NYC synth punks Operator Music Band are back with the 3-song EP Deep Break. I mixed two new songs (Is This Reason and Invertigo), the third song was tracked with the band that toured behind their excellent album Duo Duo, and I mastered all three tracks at Studio Windows. This is a group that has always shined in the EP format (Coordination is still a personal fave), and this is yet another collection of fun/weird synth groovers. Check out Deep Break (and Duo Duo and Coordination) on their Bandcamp, and also check out L0-Rez, Operator Jared’s FX + Synth company (the Mona Lisa Overdrive pedal and Operator Modular Synth both get regular use at Studio Windows).
Happy New Year & Decade!
Of the dozens of albums & singles I worked on that came out in 2019, Phantom Rhythm by Gong Gong Gong is particularly near & dear to my heart. I produced/recorded/mixed the record (and earlier singles) with the group starting back in 2017, and played the works-in-progress for friends & colleagues, leading to tours with Parquet Courts, Bodega, and Flasher and a relationship with the always-interesting Wharf Cat Records. Unsurprisingly, this fresh take on “multinational blues” made its way onto a number of Best Of 2019 lists, including Loud and Quiet, Aquarium Drunkard, and Raven Sings the Blues, as well as writers’ lists in The Wire and The Guardian.
Phantom Rhythm also made its way onto Post Trash‘s Best of 2019 list, where it shares space alongside Duo Duo by electro-rock whiz kids Operator Music Band (another personal fave that I co-produced/recorded/mixed), and two records that I mastered: noise-punks Weeping Icon’s self-titled debut and Dehd’s stellar breakup-pop LP Water.
Gimme Tinitus‘s Best of 2019 also featured Gong Gong Gong, Operator Music Band, and Weeping Icon, as well as Brooklyn noise-rock duo ESSi and their mind-bending debut Vital Creatures (which I co-produced/recorded/mixed/mastered).
Perhaps the most touching was seeing Parquet Courts in a number of Best of the Decade lists. The albums I produced with them (and Light Up Gold in particular) launched the band’s career, and were massively important for me and my trajectory as a producer/engineer. In the seven years since Light Up Gold was first released, I’ve watched their popularity and stature steadily rise, as their name became a short-hand comparison for literate, catchy punk bands. Nevertheless, it was humbling and exciting to see Light Up Gold rank #16 in Rolling Stone (and #2 in writer Rob Sheffield’s personal list), #37 in BrooklynVegan (and #7 in writer Bill Pearis’ personal list), #39 in AV Club, #41 in Treble, #78 in Vice, and #80 in Stereogum; Sunbathing Animal rank #140 in Pitchfork; and their break-out single “Stoned and Starving” rank #16 in Rolling Stone and #89 in Stereogum.
Snail Mail’s Lush also graced a number of these Best of 2010s lists. I helped to record the album, which was produced & mixed by my studio partner Jake Aron. Lush was undoubtedly important not just to the music culture of the last couple years, but also to our work: it was the first album tracked in the new Outlier Inn (where I’ve recorded many albums since Sunbathing Animal in the studio’s previous setup), and the first album mixed in our own Studio Windows. Lush ranked #48 in Stereogum and #122 in Pitchfork, and its lead-single “Pristine” ranked #87 in Stereogum and #97 in Pitchfork.
One last thing I almost missed: Catherine – the short film & web series by Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp (the minds behind Marcel The Shell With Shoes On) was featured in Vulture’s Favorite Comedy Moments of the Decade. I don’t do much for sound-for-film these days, but this was certainly a highlight for me, and I’m happy to see it still getting some (admittedly confused) love.
I’m looking forward to 2020, with the debut album Person by my new group P.E. scheduled in March, alongside albums I’ve produced for Pottery, Public Practice, Dougie Poole, and Brandy also arriving this spring. Regardless of how arbitrary Best Of lists can seem, it does feel like a great way to start off the new year & decade…. thanks for reading & listening.
NYC synth-rockers Operator Music Band are back with their new album Duo Duo. I’ve mixed the band’s past couple (excellent) releases (Puzzlephonics and Coordination), and this is my favorite work that we’ve done yet. Don’t take my word for it – both Gold Flake Paint and Pop Bollocks both wrote glowing reviews: “Flamboyant, buzzing with energy, it’s a beautiful piece of art-pop, mirroring the spread of colours found across the album’s imagery. Meticulously produced, the record succeeds in that rare triumph of feeling both freely loose and exquisitely sequenced, able to follow-up regimented beats with a burst of shiny exuberance; a sudden burst of firework against a grey and plaintive sky.” I helped with production and recording (alongside Henry Terepka, Lorenzo Wolff, and the band) and mixed the record at Studio Windows. Duo Duo is out now on Broken Circles – pick up a copy and stream below!
