The Secondary Mix Reference Position

Before mixes make it to the car or the stereo or the clock radio, I test them on the washing machine.

With a newly rendered mix playing on my computer speakers, this position is off-axis and and above the near-mono sound source. It reveals imbalances and other problems that aren’t immediately apparent on my carefully placed stereo studio monitors. I’ll go back and forth between the monitors and this speaker/position combination several times when I’m working on a mix before it’s ready to test elsewhere.

I’ve spent a lot of time here in the past month, with more to go. The good news is that I have one song sounding great everywhere, and can apply some of what I’ve done there to the rest.

Dark Satellites and the Beer Jesus from America

Trailers for Matt Sweetwood’s latest film The Beer Jesus From America are out:

Stone Brewing’s rock ‘n’ roll co-founder, Greg Koch, who was nicknamed “Beer Jesus” by the a Berlin tabloid newspaper, is taking his business to Germany on a mission to oppose the most beloved industrial beer in the world and join Europe’s craft beer revolution. Will he succeed? Greg must first challenge the established beer culture in a country where brewing has been restricted by the infamous 500 year old beer Purity Law . However, in his quest to fight mass market beer, it turns out that Greg has even bigger obstacles to overcome, from struggles with bureaucracy to cultural differences and stubborn traditionalism.

Besides being a cool film, we can finally talk about the music in the second clip above; it’s Dark Satellites!

Matt had put temporary tracks of too-famous-to-license So-Cal punk into a rough edit of the film, and this past summer he approached Cole for recommendations of artists who could submit music he could use in the final cut.  We decided it would be fun to break in Drew’s new garage/studio by taking a shot at it ourselves, and two instrumental tracks we wrote and recorded made it into the film.

We had fun writing and recording things with a specific purpose and parameters in mind, and are excited to see the documentary when it comes out.

Ham-Throated

This is a fantastic paragraph of music journalism, emphases mine:

[System of a Down’s] second album, Toxicity, succeeded, improbably, in a radio environment that favored simplistic formulas. Max Martin had stamped popular music with his surefire songwriting brand, ushering in a cross-genre rush of structurally identical singles from the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, and Britney Spears. System of a Down competed with the bros of Nickelback, Creed, and Staind on the alternative charts, bands that dressed up the Martin school of pop with power chords and ham-throated vocals. Most of their songs took the form of the confessional: Men apologized to women and to God for their sins, which tended to include substance abuse, emotional neglect, and general chauvinism. Post-grunge incubated a strain of sincerity so obsequious that no amount of nostalgia has yet to rehabilitate it. It lives on as a punchline that itself has grown passé.

Sasha Geffen

Reptoid (Oakland, CA)

Dark Satellites played with this dude, Reptoid, Friday night.

Opinions will vary on the music but if you can get through four minutes, I think you’ll respect what he’s doing creatively, physically, and technically.  I’ve never seen or heard anyone doing anything quite like it, and the man/machine collaboration/conflict is pretty compelling.

The key to it all is how the drums trigger the synths.  It’s live and not on a grid, which is what gives it that combination of super-tight (drums and synths hitting at the same time) and human feel (no grid).  There’s almost a jazz or tribal drumming undercurrent to the harsh industrial noise.  (Saying this out loud seems pretty weak but I want to give those of you who won’t like this something to listen for to understand what’s happening here and why it’s cool.)