Sometimes you work on songs and love the results. Sometimes they come out quickly, sometimes you have to wait a while, sometimes they never come out at all. A couple of these languishing gems have finally been unearthed…
Frankie Rose recently released “Sorrow String”, a remix I made for the single from her last record Herein Wild. The remix is based around voice, live strings, and Moog bass, and I’m thrilled to have it out in the world. My studio partner Yale Yng-Wong recorded the strings and synth bass, as well as mixing Frankie’s new record Cage Tropical. Cage Tropical is out now on Slumberland Records, and Frankie and her band are on tour now.
I also mixed the single “Asleep at the Wheel” for Fort Lean around the time Daniel Schlett, Jake Aron (my other studio partner, and former member of Fort Lean) and I were finishing mixing their last album Quiet Day. It was one of my favorites from those sessions, and still sounds great years later. Enjoy!
Who is Gil Scott-Heron?, the documentary/memorial film about the late musician and poet, is screening in select theaters and available digitally now. The film, directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (the BAFTA-nominated filmmakers behind the Nick Cave pseudo-doc 20,000 Days on Earth), is more tribute than biography, a heartfelt eulogy by friends and family. I feel honored to have mixed it and been a part of the project. Okayplayer has the screening dates, and the film is available now from iTunes along with the album Nothing New.
Liturgy have been touring hard since the release of The Ark Work, covering both the US and Europe, with more thoughtful press from publications like Village Voice, Chicago Reader, and the Quietus. I worked with the group to integrate samples and MIDI information into their set (all triggered in real-time by Hunter) to portray some of the arrangements from the record without losing any of the live power of the band. If you haven’t listened to the new record The Ark Work yet, stop reading this and go turn this on immediately! It’s an album unlike anything else, and was a surreal pleasure to re-listen to it for the first time since mastering (on clear vinyl, no less!). The Ark Work is out now on Thrill Jockey, and the group has more US dates this summer (with the always-awesome Yvette) and another European tour this fall.
I recently mixed the new album by Dan Friel, entitled Life. I was an early fan of Parts and Labor, met Dan shortly after moving to Brooklyn, and have shared the stage with him, but this is the first time we’ve ever worked together on something. It was a real treat! The new record continues with the palette of blown-out toy keyboard, heavy beats, and mixer feedback, but we worked hard to add more depth and power to the arrangements. Mastered by Sarah Register at the Lodge, Life sounds larger than that – it’s awesome! It should be out later this year on Thrill Jockey.
If you didn’t go see PCPC last fall, the mutato-collabo of Parquet Courts and PC Worship, you really missed out. But fortunately for everyone, there is a live record coming out on Dull Tools! Recorded at Ramsgate Music Hall, I recently mixed and mastered this with Andrew, Austin and Justin. I’m not gonna lie – it turned out waaaay better than any of us anticipated: a surprisingly badass and compelling document of a creative blip from some of my favorite musicians. Here’s a demo of set-opener “Fell Into the Wrong Crowd”.
Parquet Courts also have a couple split 7″s on the way, including another one of the recordings we did during Sunbathing Animal. Check out their cover of Joey Pizza Slice’s “Pretty Girls”.
I spent some time in the studio this spring with a band from NYC called VBA. They’ve toured with Kurt Vile and Blonde Redhead, but this EP is their first recording. We recorded at Seaside Lounge and mixed at Doctor Wu’s, and the sounds are both heavy and brain-y, drawing from the rock experimentation of bands like This Heat and Suicide, with a wallop of psyched-out sludge. Honestly one of the best drum recordings I’ve captured! The EP will hopefully be out soon.
I’ve been doing a lot mastering lately, my own mixes and with others as well. Awards Banquet came into Doctor Wu’s recently to work with me on their debut full length, which was recorded and mixed by Jason Kelly (of Future Punx and Fergus & Geronimo). The album, coming out on Scioto Records, is a super catchy, classic-sounding rock record, like hearing an old friend from your collection for the first time. I also mastered a collection of yoga sutra chants by Caroline McCarter for Yoga RX, recorded and mixed by Ian Saylor (from Turn to Crime)… a very blissful way to spend the afternoon. Unfortunately, the Optimo Music post-punk compilation that I mastered, Now That’s What I Call DIY!, has been postponed due to a cease-and-desist from Sony over the title. I’ll post more details as I get them. And Magical Beasts (the new project from members of the I Ching Quartet) is running a fund-raiser on Pledgemusic to get their album (which I mastered) pressed to vinyl. They’ve almost reached their goal – fans of acoustic folk-pop should definitely check it out!