NYC electronic-rock quartet Operator Music Band return with “Rex”, the newest single (and one of my personal favorites) from their upcoming LP Duo Duo. I co-produced (with Henry Terepka of Zula), co-recorded (with Lorenzo Wolff and the band) and mixed the record at Studio Windows. Fun Fact: the cover sculpture was designed and built by my Eaters collaborator Christopher Duffy! Listen to “Rex” below, along with their previous singles “Mondo” and “Slim Spin”. Duo Duo is out October 4 via Broken Circles.
Brooklyn-based synth-rock groovers Operator Music Band are back with their new album Duo Duo. I’ve worked with them a few times over the years – mixing and mastering the Coordination EP and Puzzlephonics I & II – and I was thrilled to dig deeper with them on this one. In many ways, it’s their first “proper” LP, and it stands as the culmination of all of the recorded experiments and incredibly tight live shows to date. I worked on production and recording (alongside Henry Terepka, Lorenzo Wolff, and the band), and mixed the record over the winter at Studio Windows. Check out their first single “Slim Spin” below, read the reviews on Brooklyn Vegan and Pop Bollocks, and keep an eye out for more soon to come. Duo Duo is out September 20 on Broken Circles.
Kraut-pop combo Operator Music Band just released their new Coordination EP. This is the second recording I’ve mixed/mastered for the group (after this spring’s Puzzlephonics I & II), and features production by Zula‘s Henry Terepka and drums by Ava Luna‘s Julian Fader. The EP (streaming above) has already received great write-ups by AdHoc, Post-Trash, and PopBollocks, and is out now via New Professor Music.
Operator Music Band just released a new single called ‘Realistic Saturation’ via Stereogum. The song is from their upcoming Coordination EP, which was produced by Zula’s Henry Terepka and mixed/mastered by me at Doctor Wu’s. The Coordination EP comes out 12/1 via New Professor Music, and you can listen to ‘Realistic Saturation’ below.
New music by Parquet Courts, the Drums, PC Worship, Turn to Crime, The Britanys, Dougie Poole, Operator Music Band and more…
To kick things off, Parquet Courts‘ collaboration with Bun B finally came out! They debuted this version of “Captive of the Sun” on Colbert last summer with members of PC Worship, Blues Control, and my bandmate Bob Jones. Austin Brown and I went into Doctor Wu’s shortly after that to put together this remix, which has a chopped n’ screwed version by DJ Candlestick and OG Ron C on the B-side. Pitchfork premiered the track, along with a Houston rap playlist by Young Doc Gooden (fka Austin Brown)… so proud to still have my 713- number. Pick it up on limited-edition LP via Rough Trade, and check out the lyric video below.
I was also super excited to see the premiere of The Drums‘ new single “Blood Under My Belt”. Pitchfork premiered the song last week, as the first single from the new record “Abysmal Thoughts”. Bandleader Jonny Pierce and I worked together last summer at Doctor Wu’s, disassembling his demos and rebuilding them into something else entirely. I’m really happy to have recorded and mixed this album, and I can’t wait for more of it to be released. Mastered by Joe LaPorta at Sterling Sound, “Abysmal Thoughts” will be released in June on Anti-.
PC Worship – one of my favorite groups going – released their new album Buried Wish, which I had the pleasure to master and help sequence with Justin Frye. All of the PC Worship records (and many PC Worship songs) have their own series of detours and digressions, which is particularly true of this album – it veers from ornate horn arrangements to grunge-sludge stomp to acoustic/field recording meanderings and everywhere else in between. Hopefully you caught them on tour with Naomi Punk, but either way you should catch them next month with The Dreebs. Check out the great press in Pitchfork, Noisey, and Clrvynt, and pick up Buried Wish on Northern Spy now.
