(short video and full audio) Buzz Campbell & Hot Rod Lincoln live in San Diego, 31 Aug 2012

Here’s a taste of the two-hour performance by Buzz Campbell and Hot Rod Lincoln at a free concert series called Concerts on the Promenade organized by the city of El Cajon. All audio and video by me.

Update- complete concert (audio only) here, split into the first hour and the second hour-

mono board mix

Nady stereo condenser mic for room/audience

Focusrite Saffire Pro24 preamp/interface

Logic 8 for recording, editing, mixing

Soundtrack Pro for mastering

Macbook Pro

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(video) The Mattson 2 live in San Diego, 16 June 2012

I recorded San Diego’s pre-eminent surf/jazz combo The Mattson 2 at The Continental Hotel in San Diego’s historic Old Town district.

Outdoor patio, and no instruments were mic’d up, so what you hear here is just my stereo condenser microphone, set up in front of the guys. The audio turned out quite well I think.

Additionally, most of the shows I record these days, I also set up my little JVC camcorder to grab some video as well. It’s not a pro level camera, but it does shoot 1920×1080, and once I sync up the high quality audio recording to the video, it looks just fine. For this show, I had the camera set up on the ground next to the mic. It’s a little bit off-center, but otherwise it looks fine.

Nady stereo condenser mic for room/audience

Focusrite Saffire Pro24 preamp/interface

Logic 8 for recording, editing, mixing

Soundtrack Pro for mastering

MacBook Pro

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(audio) The Mattson 2 live in San Diego, 24 Ap 2012

The San Diego instrumental surf/jazz scene might not begin and end with the Mattson 2, but theirs will be the first name that comes to mind when speaking of this hybrid genre. And deservedly so, as the brothers, Jared on guitar and bass (often times at the same time, with a little help from some sample/looping effects) and Jonathan on drums, are both wildly talented, as evidenced on their studio recordings as well as this live excerpt from an hour-long performance as they played to a packed house well after midnight on a Tuesday night (!) at San Diego’s illustrious hotspot The Casbah.

The Mattson 2, 24 April 2012, live at The Casbah, San Diego.

stereo board mix

Nady stereo condenser mic for room/audience

Focusrite Saffire Pro24 preamp/interface

Logic 8 for recording, editing, mixing

Soundtrack Pro for mastering

MacBook Pro

website FB Last.fm

(audio) Zola Jesus live in San Diego, 3 March 2012

It was quite an auspicious occasion as Zola Jesus wrapped up their month-long US tour with a show at San Diego’s legendary Casbah.

I wrote an exhaustive post the first time I’d recorded ZJ up in LA this past Halloween, so see that entry if you need any background. But I will say this about this show-

It was downright industrial. I suppose that’s more a reflection of the club’s sound system (massive), the dimensions of the room (on the small side), and the way the sound guy was mixing the band (throbbing low end synths, thumping kick drum sounds, kinda tribal sounding electronic drums). Much heavier than anything on cd from the band. There were many moments where I very much liked this sound, as in this excerpt of ‘Vessel’ from that night, but at some other times I thought the heaviness did the songs something of a disservice. But at the same time, I kept all of that propulsive, pounding low end in the final mix, because it definitely shines a new light on the songs as they are performed live.

If you’ve got a subwoofer hooked up to your system (and you really should), this’ll give it a decent workout.

stereo board mix

Nady stereo condenser mic for room/audience

Focusrite Saffire Pro24 preamp/interface

Logic 8 for recording, editing, mixing

Soundtrack Pro for mastering

MacBook Pro

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(audio) Zola Jesus live in Los Angeles, 31 Oct 2011

In reading about Zola Jesus most often I’ll come across comparisons to Björk or Siouxsie (and Kate Bush, and Elisabeth Fraser, and Tori Amos…). And I think those are appropriate because not only is Nika a remarkably gifted singer, but she also covers the bulk (or all?) of the songwriting and electronics programming (as does Björk, not sure about any others).

But one name that I don’t see as often mentioned in the same breath as Nika’s (maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough), but who I think is more similar to Nika in terms of vocal style and technique is Lisa Gerrard. They both have a spine-tingling, ghostly, towering wail, and also an impeccable sense of melody and pitch.

As I’m sure you know, Lisa Gerrard has had an extensive career singing on movie soundtracks in addition to her years in Dead Can Dance. Nika is the blindingly obvious heir apparent to that role, so I expect to hear lots of Nika’s voice on the big screen in the coming years, if she so desires.

For the time being, she’s working hard on the Zola Jesus albums and touring non-stop, far and wide. For this live recording, keep in mind the rest of the band. On the ZJ studio recordings, the instrumentation is limited to vocals and electronics, with only occasional accents by acoustic instruments. But the live band employs a live drummer in addition to Nika and two synth players, which gives the live sound a bit more of an aggressive edge. This duality reminds me very much of the live Young Gods albums compared to their studio recordings.

And even some of ZJ’s music itself reminds me of the Young Gods, but other stuff as well. Imagine if Lisa Gerrard in her early 20s teamed up with Sigur Rós who left their guitars and drums at home and used only electronics, but played in the same musical style as their own albums (vast, epic, expansive, with occasional low end throbbiness). And then combine that band with The Cranes when they were at their peak with both their rock recordings (Wings of Joy, Forever, Loved) and their experimental stuff (La Tragedie d’Oreste et Electre…).

I guess the point of all this is to state that I’d like to join the many others who recognize that Nika is ridiculously talented, and I expect her to accomplish many amazing things. I suggest catching ZJ as soon as you can because it’s only a matter of time before she moves up from these smaller venues she plays these days to the big festival shows. And on top of that, I expect that she’ll be in such high demand that she might not have as much time to tour in the future as she does now. Don’t sleep on Zola Jesus.

stereo board mix

Nady stereo condenser mic for room/audience

Focusrite Saffire Pro24 preamp/interface

Logic 8 for recording, editing, mixing

Soundtrack Pro for mastering

MacBook Pro

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Devo video, live in San Francisco, 14 Jan 2012,

I took the stereo FOH mix from the board (with kind permission from the band) and combined it with my audience mics (which involved some extensive mixing/mastering/fixing) for the complete audio mix. As far as the video goes, the wide shot is my camera, and then using Final Cut Pro X I edited in some of the random fan videos I found of the same show for the B roll shots.

This is their famous deconstruction of the Rolling Stones’ song Satisfaction, recorded live at The Fillmore, San Francisco, Ca, 14 January 2012.

stereo board mix

Nady stereo condenser mic for room/audience

Focusrite Saffire Pro24 preamp/interface

Logic 8 for recording, editing, mixing

Soundtrack Pro for mastering

MacBook Pro

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