A Successful Event

Last week we hosted a benefit recital for two fellows of the A. J. Fletcher Opera Institute, Jaclyn Surso and Megan Cleaveland.  These two talented sopranos needed to raise money to offset costs to travel to Italy for the summer to study and perform under renowned soprano Renata Scotto, and we saw a perfect opportunity to help.

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Success Stories

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I have been talking for some time about the virtues of kickstarter funding for music recording projects.  The indie album Move by Matt Phillips and the Philharmonic could not have been made without kickstarter funding.  But the more I learn about the world of music kickstarters, the more I see there is to learn.

The Set Chopin Free project reached its $75,000 goal scarcely two weeks into its seven week funding schedule.  It is already more than $5,000 above its funding goal, and could well surpass $100,000 by the time its funding window closes.  And the Open Well-Tempered Clavier project (launched by Robert Douglass) has already reached 50% of its $30,000 fundraising goal from more than 450 supporters in its first 5 days!  That kind of strong start virtually guarantees funding success, and leaves us only to wonder whether it will achieve 160% (like Open Goldberg Variations), 200% (like Fractal Journeys and the Twelve Tones of Bach), 350% (like the Well-Tempered Clavier Tour), 600% (like Musopen’s Set Music Free) or more than 1100% (like Amanda Palmer did in her amazing 2012 record).  The possibilities are quite wide open.  But real questions remain: how did this happen?  what does it mean?

A press release today invites the press itself to consider some more pointed questions:

If both Open Goldberg and Musopen succeed with their Kickstarter campaigns, collectively raising over $100,000 for new recordings of standard repertoire, it is probably worth asking “Who is holding classical music in shackles?” and “Why do so many people feel it is so important to set Bach and Chopin free?” Continue reading “Success Stories”

Trying new things

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Gary Husband rehearsing at Manifold Recording

This week we have been given a gift.  Two of the most talented members of the Jazz fusion community are making a record at Manifold Recording.  And they are trying something new: the co-production model of The Miraverse.  If you are within 40 miles of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, or Pittsboro, you might want to consider becoming a co-producer on Friday, or at least having dinner with these artists and hearing what Alex Machacek and Gary Husband have been creating.

A lot has changed in the recording industry since John McLaughlin started recording with Miles Davis, but a few things have stayed the same: the laws of physics that govern acoustics have not changed, and the challenge of making a great record–from the technical practice to the acoustics to the critical decisions during tracking and mixing–remain challenges no matter how much technology one has available.  The co-production model is a new approach geared toward helping artists produce their art at the highest level, using both the most advanced technologies available and the most organic acoustic spaces in which to give their music life, and to do so in an economically sustainable way.

One major task of making a great recording is the recording process itself.  This process has its own magic, its own mystery, its own moments of enlightenment to offer.  And it is a process that is usually hidden from view, inaccessible to all except those directly connected to the process.  But what about those who love not only the music itself, but the process of producing the music?  In the world of local food, chefs are teaming up with farmers, bringing the restaurant to the field so that diners can experience food in a more complete and holistic way that just what is served on the plate.  Other artists are inviting people into their studios to witness the process of creation.  Why not do the same for the recording arts?

We are thrilled that Gary and Alex are trying new things.  And we hope that you might try something new as well and support the work of these artists in a new way.  It is quite something special to hear our 9′ concert grand piano in the Music Room.  It will be quite something special to hear Alex playing through our locally-made Carr amplifiers.  And if you decide to make a day of it and spend time not only hearing them play live, but participating in the recording process.

Leonardo DaVinci once said “Art lives from constraints and dies from freedom.”  Which means that art is defined by the choices made by the artist.  By seeing those choices being made, by understanding how those choices can be discerned in a recording, you might just find that you have a whole new appreciation for your existing library of recordings as you hear nuances (choices!) you’d never heard before.

Tickets for those who wish to attend are being handled by AbstractLogix here.

BREAKING NEWS: There is now an option to join only the post-dinner concert.  Contact AbstractLogix to check on availability of these $99 tickets.  We hope to see you Friday, either for the whole day, for dinner, or for the wrap-up performance.  Thank you for helping these artists produce the next milestones in Jazz recording.

Hindugrass Recording Sessions

Hindugrass will be recording next week, and they are kicking off their session with a performance on Friday night, April 12th at 8pm.  If you have always wanted to be a fly on the wall of a real recording session, the band is inviting a very limited number of people to be their guests in the studio via this Eventbrite link.

Why perform before recording?  Béla Fleck answers that question in this video from last year:

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Celebrating the Home Town Hero

We live in a paradoxical age: believe nothing unless you have seen it, yet trust outside experts more than the leaders of one’s own community.  All my life I have heard the quote “nobody is a hero in their home town” only to discover it’s a paraphrase of a verse from the Gospel of Luke, where Jesus says “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in their own hometown.”  Doubtless Plato complained about the same problem hundreds of years earlier.  I believe this is due to our tendency to confuse the familiar with the ordinary.  Since moving to Chapel Hill and becoming familiar with many of the great people in the region, I have come to appreciate just how extraordinary so many of them are.  Including those with a musical inclination.

That is not to say that we don’t appreciate talent from other states or countries.  As a board member of Carolina Performing Arts, I’m rightfully proud of the world-class roster of international talents that perform at Memorial Hall each academic year.  But the greatness that comes from afar does not preclude the possibility of greatness living amongst us as well.  The INDY week article is a great case in point.  Yes, it may seem like bragging to use my own studio as an example of a world-class music and post-production facility in our community, but it’s true.  Equally true, and perhaps more important because of the network effect, is that the local community is able to come together and celebrate that fact.  Today, artists both local and global are willing to give us the nod over more established facilities in Nashville, New York, Los Angeles, and even London, which is now leading to greater opportunities for all in our growing community.  That is wonderful!

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A global audience

UPDATED 5/15/2013 — We have been visited by Greenland!

WordPress has a new stats widget which tells me not only how many visitors are coming to the website on a daily basis, and what they are reading, but also where they are coming from.  This is a relatively new feature, and one which as yet does not allow me to automatically share these interesting statistics.  But I have been reading them with increasing interest, not least because I am not used to seeing flags from so many countries.  Here’s a list of the flags and hits we have received on a per-country basis in less than 18 months:

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In the studio with Jimmy Herring…

This is just a very brief posting to share some photos of Jimmy Herring’s visit to Manifold Recording and his performance at The Miraverse. Here’s Jimmy pulling some great sounds out of his Telecaster:

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Some fast fingerwork on his favorite new toy:

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Jimmy listening to tracks of the session in the Control Room:

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Before you know it, all the band’s gear is loaded into the garage…

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…and onto the bus, headed for Colorado in the morning.

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More soon!