Last week I setup at the Somerville Theatre for 3 days and recorded an album of original tunes with some of the most talented musicians I know.
I brought in a mobile recording studio and a film crew to document the sessions (two per day) with five different ensembles (plus one solo guitar improv). Together we were 15 musicians, 2 audio engineers, 6 camera operators and 2 assistants. The end result is an incredible live recording of 7 compositions, 3.5 hours of improvisation and about a terabyte of footage.
I’m currently humbled, excited and in love with everything that happened. I’m still trying to figure out how this will be presented, but I want to share with you some of the process.
To start, here is an excerpt of the e-mail I sent to all players involved earlier this month:
In just a matter of days, we are all going on an adventure to the Somerville Theatre. This is a project and a reality that has incredible meaning to me. Thank you for being a part of it.
I’ve asked each and everyone one of you to play on this session because I like you. I’m inspired by your musicianship, humanity, and contribution to the world. Plus, I really want to make music with you.
The working title for this project is TimeStamp. The concept is simply to meet in a beautiful sounding theatre and make music together. The recording aspect essentially serves as a way to represent where we were on the third week of February in 2012. I don’t know what will happen with these recordings when we are done. Regardless if they turn into an album, or we use them for our own private listening, the emphasis is on recording the moments that we have together.
I appreciate you all. Thank you for contributing yourselves to this adventure.
For every session, we would setup our instruments/amps so that we could hear and be in balance with each other (we had no headphones or isolation). Ariel Bernstein close-mic’d all instruments, and placed area mics on the stage and in the center of the theatre. We introduced ourselves to the pieces and recorded the rehearsal process. After about 4 or 5 takes we would notice that we built a tune into something nice, and with a consensus of smiles, we’d move onto the next tune and/or the next ensemble. The days were full, and the music was inspired and treated with great care.
I’m thrilled to say that we captured something very special with the audio. There is a great feel to all the performances and the sound of the theatre is right there in the recording. Everything is open, clear and exposed. I’m completely in love with the sound of this project.
The film component is proving to be emotional and endearing as it shows the love we all have for each other as musicians and collaborators. Alexia Prichard (film director) has put together a teaser trailer to help give you an idea of what happened: TimeStamp Teaser Trailer
Over the next few months, we’ll be mixing and mastering the audio, and Alexia and her team will be editing the video. I’m not sure if this will be one album or two, or if the documentary will be 10mins or 10 hours. Pieces are still falling into place.
Keep in touch.
TimeStamp Ensemble – February 20, 21st & 22nd @ Somerville Theatre
- Brendan Burns – Guitar
- Nick Grondin – Guitar
- Tony Leva – Bass
- Raky Sastri – Drums
- Valerie Thompson – Cello
- Molly Zenobia – Keyboard
- Lainey SchoolTree – Keyboard
- Derek VanWormer – Bass
- Jordan Ross – Drums
- Eliza Kopczyska – Violin
- Michelle Rush – Viola
- David Aquilina – Trumpet
- Chris Veilleux – Alto Sax
- Kathy Olson – Bari Sax
- Grant Randall – Trombone
- Ariel Bernstein – Head Engineer
- Toby Chandler – Engineer
- Alexia Prichard – Film Director
- Gonzalo Plaza – Camera Operator
- Ronny Preciado – Camera Operator
- Sarah Patterson – Camera Operator
- Stephen Atkinson – Camera Operator
- Jordan Stallings – Camera Operator
- Jamie Little – Assistant
- Jason Boyle – Assistant