Friday, December 19, 2008


We've been mixing the record this week as well as adding some final touches to the songs. Mitch has a Chamberlin Music Master that has been getting a good deal of work the past few days as it's very helpful in developing textures and creating ambiance.

I think we all want these songs to function not just as things to listen to but also as places to travel to through listening and there are numerous techniques to be employed at this point in the process to enrich this effect. Cheeite even played a spiral staircase with a rubber mallet the other day. It sounded like a reverse thunderstorm.

The use of non-musical, found sounds etc. can really inject a sense of place into a recording as they force your brain to intuit not just the sound but also the space in which it occurred. Mitch and Cheetie have really been grinding away at the board non-stop the past few days with the rest of us drifting in and out, offering suggestions and perspective but mainly just trying to stay out of the way so they can drive the damn thing.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Show Sunday

Just wanted to let everyone know we are playing in Raleigh this Sunday at the Lincoln Theatre with The Loners, the T's and Richard Bacchus and the Luckiest Girls. Doors at 8. We have a bunch of free passes to give out get in touch and we'll let you know where you can pick one up

Monday, December 8, 2008

End of Phase II

We finished up almost everything that needed to be done for tracking. Saturday and Sunday was devoted largely to guitars, keyboards and vocals and various types or percussion provided by myself, craig and cheetie. DM threw down on the reed whilst Mitch and CK twisted the knobs.

Sadly we had to leave the session last night but will be returning to mix (phase III!) the following week. We have to get back to HQ to rehearse some old and new songs for a show we are playing at the Lincoln Theatre. This show is with the Ts and the Loners. Should be fun. SN

Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 9 9! Today is my birthday, woke up really late, David saved 6 dollars on a train fare, we had BBQ for lunch....gotta tell you, it's been a good day so far! Although I chose Lexington BBQ over Eastern style (I don't know what the fuck I was thinking) it was still pretty good. Okra was whack though. We got it from Prissy Polly's here in Kernersville. Last night got kinda whacky because we did a lot of group backing vocals, percussion and other stuff. PS and CK spent most of yesterday knocking out guitar tracks while CT continued working on vocals and lyrics.

DM and I went back to the hotel (see below) around 3:30. I tried once again to get a remote from the clerk and guess what, they had a brand new one for us! We got to program it and everything. However this did not prevent the "maintenance" guy from finally knocking on our door at 9am to take care of our remote control issue. Ahhhh, the Dudley.

Anyway, today I've been working on external job stuff while P and C have been producing some of the craziest noises I've ever heard in the next room. It sounds amazing. SN

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Dudley

A word about our accomodations here in Kernersville- We are staying at Dudley Q's School of Cosmetology. The campus also features a hotel for students training to enter the hospitality industry, with budget rooms available to the public.

The rooms are fairly large for the price, although most of the carpets look as though they've hosted some sort of St. Valentines Day massacre event sometime in the past. Also, we've been trying to get a working remote for our television for four days now with no luck. The helpful staff has reapeatedly assured us they are working on it. They did give us some replacement batteries for the remote we have but they turned out to be already dead. But hey, as I said, it's cheap.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Studio Magik!


Today is Wednesday and I think it's officially the 7th day of recording. Yesterday we finished up all the basic tracking which was a nice little hurdle to get over. We did three songs that are all pretty unique so we experimented with lots of different drum, bass and guitar sounds on each one. I was particularly enthused because I got to put together this monster kit using three of Mitch's drums and three of my own. It sounded amazing but it also looked pretty sweet too. We ended last nights sesh with a little 6 part clap/piano/bass intro-ditty.

Today we start overdubs and various bells and whistles. And i mean we are literally putting bells and/or whistles on these songs.

I gotta add that the Fidelitorium has a nice little Kitchen and lots of nights we have been sitting down to delicious meals prepared mostly by BOA head chef CK. Last night: Pan-seared corn chip crusted Mahi with peas and carrot yellow rice and mexi-style black beans. On the menu tonight: Butternut Sqaush souffle with blue cheese and pecan spinach salad. Duuuuuuuuude. SN

Monday, December 1, 2008

phase II

We are back from the Thanksgiving holiday (most of which was spent at work) and have been working primarily on guitar overdubs and vocals. Craig and Cheetie were up late last night working out the vocal for a genuinely odd little tune, working title "Xarardheee". This tune also gave us the opportunity to try out a wide range of guitar effects, including this remarkable synthesizer:

The Phase II, made by the Ludwig drum company (?) in the late sixties. This is a truly unique piece of equipment, capable of producing sounds you just can't find anywhere else- especially not in any modern "modeled" synth effects.

