Friday, September 20, 2013

Christmas According to Jon

The first recording that I ever released was in 1990.  It was called 'Christmas According to Jon'.  I gave 30 cassette copies away on my 19th birthday to family and friends.  The recording was done on an 8 track reel to reel.  In the early 1990's before the ADAT and computer multi-track software, it was rare to find a bedroom studio with more than 4 tracks - especially for a 18/19 year old.  Recording was new to me.  I didn't own a sampler and much of my editing was done the old way:  changing the motor speed to change pitch and using a razor blade and splicing tape to edit sections of the song together, sometime reversing the tape in the process.  The 2nd half of the album wasn't simply reversing the mixes, but actually flipping the reel tape so it played backwards and making completely new mixes of the songs in reverse.  The opening to Jingle Bells is one of my favorites - I used a junky piece of metal to bang on and recorded the same banging on different tracks at different speeds (to get the pitches in the melody), then I mixed the melody on the faders.  Many of the songs were complex like this and though they sound simple and sometime silly, they were all early experiments of my work.  Another example of my process was on Silent Night;  I attempted to sing the melody with different vowel sounds then mix them together to create the words "silent night" - I had to add a track of just the 'T' sound for the hard consonants (I didn't feel that this was the most intelligible vocal track, but the process was fascinating to me).  Some of this album I absolutely love and some I find rather unlistenable. 

Figment Recordings (www.figmentrecordings.com) will be re-releasing this cassette this Christmas.  It will be a limited release and available only on cassette to keep the integrity of the original idea/recording.  I am super excited about this release and have fond memories of the early experiments and recording that I was doing in my bedroom studio.

2 comments:

  1. That will probably be a lengthy review, but that is a good idea. I should do a review of the Aries system too.

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