My fellow electro-rock weirdos Turn to Crime released their latest (fourth? sixth?) record Secondary in early February. Derek Stanton records all of the music himself at his own Molten Sound studio in Detroit, and you can hear that freedom of creativity and amazing collection of gear throughout each of his records. Secondary, which I mixed and Sarah Register mastered last year, is my personal favorite – “Chasing”, “Dead Man”, and the title track are all undeniable gems. Check out these features on Noisey and Brooklyn Vegan, and pick up the record through Mugg and Bopp.
Bushwick rock+rollers The Britanys released their debut EP Five A Side, which premiered with an enthusiastic NME review. We recorded these songs in two different sessions, deciding in the end to go with the stripped-down basement recordings for this EP – they just rocked harder! Check them out at SXSW, and stream/purchase Five A Side from the group’s Bandcamp.
Electronic country-crooner Dougie Poole released his debut LP Wideass Highway on JMC Aggregate. I mixed and mastered this strange and beautiful record last year, and was happy to see it featured in both FADER and Ad Hoc. Do yourself a favor and pick it up at Dougie’s Bandcamp.
Fuzzy synth rockers Operator Music Band‘s debut LP Puzzlephonics I & II came out last week. The album pairs two EPs (recorded by band member Dara Hirsch) which we mixed and mastered at Doctor Wu’s last fall. Stereogum and Brooklyn Vegan both featured the group, who is heading out on tour this week toward SXSW. Pick up a copy now on New Professor Music, and stream it below.
My German indie-rock buddies Behave! released a video for “Someone”, the first single from the record we did last summer in Hannover. It was a pleasure working with the group over there on a Studer A800 with a bunch of vintage German mics, and I’m really happy with the results, which I mixed and mastered back in NYC. If you read German, you may enjoy this interview on Diffus, but even if you don’t, you’ll probably enjoy the song (it’s in English).
NYC alterna-singer-songwriter Tica Douglas’ new single “The Same Thing” was recently released. The Wild Honey Pie and Gold Flake Paint both featured the track, which I mixed and mastered as part of the new record Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help and Protect Us. 2014’s Joey was released to great reviews, and I’m excited that this one will be released on Team Love later in May. Stay tuned…
In a similarly off-kilter-folk vein, Dark Tea’s debut EP was released last month. I mastered this for Gary Canino, who also plays in the fierce NYC punk band Rips. CLRVYNT wrote about the EP, and you can purchase it on Bandcamp.
And Brian Chillemi (also of shredders Junk Boys) released a video single for the new song “Child of the Earth” (which I mastered). Read about it on Impose, and buy the track on Bandcamp.
Also released: Eventide debuted their new plugin ‘Fission‘. It’s the first in their line of “Structural Effects”, which separates the transient and tonal information of a source, and allows you to effect each separately. I consulted with the designers Russ & Tom and my friend Joe Waltz early on in the process of development, and contributed a handful of presents to the plugin. Check out this explanation here and download the demo now!
I spent some time upstate this past month, checking out the progress on the incredible new control room at Outlier Inn (where I recorded Parquet Courts’ Sunbathing Animal and Honduras’ Rituals). I always loved visiting and working at the space, but with this new room (designed by Wes Lachot) and new console (Tom Elmhirst’s modified Neve VR 72), it’s going to be a truly incredible place to make a record. I can’t wait for the opening this May.
I also spent some time with Acid Dad, recording and co-producing their debut LP. We recorded the basics to my Otari MX-5050 at their studio upstate, and mixed it in Brooklyn at Doctor Wu’s. It’s a fierce and fun album – I’m excited for people to hear this one. Check them out later this month on the road with Honduras.
One last thing: I posted a new Soundcloud playlist too, if you’re interested in hearing a mix of different things I’ve worked on.
Thanks for reading all of this!
Happy New Year everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve updated the site – it was crazy end to 2016…
My group Eaters put together an installation of sound and light sculptures at Knockdown Center in December. Entitled Eyes Have Brightened, the exhibition opened as part of the massive Parquet Courts event (where I mixed their set as well) and was up through the end of the season. From the statement:
Building on the visual and sonic vocabulary of their unique live music performances, the show features sound and light sculptures and immersive installation elements by Christopher Duffy. This will be the New York premiere of their performative sound sculpture ‘Moment of Inertia’, and will feature a new soundtrack for the installation composed by Bob Jones and Jonathan Schenke.