Craig's been experimenting with different vocal harmonies out in the front room on our trusty Tascam Portastudio 424. We've always relied heavily on Tascam cassette 4 tracks to demo our songs, both as a group and individually. They're quick to set up, easy to use and often yield surprisingly good fidelity, especially for bass and drums. Did I mention they're also cheap to come by? We currently have 3 in working order and have burned through several others.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I've been reading this amazing book Mitch has lying around the control room- Julian Cope's survey of Kraut rock. Includes extensive discussions of Can, Amon Duul I and II, Tangerine Dream, As Ra Temple and Faust, among others. Perfect companion during a recording session. I just looked for a copy on amazon. Apparently it's out of print and going for a cool $225. Bummer.


Day 2

Last night ran late. We got some good stuff down, concentrating on rhythym tracks. I got to play a beautiful Ric bass of Mitch's, quite a change of pace from the P-bass I normally play. Then we sat up late watching the Shreds series on youtube. We're getting an earlier start today as most of the set up is already in place

We're making some good progress today- experimenting with different tape machines, altering playback speeds, slicing and splicing and the like.

As with our last session here at The Fidelitorium, we'll be keeping the computers turned off (well, in the studio at least) and working only with tape. Anyone who has burned their eyes out staring at the cold colors of pro-tools for hours on end can appreciate what a relief this is.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fidelitorium Photos 1

Here are some photos for your enjoyment (and mine). SN

Dis for da BASS!

Mitch has this sweet Vistalite Bicentennial Kit that came out in 1976. Totally crunk.


some background....

I'll skip the usual band bio crap as it's available elsewhere and of little interest to anyone but the hacks. Suffice to say our first record came out in 2007, we toured the US and Europe, released an EP and went back on the road. We spent most of spring and summer 08 on the road, almost four months straight. We got home in July and took a month off. When we reconvened in August we started from scratch on a new batch of songs. There were a few demos circulating of songs one of the other of us had been working on but the bulk of the material was developed out of whole cloth during extended improv sessions. Since we had pretty much finished touring for the year there was no need to rehearse the older material. In any case, we had pounded those songs thoroughly into the ground and needed to get away from them for a while. At practice we would just play. There were no vamps, no riffs, not really even any discussion at all. The music would just start without anyone even saying go. We'd generally play in 20-30 minute blocks; sometimes on a single theme, sometimes cycling through several. We recorded everything on a Panasonic RQ-340 handheld cassette recorder that somehow managed to capture all the necessary elements in the room. We made edits from sections of these tapes and put them to cd and slowly parsed them into songs. We then demo'd the living shit out of everything. And now, for our next trick.....


Why Guitar Center SUCKS

As if you needed a reason. While we are waiting for the 4 track machine to get calibrated and whatnot, I will take this opportunity to deflower this blog with a rant about why I hate Guitar Center. Not to get into too much detail (and it's my own fault for dealing with them anyway) but I ordered something from them last Thursday to be sent here (Kernersville). I actually drove to the store in Greensboro and paid "Jimmy" my hard earned cash to have the thing delivered here today. Needless to say this plan did not work. I was told it was coming from Georgia but in fact it came from Maryland. After making a stop at a store in Virginia it is now in Raleigh of all places.

I called them to get a tracking number and after getting tossed around from guitar dude to keyboard dude to keytar dude, I finally end up with a guy who tells me "Jimmy's off today. Man, if you were friends with him I'd talk shit about him, but...uh, sorry."

Eat shit and die, Guitar Center.

Whatever man, whatever. Only positive blogs from now on.



This blog is set up to document the making of the as-yet untitled 2nd Birds of Avalon LP. The tracking will be done here at the Fidelitorium in Kernersville, NC with Mitch Easter. The songs we're working on were written in the late summer and early fall of 2008. Today, 11/24, is the first day of the sessions which will run through the better part of the next three weeks. None of us are particularly seasoned bloggers so we'll just have to see how this goes.