I’ve also been spending a lot of time with Eaters. We recently created a new sound sculpture called Moment of Inertia, which premiered in May at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA. Chris Duffy (our visuals member) conceived the piece and created the sculpture (a centrifugal-force-powered glass turntable), and Bob and I created the music (cut to acetate by Josh Bonati). The premiere was part of the museum’s Third Thursday series in their Glass Studio, which involved a team of glass artists working under the direction of Chris in tandem with our music and lights. It was a truly unique experience, and fun to step out of the normal performance situations. We’re working to put together an EP based on Moment of Inertia, to be released later this year on Driftless Recordings.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!!! I’m so thrilled to be starting 2014! 2013 was great and all, but there is so much to look forward to over the next few months, I don’t know where to begin…
… maybe with Catherine playing at Sundance this year? I mixed and designed the sound for this short film version of the series by Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer Camp (who also made Marcel the Shell). I’m working on some new shorts with them now, which are just as mind-numbingly weird and funny.
… or maybe with the preview screening of The Poisoner on January 10th at Lincoln Hall? It’s the strange and beautiful second feature film by my friend Chris Hefner, which we mixed last month at my studio in Brooklyn – check out the official trailer. Daniel Knox provided an alluring score, and will be performing live at the screenings. I highly recommend all Chicagoans reading this to buy tickets for this screening.
… I know! Maybe with the release of the remix of “Sorrow” I made for Frankie Rose! I mixed it at Doctor Wu’s, based on a string arrangement by Grayson Sanders of Snowmine, with my studio partner Yale Yng-Wong executing a beautiful Moog bass part before taking a nap.
… but I should probably first just take a few moments to reflect on how great 2013 was. Sure, it had its difficult bits, but I had opportunity after opportunity to make and do good work with good people. I spent a month in India; travelled around the states with friends, family, and colleagues; made an album with my boy Bob Jones (EATERS 2014 BABY!); made lots of new friends; and did some of the best work of my life. I can only hope that things will continue that way in 2014.
… and I have to spend a minute marveling at the success of Parquet Courts and Light Up Gold. These guys have become really close friends of mine over the last couple years since we banged this out in their practice space, and I couldn’t be happier about everything coming their way. Their music made countless year-end lists – from Pitchfork (Light Up Gold, “Stoned and Starving”, and the cover art) and Rolling Stone (Light Up Gold, “Stoned and Starving”, and writer/VH1-talking-head Rob Sheffield’s personal list), to NPR (Sound Opinions’ numbers 1 and 2 top album) and Associated Press, to Other Music and Amoeba Music – pretty much everyone loved it. And who could forget Tally All the Things That You Broke? Its release sealed the deal, as far as I’m concerned. We’re going upstate tomorrow to finish recording the new record at Outlier Inn – fingers crossed that people will love it too.
I hope everyone has something to look forward to in the coming months! Thanks for reading, and please write if you’d like to talk about sound – jonathan.schenke[at]gmail.com
Screens, the new album by Forest Fire, is out now on Fat Cat Records. I love this record. Even though I worked really intensely with the band for two months last fall – co-producing, engineering, and mixing the record – I’ve played it over and over leading up to the release, and it still feels new. I’m seriously proud of this record, and am thrilled that it’s out for everyone to hear.
There’s been some really enthusiastic press for it so far: Bowlegs Music reviewed the album, saying “Both timeless and modern, Screens is a moving record that inspires critical thought and reflection,” and did a hilarious and informative interview with Mark. 7 Bit Arcade and Northern Transmissions both rave about it. And The 405 writes “After promising so much with their initial releases, Forest Fire have delivered an album that is frequently beautiful, raw and poignant in equal measure. Let it deservedly rocket to the top of your end-year list and, believe me when I say, you’re about to have a new favourite band.”
I was particularly excited when I found out that famed electronic producer Andrew Weatherall debuted “Annie”, maybe my favorite song from the record, on his podcast. It’s an 11-minute Sister Ray-style psychedelic synth trip, and totally kills. You can download and stream the whole set – skip to 24:35 to check it out!
