Recently I've had a few conversations with musicians about the difficulties of getting all your ideas finished when working in the studio on a tiny budget. Since indie releases generally can only afford a short amount of studio time it can be next to impossible to do all the extra guitar/voice/keyboard/etc overdubs as well as get a decent mix. One solution to this is to forego the traditional studio process, invest what money you have into home recording gear, and do it yourself. The other is to resist the temptation to make your album sound like Sgt. Peppers... and instead use your time getting the best possible live sound and performance. This can be achieved by knowing your music well and choosing the right engineer and studio for your project, which is exactly what these two groups have done. San Francisco's Rumah Sakit went into the studio with tightly arranged music and captured it on tape without overdubs or "tricks". The result is an excellent disc of edgy, guitar driven instrumental rock complimented by engineers Jay and Ian Pellicci's clean, unproduced sounding mix. Louisville, Kentucky's The Halifax take a similar approach, recording beautiful acoustic folk-rock tunes in a house without the aid of amplification, and on two louder tracks in a cathedral. These organic spaces add a unique and lyrical quality to the band's moody songs. Engineer Herb Simrall mixed so much room sound into the mixes that if you close your eyes while listening to it you feel as though you're sitting with the band. The next time I hear a musician say they need more money and extra days in the studio in order to get good results I will be recommending a listen to these CDs. (The Temporary Residence Ltd., PO Box 22910, Baltimore, MD, 21203)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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