Between the months of October 2000 and January 2001, producer/engineer David Bottrill (see issue #19) sonically conducted and committed a musical masterpiece to tape: Tool's Lateralus. The 79 minute ocean of heavy dark melodies, scholastic drumming and cerebral conceptualizations is this eon's impressionistic equivalent to Pink Floyd's Meddle and/or King Crimson's Red. Once again, analog tracking took place in the Los Angeles area at The Hook and Cello studios, with his trademark 4- dimensional-like mixing executed at Larrabee North. Although this time around, the band did incorporate some home recordings for segues, and all vocals were recorded at the singer's home loft on his own Pro Tools system, which had Bottrill shuffling hard disks up and down Highway 101. Bottrill's wares lie somewhere between the biting ambience of a Steve Albini recording and the earthy glossiness of a Tchad Blake project. The power within the disc's sound is fierce, and can be played loudly while retaining clarity. The thing to know about Tool is that hardly any "producer interventionism" takes place within the production of a Tool record, as the band have fostered their own sound throughout the years and partake in mass amounts of rehearsal prior to entering the studio. All David Bottrill had to do was get it down to tape and make it better, which of course he did. When played back with proper HDCD decoding, the touches of tablas, analog synths and Taos drums will make you swear your speakers are made of flesh. (

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

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