Mazes - Wooden Aquarium

Two very different but equally exciting records that I worked on drop this week – Wooden Aquarium by the British band Mazes and Social Rust by Brooklyn’s own PC Worship.  I love the way both of these records sound and I love both of these bands, so it’s wonderful to see so many reviews remarking on the sonic quality and calling them both the best of each band’s work.

I produced the Mazes record this past February, recording it upstate at the Fat Cat studio and mixing it at Doctor Wu’s over the course of two weeks.  It was a crazy bonding experience – everyone jet-lagged (I had just got back from Australia), the rental van getting robbed outside my apartment (my bag with my laptop, hard drives, camera – gone), getting snowed in upstate and digging our way up to the studio – and I think that intensity and camaraderie really comes across.  DIY Magazine has been all over Wooden Aquarium, with a glowing review, an interview with Jack Cooper, and a track-by-track stream and guide; NME gave it a 8/10 review; and it was BBC Radio 6’s Album of the Day last week.  Alan Douches did a great job on the master – this record sounds incredible.  Wooden Aquarium is out now on Fat Cat Records.

PC Worship - Social Rust

Social Rust is just nuts.  I mixed and mastered the thing so I’ve probably heard it more times and more in depth than anyone aside from lead-worshipper Justin Frye, and there are things that still catch me by surprise.  This record sounds unlike any other record I’ve ever worked on – a mud-and-blood spattered, moth-eaten tapestry of absurdity – and I love it.  Ad Hoc interviewed Justin about the record, and Impose Magazine raved: “Social Rust is PC Worship at their very best, even if their best is dissonant and unsettling, voyeuristic and creepy, maniacal and rapturous. Maybe it’s a reflection of the times, or maybe it’s just a good record. Either way, listen to it and lose yourself a little.”  I couldn’t agree more.  Social Rust is out now on Northern Spy / Dull Tools.

Also out this week is the re-release of Mannequin Pussy’s Gypsy Pervert, re-mastered and re-sequenced on vinyl for the first time.  I mixed this with them last year, and it’s killer – I’m really psyched to see it getting another life.  Check out this interview they did with Impose recently, and go see them when they come through your town soon.  Gypsy Pervert is out now on Tiny Engines.

And out next week (September 16th) is the newest single in Famous Class Records’ LAMC series (#13) – Parquet Courts b/w Future Punx.  It’s kinda like the return of Fergus & Geronimo…  “This is Happening Now” was recorded during the Sunbathing Animal sessions and mixed this summer, “Spike Train” was recorded and mixed by Jason Kelly, and I mastered both sides.  All proceeds go to VH1 Save the Music – a non-profit dedicated to music education in public schools.

Parquet Courts also recently released a music video for “Bodies Made Of” recorded live at their show at Sugar Hill Supper Club this summer, and directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (whose amazing Nick Cave pseudo-doc 20,000 Days on Earth comes out later this month).  I recorded, mixed, and mastered this bad boy too.

I recently went on a road trip to Cleveland to see the opening of the new university center at Case Western Reserve University, which houses Welcome to Cleveland, a new interactive installation I worked on with Thu Tran, Ivan Safrin, and Bobo Do.  It was incredible to see and hear our work in the space, and surreal to be back on my old campus and honored at the opening.  Check out that photo below for an idea of what I’m talking about (that game on screen is inspired by the 1986 Balloon Fest, where your head controls a helicopter and you try to pop as many balloons as possible).  The games were as completely silly and weird in real life as we had hoped, so it was extra exciting to get to work with Thu, Ivan and Bobo on a new game this month.  I’m sure more will be announced about it soon, but it’s even sillier and even weirder than the others.

Welcome to Cleveland

I also had the opportunity this past month to do some sound design and mixing for Mary Harron (director of American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol, and The Notorious Bettie Page).  The short film is part of an upcoming series about the US economy produced by director Morgan Spurlock and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and is a black comedy about the healthcare system.  It was fantastic to be a part of this project, and hey – I learned something too!  The New York Times ran a story about the series, which airs this fall.

I’ve been doing more mastering recently as well, working on a split EP with Tonstartssbandht and Hot & Cold, finishing up the Beech Creeps record from this summer, and mastering a single by Von Hack.

And while I’ve been doing a lot of post-production this month, I did get a chance to break out the MX-5050 with the band Pocket Hercules down at Seaside Lounge.  The tracks sound cool, we’ll be mixing in a couple weeks at Doctor Wu’s.

Eaters have been keeping busy too.  We have a show this Saturday (September 13) with Survive from Austin, TX, an incredible band live by all accounts – get your tickets and come on out!  We’ve got some new material coming out this month, including a track on the newly-announced Driftless Ambient 1 compilation.  And more shows soon, including a tour with Lace Curtain (a Total Control/Rat Columns offshoot) and some CMJ shows.

Heavy Metal ChristmasHo Ho Ho Everybody!  The holidaze are upon us, and Cole Haan put together this heavy rendition of Jingle Bells by Unlocking the Truth to celebrate!  I recorded the band at Seaside Lounge and mixed it at home… gotta love that double kick.  Shout out to director Ben Hughes for all the Coil albums he gave me.

I’ve been doing a bit of mastering over the last few weeks.  I mixed and mastered an epic collaborative “transnational blues” jam with Alex from Dirty Beaches and Josh and Simon from Hot & Cold.  I blended a field recorded and iphone recording, which turned out really cool, and mastered it at my home studio.

Tyvek - Blunt Instrumental 2

I transferred and remastered the out-of-print Blunt Instrumental 2 tape by Tyvek for re-release on Dull Tools.  Wild shit!  She Speaks in Tongues from Chicago also had me master their record recently, which should see release in early 2014.

Light Up Gold Cover

As the year wraps up, out come the year-end lists.  I’m beyond thrilled to see my boys Parquet Courts up there already… Light Up Gold has so far made it onto lists by Rolling Stone (#11) and Paste Magazine (#23), and the cover made it to Pitchfork’s best album art (#15).  I’m psyched to see what else is in store for the record, and can barely wait to head up to Outlier Inn in the new year to finish the next record!

I’m wrapping the year with a couple film projects (with my good friend from Chicago Chris Hefner, and loveable weirdos Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate of Catherine and Marcel the Shell renown/infamy), and continuing to prep for Eaters to come out next year.  Thanks for checking things out… holler at me if you wanna talk sound: jonathan[dot]schenke [at] gmail[dot]com