Sep/Oct 1998

Welcome to issue #10 of Tape Op.

 

Well, a lot happens around here and each issue of Tape Op is harder to get out on time. There are changes happening too. Adam Selzer, who has been a tireless supporter and help around here, is going to take over a lot of the day-to-day work related to the magazine. That means that he'll be answering the mail, soliciting ads, and helping to keep the business end of this venture together. We moved the office out of my bedroom and into the front room at Jackpot! Recording, so we'll have a central place for contributors to drop in and possibly be able to take more folks up on their "intern" offers. Adam runs a great little studio (Type Foundry) here in Portland, and I want everyone to be nice to him.

            I'd apologize for this issue being rather late, but you can read those kind of laments in plenty of other "zines". Instead, I'll tell you about some of the stuff that keeps the mag from getting done. It's probably no secret that I record music for a living, but for the new readers I'll mention it again. The studio has been incredibly busy for the last 6 months, with rock stars like Pavement, Elliott Smith, Petra Haden, Miss Murgatroid, Quasi and others dropping in most recently. I'm the main engineer there, with my lovely assistant Joanna Bolme sitting in on many sessions and getting closer to knowing her way around the board, patchbay and compressors. This means that I work a lot of 7 day weeks. I'm not complaining... I'm the one that over-books myself... but it doesn't leave much time for Tape Op, exercise, a love life or much else. Plus, being so wrapped up in playing music, recording and doing the mag gives me a strange feeling that I'm living some sort of monochromatic life.

            One of the crazier things that happened recently was that Elliott bought us a mixing board that weighed over four tons (from the . We tried to lift it out of the semi that it showed up in but no way. Currently it's sitting in a warehouse outside of town and I think we're gonna sell it rather than deal with it!  Anyone interested in a giant Quad-Eight mixer? Crazy...

            The Rocket (the local bi-weekly music rag) just ran its annual Studio Supplement issue, with a huge listing of all the studios in the Northwest. Reading through, it was easy to see how people get lost in a sea of gear and shit, but really, I found just reading the lists of artists that studios had worked with to be much more informative! That's something to think about if you're taking your band to an unfamiliar studio. The one's that rated highly? Egg, Avast, John and Stu's, Resistor, Stepping Stone... One of the big differences I notice between my attitude and those of a lot of the recording people I meet is what I think of as the "hard line" approach. Every time someone says to me, "What you need..." or "This is the only way to do that..." I kinda laugh inside. I would think that it's obvious that there's no rules in the recording arena, but people sure forget. It seems the more gear that I pick up for the studio (which has been a lot lately), the more stuff people tell me I need to buy! Sure, there's a lot of things I'd like to own, but you know, all the recording gear in the world won't save a broken drum kit, Crate bass rigs or a Peavey guitar amp. Hell, it won't help someone write a great song. The song and the performance are the most important parts of any recording. I don't worry a whole lot about background noise, tape hiss, slightly bum notes or off key vocals if the song is great and the performance is inspired. Trying to get an artist comfortable, in a good mood and relaxed is a lot better than forcing them to play guitar for three hours to get the "right" sound.

            How many records do you have in your collection just because the recording sounds great? Hopefully not very many! I mean, Steely Dan sound pretty good but not in my house. Hopefully some people out there still listen to music because it makes them feel something. I used to have a friend who would put on Lou Reed's "Street Hassle" and cry, and it wasn't because the recording quality on the record is fucked up...

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Cassette Corner!

by Rob Christensen

Since I took on this column last fall I've received about forty cassettes that were submitted to Tape Op for review. After months of wading through, listening, and reviewing, I feel the need to echo...

Recording Schools?

by Johnny Keener

A few months ago I got the idea that I would go to recording school. I did some checking into the options and I found some things that might help, or at least amuse, some of you Tape Op...

Sue Garner

by Larry Crane

Sue Garner has been a member of many New York based bands over the years, Fish and Roses, The Shams, and currently, Run On. Generally she can be found playing bass and singing. After all those years...

Craig Shumacher: The Wave Lab

by Adam Selzer

A little over a year ago, a record under the guise of OP8 was released which was a collaboration between Howe Gelb, Joey Burns, John Convertino (all of Giant Sand) and Lisa Germano.  It's one of...

