OK, here goes. Here’s my remaster of my original mix of Venetian Snares live at Die Werft at Donaufest in Korneuburg, Austria, 7 May 2005. Although nobody asked, I’m gonna give you the entire story of how this came about.
I’m from California, but was living in Vienna at the time. For those of you who don’t know, Korneuburg is a town that lies on the outskirts of Vienna. Back in those days, I made bootlegs of just about every show I attended, this one included. Back then I’m pretty sure I was working with minidiscs, later moving up to portable SD recorders, and these days I have a much more sophisticated system, but I’ll get to that later.
So I went to this show and grabbed a bootleg. Nothing special about the recording: it sounded decent, but not extraordinary. It was some months later when one of my Viennese friends in the electronic/clubbing scene somehow managed to get a hold of a board tape from the show as an mp3. He knew I was a big VS fan, so he threw it my way.
Now, lemme say that I’m a fan of board tapes, at least when no other recordings exist. But board tapes of electronic shows very often disappoint me. Because there’s so much about them that doesn’t give you the impression that it was recorded live. Yes, of course we can generally trust that it’s the live recording, but nothing about it sounds live, like the way a proper live album (electronic or otherwise) sounds. So if I come across a board tape and an audience recording of the same show, especially if it’s of an artist of which I’m a big fan, I’m gonna match them up and make a live album out of it. As an audio engineer, I’ve got the tools and the know-how to make it happen.
At least, at the time, I thought I did. To put it bluntly, I was an amateur in 2005, and even though I did the best with what I had and to the best of my abilities, the mix that I made back then is so wrought with phasing that every time a track pops up in my iTunes random play, I just wanna put myself out of my misery. For those of you who don’t know what phasing is, in this case when I tried to match up the two recordings, even though they were both digitally recorded, they both had slight speed variations throughout the hour and 20 minute performance. So at some point, one would shift ahead of the other, and at other times vice versa, so they wouldn’t match up exactly. It might not sound like that should be such a big deal, but you needn’t look any further than that original mix to know that phasing will ruin a recording. You really need them to match up exactly. I’m really embarrassed about it and feel I should apologize to everybody who has ever heard that original mix.
But at least I had the foresight to burn to cd the isolated recordings and store them for safe keeping: the board tape on one, the audience bootleg on another, thinking that I’d try my hand at it at a later date. The thing is, since 2005, I’ve lived in Los Angeles for many years, moved back to Austria for another year, and back to San Diego where I’ve now lived for a year and a half. And I’d not seen those cds since 2005 when I stashed them somewhere. Where? I dunno. I remember looking for them once or twice over the years in spots where I might logically have put them, but they were nowhere to be found. I figured they had slipped through the cracks at one point or another and were gone forever.
Until late in 2011 when I found them hiding amongst a bunch of old software cds in some random box in a closet. EUREKA! So now I was determined to make a new and improved mix.
Since 2005, I’ve honed my skills, and have become something of a mobile live recording specialist, especially when it comes to electronic shows. My operation now is to record the stereo board mix to my laptop on one track, and now I use a nice proper stereo condenser microphone to grab the room sound which I record to another stereo track in my laptop. And because both of those stereo feeds are being recorded into the same system, phasing is no longer a problem. I pretty much don’t go to shows any more without knowing that I’ll be able to record them: I recorded and mixed that recent Somatic Responses show in Los Angeles from summer 2011; I’ve recorded Devo multiple times on their California tours of summer 2011 and early 2012; Merzbow in Vienna in 2010; I’ve recorded both Enduser and Xanopticon too many times to recall. I actually recorded VSnares up at El Corazon in Seattle on the day that Detrimentalist came out in the summer of 2008. But that mix I forwarded on to his tour manager or whomever it was who arranged the recording, and it hasn’t popped up anywhere, so sorry, that one will have to remain hidden.
Anyways, my point is that I’ve been doing these recordings for many years since the VS recording in 2005, and am a hell of a lot better at it now. I knew that with this second attempt all that nasty phasing would still be there, but now I’m much better at managing and minimizing it, or even eliminating it altogether. I was in no hurry whatsoever with this new mix. I didn’t want to unleash it to the internet until I was 100% happy with the final mix. I worked on it for about a month (which is a remarkable amount of time, as any of my recordings these days I normally finish in a day or two), and now I can confidently say that this is the best that this recording is ever gonna sound.
About the performance itself: the Rossz album had just been released a month or two prior, so he starts off the show with a couple of the major works from that album. I was impressed that he spent so much time in gabberland this night, as Winnipeg is a Frozen Shithole had been released about 6 months prior to this show and he ended up playing more than half of the tracks on that EP. And Infolepsy had been released only a couple months before the Winnipeg EP, and that one is chock full of gabber beats as well, so this show was a fairly relentless hour and twenty minutes of woofer abuse. The first half of the show is a mix of tracks from earlier albums, including probably my all time favorite VS track, Befriend a Childkiller Remix from Find Candace.
There’s a weird break in the action just as he’s starting Szamár Madar. During the first couple tracks, Aaron was visibly displeased with the volume level in the hall. As he started Szamár Madar, he’d grown so fed up with it that he stopped the song to go voice his opinion with one of the crew members on stage. You can hear the audience’s shouts of ‘LOUDER! LOUDER!’ at this point as well. That volume difference between that first part and the rest of the show isn’t evident on the recording because I’ve evened out all the levels, but there was definitely a noticeable difference in the room as it happened. Once he resumes with the Childkiller Remix, the rest of the show continues without incident.
Also, that is an actual, bona fide encore at the end. When’s the last time that’s happened? Aaron was finished and started packing up his headphones and stuff, when some of the hecklers in the front rows shouted loudly enough and long enough for Aaron to break out with the SKM-ETR remix and some more improv noise for a few extra minutes. Outstanding.
Tracklist is on the Mixcloud page.