Mar/Apr 1998

Welcome to issue #8 of Tape Op.


Welcome to Tape Op #8.  You'll notice that most of the issue was written by our contributors (practically a staff at this point) and let me tell you that there wouldn't be a new issue if it wasn't for all of them.  I've been super busy with my recording studio (Jackpot!) churning out albums, singles, compilation tracks and demos like there's no tomorrow.  In fact, a 7 day work week is the norm lately, especially when you throw our band into the equation.  I've also gone through some tough personal stuff lately, as some of you may know, and that's taken it's toll on my "free" time.  Anyway, I'd like to point out that while I may give this mag a direction, there's a lot of talented folks backing me up and I thank them and you should too.

In other news, boy do we get a lot of CD's, records and tapes in the mail.  I hope it's understood that we don't review that much stuff and that our interview/article choices are not always directly related to what shows up here (although it never hurts).  I don't want to alienate anyone out there but please don't expect a whole lot.  We do listen to the ones we like, even if we forget to write about them (Volume All*Star comes to mind...) but there's way too many for me to listen to.  If you recall, I listen to stuff all day long for a living too...

One thing that has really hit me about a lot of the "hey, we recorded this album at home" CD's we've gotten recently is that people don't put enough effort into it.  I've heard more than several releases that are on self-released CD's (which means there was at least $2000 spent on the manufacturing end) that sound like murky demos.  Why should anyone else care?  The whole idea of recording at home is that you have no time limits, and that you can try out creative approaches to getting music on tape.  This is something you can't do at a studio, when you're on a budget, with some jerk like me charging you by the hour.  Yeah, I know it's hard to get really clean, crisp recordings on an 8 track ?" deck, but if that's true, how come so many people have done it then?  It's not some secret little trick, it's hard work and dedication and trying every mic position and crazy EQ settings and maxing out your little effects arsenal.  My feeling is that people are too timid and want to make sure they sound "just like we do live" and won't try to exaggerate elements of their music in order to embellish it right.  So imagine that you're having a hard time getting a "great" drum sound but you know you've got a great song.  Why not distill it down.  Make the drummer play only snare and kick.  Just two mics.  Run the second guitar through some effect that fits its mood.  Don't worry that you don't sound this way live, just try to make something interesting to listen to.  When you play live you can rock out in all your glory, and fans will like that too.  Or put the drummer in the bathroom and put mics outside the door and then run that through a big reverb.  Hey, it might fit the song or not but you learned a new trick.  Shit, how about just using your EQ a little more drastically?  When I was doing 8 track records, I would push the EQ a lot harder to and from the tape to make sure there were sounds there I could mix with.  I just don't see any reason to settle for something that sounds like a band trying to sound like a live band, only to fail miserably at the whole thing.  The idea is to get something on your record that is enjoyable to listen to... so why sell yourself short and end up with a record you won't like in a year or two?  Okay, now get to work!

Larry Crane, editor and mean guy . . .

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Cassette Corner

by Rob Christensen

The great thing about self-released cassettes is that anyone can put them out without spending too much money.  Photocopy some J-cards, dub a few tapes on the home stereo, and you're done. ...


Columns See more →


Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews

Volume One


Stop me if you've heard this one before.  A couple of L.A. rich kids with too much time on their hands buy some recording equipment, rent a space and start recording their own album, which they...

Music Reviews


by Trackstar | reviewed by Larry Crane

MORE LETTERS? Hey Hey Larry, Wyatt here writing from San Francisco, CA.  It was good to see you in Chico and since I didn't have a chance to talk to you further, I'm writing now.  I'm...

Music Reviews


by MULTI-CAT | reviewed by Dewey Mahood

Mark Robinson does the remix thing on the Multiple Cat with surprisingly good results.  The four tracks on this CD never fall into looped house tedium, they instead retain the shape of...

Music Reviews


by POLVO | reviewed by Adam Selzer

A friend of mine who is a huge Polvo fan recently said to me, "the new Polvo sucks!  It sounds like Led Zeppelin."  Polvo has finally departed from their trademark bendy/angular guitar work...

Music Reviews

Wading and Waiting

by TRANSIENT WAVES | reviewed by Larry Crane

It's not often that I get sent a CD I can listen to.  It's even less often it's something I want to listen to.  This is an exception.  It's dreamy, semi-ambient late night stuff that...

Music Reviews

Collect Them All

by 44 LONG | reviewed by Larry Crane

Hot Damn!  A long time ago my pals the Maroons got me together with their friend Brian Berg who was thinking of starting a studio, and interested in my participation.  Nothing ever came of...

Music Reviews

Pet Sounds

by RICK BAIN | reviewed by Larry Crane

In perfect timing, Rick Bain (of Portland pop superstars Spin Jupiter Spin) has released a home recorded 4 track version of Pet Sounds all played by himself.  This CD rocks.  He did it with...

Music Reviews

The Pet Sounds Sessions

by THE BEACH BOYS | reviewed by Larry Crane

So here it is, four discs devoted to what has been called the greatest album ever and one of the finest productions ever made.  There's a "new" stereo mix, vocal-only mixes, highlights of...



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