At Chris’ suggestion, Bob and I spent a few days making some improvised, beat-less instrumental music for the installation. Prisms, the resulting soundtrack album, was featured on Brooklyn Vegan and AdHoc, who called it “transportive… full of minimalist tones, Prisms oscillates between hopeful and buoyant swells to eerie and confounding synths.” Prisms is streaming below, and available to download from Bandcamp.
Tangentially, I was featured in an Eventide video, where I discussed their new TEC Award-nominated plugin TVerb. I was a consultant and “alpha-tester” for the plugin (which is inspired by Tony Visconti’s recording techniques employed on David Bowie’s “Heroes”), and used it throughout the mixing of the upcoming sophomore Eaters LP (due this spring on Dull Tools). Check out the video on Eventide’s Facebook page.
NYC psych-punks The Men released their sixth album Devil Music in November. The back-to-basics LP was recorded live-to-tape in their practice space by Jordan Lovelace (of Pampers and Tournament), and I mixed/mastered it at Doctor Wu’s with the group last spring. Many reviewers have used terms like “raw”, “caustic”, “cathartic”, and “primal” – all of which are apt descriptions for this awesome show of force. Devil Music is available on LP/download now via We Are The Men/Sacred Bones, and is streaming below.
Speaking of Tournament, the rawk-n-rollers released their new EP Take The Wheel via Colonel Records in October. Also tracked live-to-tape by Jordan and mixed/mastered by me with the band at Doctor Wu’s, the EP is six songs of rowdy good-times. As Noisey put it: “there is nothing more true to the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll—as it was originally intended, that is—as playing your heart out in a garage as if it were a packed, smoke-filled arena.” Take The Wheel is available now on LP, cassette and download via Colonel Records, and is streaming below.
Shop Talk‘s self-titled debut was released on LP last fall as well. The group plays a kind of melodic, slightly twangy, classic “punk” – instantly recognizable yet completely its own thing. Kyle Keays-Hagerman tracked the band at his studio and I recorded the vocals and mixed/mastered it at Doctor Wu’s, wrapping it up back in 2015. The band (featuring members of Queening, Liturgy, and Pygmy Shrews) has done a couple tours and a bunch of local shows since then, and has been covered in The Deli and Brooklyn Vegan, so it’s awesome to see this get a proper pressing. Shop Talk is out now on Brainbox Records and is streaming below.
I worked with Operator Music Band on their debut full-length Puzzlephonics I & II in October. They’re a Brooklyn quartet who create electronic pop songs around relentless motorik grooves with tag-team male/female vocals. Dara Hirsch (one of the singer/guitarist/synth players) recorded the songs at Gravesend Recordings (in the Silent Barn), and we mixed and mastered it at Doctor Wu’s. The album will be out later this year on New Professor Music – in the meantime, take the opportunity to check out their single Materielmusik, go see them live (a real treat!), or pick up one of the pedals made by Jared Hiller (the other co-singer/guitarist/synth player) and his company L0/Rez…the Mona Lisa Overdrive is one of the most insane things I’ve plugged in!
In November, I mixed and mastered the new record by Tica Douglas, entitled Our Lady Star of the Sea, Help Us and Protect Us. Tica’s last record Joey was featured in Pitchfork, Impose, and other zines, and this new one was recorded by Ryan Dieringer (who co-produced Joey as well) in various locations upstate. I really admire the ambition of this record – which shifts from intimate, singer/songwriter moments to densely-packed arrangements featuring horns, synths, and a rocking band – and I had the songs stuck in my head for weeks. Our Lady Star of the Sea will be out later this year on Team Love Records.
I also mastered a few singles at the end of the year: The Tills’ “I Don’t Wanna Be Here Blues” (which has a killer video, and whose upcoming album Shannin I mastered last year as well), Dark Tea’s “Providence Sky” (a side project of Gary Canino of the band Rips – check the Impose feature and accompanying video too), and a pair of singles by Brian Chillemi and his band Junk Boys.
Video-wise: In and Out of Control, a short film by Emir Eralp featuring a score by Eaters, has continued to receive wide acclaaim, winning accolades in Istanbul, Berlin, London, and other festivals around the world. And Hospital Head Doctor – a short film by Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate (of Marcel the Shell, Catherine, and other projects) which I sound-designed and mixed back in 2015 – was recently released and awarded a Vimeo Staff Pick. Watch it below.
Thanks for reading. Please feel free to write me at: jonathan [dot] schenke [at] gmail [dot] com.