The other project-that-I-worked-on-a-while-ago-and-am-psyched-on-people-getting-to-experience debuting this week is The Fuzz!! It’s a buddy-comedy/crime-drama web series the New York Times calls “clever and oddly exciting.” My friend Duncan Skiles directed it, and stayed up for almost three days straight at the end of post-production to make it as excellent as it could be (I know this because he was sitting on my couch for a lot of that time!). Check it out!
I just wrapped up the new single by my buddies Future Punx, which is essentially the last touring incarnation of Fergus & Geronimo minus Andrew, and picks up the agitated interplanetary dance punk of Funky Was the State of Affairs and runs with it. They recorded it themselves on their Tascam 388, I transferred it to my computer and did overdubs, and mixed and mastered it at my home studio. I’m suuuuuper psyched on how the songs turned out! Expect the 7″ soon on Dull Tools.
I recently completed a remix for my friend Frankie Rose of the song “Sorrow” from her upcoming record Herein Wild. It’s based around an alternate string arrangement by Grayson Sanders (Snowmine), and was mixed at Doctor Wu’s, with assistance from my boy Yale Yng-Wong (who also recorded the strings). I don’t know how it’s being released, but I can’t wait for people to hear it!!
Also, I just mixed this “Born in 1928” ad campaign for Cole Haan. Imagine my surprise when I opened the files and heard Maya Angelou sing!
Thanks for checking out the site! Please get in touch if you wanna talk sound: jonathan[dot]schenke[at]gmail[dot]com
I spent a week in the studio this month with Beverly, the new band by Frankie Rose and Drew Citron (of Avan Lava and Frankie’s touring band). We did a round of tracking at their practice space, a bunch of vocals and overdubs at Doctor Wu’s, and a few days of editing and mixing at my place. The songs are really cool – punky and melodic, on a real Last Splash/Pacer tip, with killer vocal harmonies. We’re taking some time off to work on other projects, but I’m really looking forward to getting back into it in a couple months… I think people are really going to love this!
I’ve been doing some mastering over the last few weeks too…. I mastered an album by the Chicago band Warmbloods (featuring members of Watchers and Low Skies). It was particularly fun to work on since my old studio mate/mentor from Experimental Sound Studio Jacob Ross played on and recorded it…
I also worked on a reissue series of the 80s Australian band The Sunday Painters, remastering from transfers of the original reels. Their three EPs and two LPs were self-released in the early 80s in very limited numbers (like 250-500 copies each), and have long been out of print. The sound really runs the gamut across the releases, ostensibly a punk band but with songs ranging from almost twee pop to full-on noise and everything in between. I think a good frame of reference would be some intersection between Big Black, Swell Maps, and Flying Nun records. A lot of really good stuff here, I’m really looking forward for these to come out.
My good friend Chris Hefner is nearing completion of his new feature film The Poisoner. To raise the last of the funds (for Daniel Knox‘s score and sound mix by yours truly, among other things), he’s holding a presale in the form of a Deluxe Investor Ticket – a limited-edition, signed and numbered, screen printed ticket for a special screening of the film after its completion. I’m a big fan of Chris as both an artist and a person, and am really looking forward to working with him on this over the summer. Check out a teaser above.
Chris has also posted The Pink Hotel, his first feature (which I also mixed), in its entirety. Get spooky!
But honestly, the thing I’m most excited about doing right now is going back into the studio with Parquet Courts! We’ll be at Seaside Lounge for tracking (where Andrew and I did Fergus & Geronimo’s Funky was the State of Affairs), and Doctor Wu’s for mixing.. two of my favorite studios in NYC. They’ve got a bunch of new stuff ready to lay down to tape, and we’re all eager to get in there to see what happens. They’re also playing some sick shows coming up, opening for the Roots at BAM(!) and the Breeders(!!). If you still can’t get enough, here’s some videos from Vice/Noisey and MTV getting in on the action.
Please write me at jonathan.schenke[at]gmail.com if you wanna talk about sound. Thanks for reading through all this!
Earlier this year, I mastered a remix album of TJ Miller‘s stuff, which is called The Extended Play EP Illegal Art Remix Tape and it’s out now! It’s got a bunch of remixes from the Illegal Art stable – Steinski, Junk Culture, Bran Flakes, Touch People…. it’s wild. Consequence of Sound is streaming the album in its entirety on their site, so check it out!
I’ve been mixing the new album by Austin band Sweet Talk over the last few days. It makes me feel like I should be down on 6th Street, drinking Shiner Bock and debating Scorchy’s and El Chilito… it really does! The songs ride that line between punk and power-pop, and there are some real gems in there… should be wrapping up today.
