
And yes, I hope that those who want to see ABBA in this context will also want to see other favorite musicians making music and having fun in other studio contexts.
Earlier this year I attended SPARKCON 2007, a conference set to “ignite the creative hub of the South.” I joined two days of “ideaSPARK” sessions, including one that covered my favorite topic—combining open source and music. I made many great connections and gained more than a few truly profound insights about how to make my studio plans better.
One of the folks I met there was Frank Konhaus, and he introduced me to the movie that gives this blog its title: Tom Dowd & The Language of Music. I immedately ordered it from Amazon.com and then promptly left for a 15-day trip to Asia, but the DVD was on my doorstep—and dry because of the drought—when I returned.
After watching the video, I can only imagine that everybody wants somebody like Tom Dowd in their studio, using their technical knowledge, musical knowledge, profound humility and wonderful optimism helping to make the best possible records. I certainly do! But more importantly, I believe that the environment we are trying to create will nurture new Tom Dowds, not box them in or shut them down.
I heartily recommend to any and all that this video demonstrates the viability of collaboration between artist, engineer, and producer. And I will start to build a library of quotes from that video that talk to the specifics of the successes Tom helped achieve for his artists, his label, and all of us, the music-loving community.