Welcome to issue #149 of Tape Op.
In our previous issue (Tape Op #148) while talking about why he does his beaunoise solo music, Beau Sorenson noted “how a lot of engineers and producers had a need to satisfy their creativity through the projects they worked on, and that caused conflict” with the artists they were producing. This is part of the balancing act of being in the studio that we all need to keep an eye on. Not every recording session is an experiment – see my End Rant this issue – just like not every session is a chance for everyone involved to be the star. I always feel a need to push my abilities, try different techniques, and sculpt sound in new ways; but, at the same time, I am also very careful not to step all over the artists I work with.
In April 2020 I received an email about a Real World Records remix contest, featuring a song, “Love,” by Les Amazones d’Afrique. What a perfect way to give myself a challenge and try some new techniques out! I ended up completely writing new music around these vocal tracks, and had a blast trying out weird gating tricks, sitar guitars, and big Moog drones. I didn’t win, but that really wasn’t the goal. Getting to do something “for myself” was a giant “reset button” that gave me a little mental boost in the studio.
Over a year later, the publicity folks at Real World Records dropped a line about BAMANAN, “a really unique collaboration between a Malian artist Rokia Koné (photo to right) and producer Jacknife Lee. The album came to fruition thanks to a connection we made with Jacknife Lee when we launched a lockdown remix contest.” The same contest I had entered! It turned out Jacknife had heard the cool (extra) guitar of Salif Koné included with the remix tracks, leading him to Rokia Koné and this long-distance collaboration. Everything came full circle as Jacknife Lee and I got to chat and discuss many of these same concepts about remixing, working with artists, and pushing for greatness. Another exhilarating “reset” for my brain; see his interview this issue!
— Larry Crane, editor & Founder
PS: Everyone at Tape Op is saddened to report that magazine contributor, moderator, and TapeOpCon panelist – plus drummer, studio owner, and all-around great person – Chris Garges, lost his battle with cancer in February 2022. Talented and sharing, he will be missed. -LC