Tiny Telephone

by Todd Costanza

Tiny Telephone is a studio set up by the band MK Ultra in San Francisco.  John Vanderslice is a member of that band and helps run the studio.  Todd Costanza is a member of Granfalloon Bus...

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Music Reviews

CALIFONE

by CALIFONE | reviewed by Adam Selzer

If you're a Red Red Meat fan, you probably already know about this record. Tim Rutilli, the songwriter behind Califone proceeds from where his previous outfit (Red Red Meat) left off. It continues...

Music Reviews

DEFORMO

by DEFORMO | reviewed by Matt Mair Lowery

The only way I can adequately express my excitement over this record is to say that I haven't been so unexpectedly and pleasantly surprised by an album since I first heard Pavement's Slanted and...

Music Reviews

Y PANTS

by Y PANTS | reviewed by Larry Crane

I like reissues of obscure groups. Usually they have all sorts of different source material on them plus it's music from a different place and time, and usually you can feel that. Y Pants were a...

Music Reviews

EP, LP

by THE DOWNER TRIO/JOEL R. L. PHELPS, JOEL R. L. PHELPS/THE DOWNER TRIO | reviewed by Adam Selzer

About two years after releasing his first solo record on El Recordo Records, Joel R.L. Phelps (formerly of Silkworm) has given us two very impressive recordings. The first is a five song EP including...

Music Reviews

This Is 4-Track!

by NERVE GENERATOR | reviewed by Rob Christensen

In the last issue I reviewed Nerve Generator's tape in Cassette Corner. Well, now they've got their CD out and it's a dandy. This Is 4-Track! was recorded in guitarist James Botha's bedroom on a...

Music Reviews

Digilogue

by ZOVIET FRANCE | reviewed by Larry Crane

From the band's own mouth(s): "Digilogue was recorded using a mixture of failing analogue equipment and high-end digital equipment and monitored in our studio exclusively on damaged hi-fi speakers."...

Music Reviews

Pacoima

by FERNANDO | reviewed by Larry Crane

Tape Op no es ningún tipo de revista local, y por eso es poco común que doy tanto ánimo a un grupo de la escena de Portland. Este es una excepción. Fernando es un hombre y...

Music Reviews

A Thousand Leaves

by SONIC YOUTH | reviewed by Larry Crane

Here's what I noticed: Only Thurston's songs have those little vocal clicks (the ones you get when you open your mouth to sing or when there's a bit too much saliva running around). I probably...

Music Reviews

More There

by THE SORTS | reviewed by Matt Mair Lowery

The Sorts play a wide-range of mostly instrumental rock (vocals occasionally appear to present mantra-like lyrics) that at times sounds like Fugazi's vocal-less songs and at other points sounds like...

Music Reviews

Under the Western Freeway

by GRANDADDY | reviewed by Adam Selzer

This is one of those records that Tape Op readers will love to listen to. Its full of creative production ideas with each song employing a different recording approach. Chief songwriter Jason Lytle...

Music Reviews

The Roaring Mechanism

by P.E.E. | reviewed by Matt Mair Lowery

After listening to The Roaring Mechanism I get the feeling that I would enjoy P.E.E.'s music a lot more if the band was less concerned with prog rock rhythm shifts and more willing to let the sense of...

Music Reviews

Ocean Songs CD, EP

by DIRTY THREE, TREN BROTHERS | reviewed by Adam Selzer

It's not so unusual to find violin or other related classical instruments in rock music today, but most bands use them merely to enhance their sound rather than as the focal point. Warren Ellis is...

Music Reviews

Happy Heroes

by NEGATIVLAND | reviewed by Larry Crane

If you know anything about writing for magazines n'all, you know that record labels and publicists send out these things called "press kits" with copies of the new records that you're supposed to...

Music Reviews

Fantasma

by CORNELIUS | reviewed by Larry Crane

A Japanese man with a Brian Wilson obsession and guest app-earances by Hillary and Robert of The Apples in stereo? Sign me up! (Matador, 625 Broadway 12th Flr, New York, NY 10012) 

Music Reviews

Selector Dub Narcotic CD

by VARIOUS ARTISTS | reviewed by Larry Crane

Uh Oh. Everyone knows the kiss of death for any studio is to put out a compilation CD of the stuff that they've been working on. It's then that you find out that the hip, cool studio that Pavement cut...

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