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.

Doctor Wu's

I had no idea I was a producer you don’t even know you know until I came across this article by Brooklyn Magazine last week.  I’m listed along with such fantastic engineers as Jarvis Taveniere (great guy and fellow MX-5050 enthusiast), Chris Coady, and Shane Stoneback.  Thanks guys – you made my week!

I just finished a new record by NYC punks/goons Nuclear Santa Claust called Je Ne Sais Claust (yes, really).  We tracked it live to the Otari MX-5050 at Seaside Lounge one weekend and mixed and mastered it the next at Doctor Wu’s.  It was a total blast to work on, and a total blast out of the speakers – we harnessed a great Black Flag/Dead Kennedys vibe in sound and intensity, and cracked each other up constantly.  I can’t wait for this to come out on Don Giovanni Records.

 

I’ve also been working on a heart-felt documentary/portrait of Gil Scott Heron.  Told from the perspective of candid interviews with his closest friends and associates, it’s less of a biography and more of a tribute to a departed friend.  It was directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, whose excellent current film 20,000 Days on Earth (a pseudo-doc starring/about Nick Cave) premiered at Sundance and will in theaters nation-wide next month.  I feel very honored to be mixing this film.

I was back in Chicago a couple weeks ago to work again at Pitchfork Music Festival.  I realized it was my eighth year working for the festival, and fifth running sound on the Blue Stage – whoa.  It’s always good to be back with the old crew and see a bunch of old buddies in the Midwest, and it’s the only front-of-house system I’ve ever seen with a Crane Song limiter – I love mixing on that system!  Bonus: in the airport, I came across this two-page article on Parquet Courts in the July issue of Rolling Stone!

PC Worship - Social Rust

I am thrilled to be able to share some music from the new PC Worship record Social Rust.  Pitchfork (and Stereogum and Impose) posted the semi-title track ‘Rust’ last week, to pretty unanimous excitement.  I mixed and mastered this record earlier in the year with lead-Worshipper Justin Frye (who recorded it at Roulette), and we blew each other away with what we came up with.  It’s honestly one of my favorite records I’ve worked on recently, by one of my favorite bands playing, so hold on to your butts.  Social Rust comes out September 9th on Northern Spy / Dull Tools.

 

Another skronk-tastic record I have to share is Jungle Green Meets the Blood Sisters.  Andrew/Jungle Green has worked with me to master his last few releases at Doctor Wu’s, and it’s been really fascinating to hear the growth and diversity of his music.  He’s released two singles of lo-fi doo-wop crooner jams with Kingfisher Bluez, but this new EP is a concentrated burst of no-wave-y freakouts focused around food and girls, featuring The Books‘ Paul de Jong on cello tantrums.  It’s a free download, and worth every penny!

 

And while we’re talking about guys upset about food and girls, I’d like to point out that The Last of the Great Romantics is now available online!  I mixed this film with director Duncan Skiles last fall, and it made the festival circuit earlier this year.  I’m a big fan of this rom-com – it’s clever and funny in an endearingly humble way, and as they point out on their site, cheaper than a cup of coffee!  Check it out!

 

Eaters is playing next week (August 13th) at Nothing Changes (formerly Weird Wednesdays) at Home Sweet Home in Manhattan.  We’ve got a new song in the reportoire, so come hang if you’ve got nothing better to do on a Wednesday night!  We play first, Future Blondes headline.

Thanks for reading this!  I’ve got a lot of great projects on deck, will post more when I can… feel free to reach out at jonathan[dot]schenke [at] gmail[dot]com

Impose Magazine has debuted an exclusive album teaser for the new Fergus & Geronimo record Funky Was the State of Affairs.  Check it out above, or with an accompanying interview on their site.  I’m so excited for this record to drop – we recorded it all-analog last fall (at the wonderful Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn), and it’s a wild trip of a record!  It comes out August 7th on Hardly Art.

The new Starring record ABCD…. is out now on Northern Spy.  I recorded one track for the album, the epic centerpiece “…7…”, and Matt Mehlan (from Skeletons) mixed the record.  MTV (of all publications!) debuted the track recently on their blog!  I really love this record – it’s a great pop/prog experiment – and their recent live shows have been killer.  They’re playing this Saturday at 285 Kent (with another local favorite of mine, PC Worship) and taking off on tour soon with Guardian Alien.  Check out their dates here.

I just finished mixing the new record by Wiccans, Field II, coming soon on Katorga Works.  It’s a rowdy half hour thrill ride, and was a total blast to mix.  I mixed this at my home studio and over at Doctor Wu’s.  Check out the album info here and an umastered track from the album here!

We’re doing some renovations at Doctor Wu’s this weekend, as the studio is continuing to come together.  I’ve worked on a few projects there so far, and everything has come out incredible.  If you want to check it out some time, just get in touch!

Thanks, as always, for checking out this site!  Please feel free to reach out if you’re so inclined; my email is jonathan.schenke [at] gmail.com