David Garza plays guitar, writes songs, and sings them. He does all of these very well - his sophomore release on Atlantic Records will be out sometime in 2001. As he is quite prolific, he puts out his own CDs in between his major-label releases, and records them primarily on a 4-track tape deck. This review is less a judgement of his music than it is a few words about his recording techniques. the 4-track manifesto, despite its title, was created with the aid of a few additional tracks, both during tracking and in mixdown. Kingdom Come and Go was, save for one song, recorded entirely on a Tascam 234 machine. Anyone who doubts that great music can be made on a 4-track needs to seek out these discs. They are testament to what can be done with limited resources. Acoustic guitars have breath and clarity, electric guitars shimmer at times and bite at others, basses are full, heavy and round. Drums - sometimes a machine, sometimes a kit (taped with one mic) - are powerful and present. The tracks also have a wonderful separation and crispness, quite the 4-track trick. As great as the instruments sound, it's the vocals that truly shine, always real and placed perfectly in the mix. He doesn't shy away from effects, doubling, tripling, SansAmp, crappy mics, but uses them effectively. The production as a whole leans toward doing what is best for the song rather than making cool sounds for their own sake. That said, these discs are loaded with hipness and sonic surprises. These are great discs made by a top-flight musician free from any A&R man's restraints. They also prove that fantastic music can be made from the most modest of gear. In a word: Inspirational. (Wide Open Records, available at CDNow.com)

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

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