Anatomy of a Project: A Nontraditional Approach to a Commercial Recording

By Jimmy Landry

Last summer, Peppina—a young female artist from Finland— plunged herself into the NYC music scene for two months. With the help of renowned NYC entertainment attorney Steven Beer who discovered her, she managed to head back to Finland with a major-label sounding EP. The project was recorded in different ways, in different locations all over the city—and with budgets being slashed, these days it’s pretty much hand-to-hand combat when making a low budget recording where anything goes. But the upshot is yes, you can record a commercial-sounding record on a budget—so here are some of the techniques we employed to accomplish that goal. SONAR Platinum was instrumental in saving time on this EP. Between the Drum Replacer, VocalSync, onboard Melodyne, Speed Comping and general speed enhancements, I got to the finish line a lot faster than previous records. I highly recommend anyone who’s on SONAR XX to take a close look at what the program has brought to the table in the last year.

This all started when Steven Beer called about an artist he’d heard sing at a film festival, and invited me for a meeting at his office. Interestingly, there were two other producer/writers there as well—a bit unorthodox, but pretty much anything goes these days, so nothing really surprises me anymore. We discussed the artist’s interests, influences, and other variables, and then listened to some of my reel as well as music from the other producers. It turned out the lawyer’s master plan was to bring the three of us together to co-write, record, and mix a five-song EP before she went back to Finland in 45 days.

Peppina already had some momentum in Finland from a loop she wrote and uploaded to a site called HITRECORD (owned by actor and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Her upload was so popular that Gordon-Levitt flew her to California to perform the piece at the Orpheum in LA during one of the show’s TV episodes. This all sounded good to me, so I signed on to a production team that would share in the production duties and heavy lifting. As to budgets…well, there was enough there for us to take it on as a challenge.

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Making Music On A Netbook at GDC 2010

Netbooks are quickly gaining ground as the viable computing option for everything, from checking email to recording and producing music. The folks at Netbooknews.com were on hand at the recent Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California to chat with Cakewalk’s Seth Perlstein about the forth-coming release of the SD-50 Mobile Studio Canvas and it’s netbook compatibility:

It’s USB-powered, comes with over 1000 sounds and effects, and includes it’s own DAW for Windows users, the SD-50 is a great interface for the musician on the go.

Doing Heavenly Work With the V-Studio 100

Dale Ramsey - Great GatheringDale “Rambro” Ramsey is one of the most respected producers and engineers in the business.  His RamTrax Entertainment studio in Atlanta has worked on projects for some of the biggest names in music, from Justin Timberlake to Stevie Wonder to P. Diddy.  His client list reads like a Who’s Who of musical talent, and it keeps Dale hopping.

But sometimes he has a client with a somewhat ‘higher calling.’

Early this month, Dale traveled to Columbia, SC with his V-Studio 100 to record a major religious event called “The Great Gathering.”  For the first time in more than 45 years, the three major Methodist denominations within the African-American community met collectively, holding a three-day conference to discuss and address some of the major issues currently plaguing our nation.

From March 1-3, congregations from the African Methodist Episcopal (AME), African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) and Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Churches met at the Carolina Coliseum with the goal of “Focusing on solutions. Change through the heart for the earth and humanity.”

“I was working in my studio with Dr. Greg McPherson, the music director for the opening day of the conference,” Dale explained, “and he mentioned a three-day event that might take place the following week up in Columbia.  He said he might be able to use my help in recording an orchestra on the first day.  I didn’t have a lot of details and it wasn’t set in stone at that point, but I said I’d help if he needed me.”

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