Last week, I did sound design and mixing for a new Intel Ultrabook ad campaign…
… and tomorrow I’m heading out for a short tour with Frankie Rose and her gang. We’re hitting the midwest and northeast, so come out if you’re around! We’ll be here:
Wed-Sep-26 Washington, DC Rock and Roll Hotel
Fri-Sep-28 Cincinnati, OH MidPoint Music Festival
Sat-Sep-29 Champaign, IL Pygmalion Festival
Sun-Sep-30 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
Mon-Oct-01 Cleveland, OH Beachland Ballroom
Tue-Oct-02 Buffalo, NY Soundlab
Wed-Oct-03 Albany, NY Valentine’s
Thu-Oct-04 Boston, MA Brighton Music Hall
Thanks for checking this out – please write if you’d like! jonathan.schenke [at] gmail.
I spent this past weekend working with Frankie Rose and her awesome band. I hadn’t worked with them for almost 10 months, and it was great to be back with the gang. We did a show at Prospect Park in Brooklyn with Little Dragon, which was recorded and rebroadcast by NPR. It’s always a little strange to hear a board feed after the fact, but I was really pleased with how it sounded. Check out the whole thing here on the NPR Music site. We’re doing a short tour this September too, for those of you in the midwest and east coast!
Lost Coast, a record by Ryan Daniel Hammer that I mastered last year, was recently pressed to vinyl. It’s a really good ambient record, dark but also melodic… very cool. The video for “888” is above, you can stream and download the whole record on his bandcamp, and purchase an LP directly from Positive Beat Recordings.
I recently mastered Rosenwasser, the new LP by Pittsburgh’s Psychic Boots. It’s a weird and wooly journey of art rock and damaged psychedelia. I’m not really sure where to begin with comparisons… just check out some rough mixes from the record on their bandcamp page, or their Junk Food EP.
I’m really psyched for this Saturday, when Parquet Courts are having a record release show for Light Up Gold at Death By Audio in Brooklyn. I’m so proud of that record – it was a blast to make and turned out incredible – and really excited for everyone to hear it. Andrew and Austin from the band did an interview recently on East Village Radio to hype the show, which is pretty rad. I’ve got plenty more to say about it next week when it drops, but in the meantime you can stream and pre-order the LP on their bandcamp page, and check out the video for the title track above.
Thanks for checking all this jibberish out, hope you like some of it, and feel free to say “hey” at jonathan.schenke[at]gmail.com.
The tour with Frankie Rose and Dirty Beaches was totally awesome! Everyone in both bands was a blast to be on the road with, and the sets by both bands were uniformly excellent. Thanks so much to Frankie for having me along, and to all my new friends from the road – you guys rule.
I ended up returning to Montreal with Alex & the Dirty Beaches gang after the tour to do some recording for an upcoming EP. If you saw any of these dates recently, then you probably have an idea of what to expect – dark, loop-based mutant funk, accented with poly-rhythmic percussion and effected sax skronk & drones. If you didn’t get a chance to check out the set, think of the new Lone Runner single, but wilder. We banged out 6+ songs in one marathon all-nigher session, and we’re all excited to see what comes of them.
The debut album by Natural Harbors, called The Most Vernal of Equinoxes, is available now for download on his Bandcamp page (that’s the album art above). I mastered this album earlier this year, and am thrilled to see that it’s out in the world. It’s a really engaging collection of electro/acoustic pop songs with wildly inventive arrangements and production. A limited-edition lathe-cut LP will be available via Positive Beat Recordings later this year.
In other news, I’m mastering a couple records some of my favorite Chicago bands (Cacaw and Unmanned Ship), finishing a compilation for my SOUNGS Label, and scouting out studio spaces with Ben Greenberg (who operated Python Patrol Studios). Exciting shit!!
Thanks for stopping by! Hit me up if you want to chat: jonathan[dot]schenke[at]gmail[dot]com
I’m heading out on tour with Frankie Rose & the Outs and Dirty Beaches, doing sound over the next couple of weeks. Everyone in both bands is supremely sweet, and the trip includes some stops in both Chicago and Cleveland, my old stompin’ grounds. Check out these rad dates:
I recently mixed a few songs with my friends in NO FUN, which were recorded quick and dirty in their practice space last month. They sound good and rowdy, as they should! The songs should be online soon.