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.

eaters_knockdown_center_2016_05_photo_steven_probert
‘Eyes Have Brightened’ installation shot, photo by Steven Probert

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.

Coming out next month: new releases by PC Worship, Turn to Crime, Dougie Poole, The Britanys!

Thanks for reading.  Please feel free to write me at: jonathan [dot] schenke [at] gmail [dot] com.

Spin Band of the Year 2014

Well… there goes 2014.  It seems like only a short while ago that I was shaking off NYE and going upstate with Parquet Courts to finish Sunbathing Animal.  That album earned its way onto nearly everyone’s year-end lists, including Spin (#2), Pitchfork (#24), Rolling Stone (#28), NME (#35), and Stereogum (#50).  Based on the strength of that record, their follow-up full-length-EP Content Nausea (which featured some outtakes from our SBA/Tally sessions), and months of killer live shows, Spin declared them “2014 Band of the Year”.  The band played a sold-out show at Webster Hall this month – the day the Spin article posted and with homies PC Worship and Blues Control – that felt like a victory lap for everyone involved.  I couldn’t be more thrilled for my dudes, and can’t wait to see what they do in 2015.

 

Mannequin Pussy’s Gypsy Pervert also got some best-of love this year after being reissued on Tiny Engines.  Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone put it as his #9 album of the year (Sunbathing Animal was his #1, holla!), and as the #1 cassette release of the year.  Way to go guys!!

 

And though they didn’t get the year-end accolades that Sunbathing Animal did, PC Worship’s Social Rust, Mazes’ Wooden Aquarium, and Dream Police’s Hypnotized – as well as the Eaters LP (duh) – are some other records that came out in 2014 that I feel very proud to have been a part of.  These are compositionally and sonically interesting albums that you should check out now, if you haven’t already!

Another one of my favorite projects of 2014 is the recently-released second single by glam rockers Fa Bonx.   I. love. these. songs!  The first single sold out and this one’s even better, so don’t wait! “49 Stick” b/w “Tramps Jamble” is out now on What’s Your Rupture?

 

Fort Lean – a band that includes Jake Aron, my studio partner at Doctor Wu’s – are releasing a new record called Quiet Day, their first full-length.  The album was recorded and mixed through 2013 and 2014, and the time and energy spent making it is evident in both their songwriting and arrangements.  Daniel Schlett mixed the bulk of the record at Strange Weather; I mixed one song entirely and did additional mixing with Jake across the rest of the record at Doctor Wu’s.  Quiet Day comes out spring 2015 on Ooh-La-La Records.

 

Also recently released is “Dreams”, the new single by Australian darkwave duo Buzz Kull.  I met Marcel earlier this year while touring Australia with Parquet Courts, and was psyched when he asked me to work with them on this track. Marcel did an interview with Noisey recently (thanks for the shout-out!), and the physical single is out soon on Fabrika Records.

 

Honduras @ Outlier Inn

I spent a week mid-November at Outlier Inn with Honduras, recording their full-length debut.  It was a real treat to be back at Outlier Inn (where we finished Sunbathing Animal) – the gear and vibe there are truly great.  We recorded to my Otari MX-5050, and the band were eager to capture the live energy while pushing into new sonic territories, which gave me a real license to experiment with sounds.  We mixed and mastered at Doctor Wu’s earlier this month, and it’s a truly killer-sounding album.  Look for it spring 2015 on Black Bell Records.

Another record I recently worked on was with a new band called Shop Talk.  Basic tracking was done by my friend Kyle Keays-Hagerman (who I worked with on the Dream Police LP), and I recorded vocals as well as mixed and mastered at Doctor Wu’s.  It’s tightly-wound melodic punk – the metaphor we kept using was “raw nerve” -and turned out way cool.

I also recently mixed a handful of songs for Rat Columns (led by Lace Curtain tour buddy David West).  Rat Columns is way different than his work with Lace Curtain or Total Control – bittersweet, C-86 vibey pop songs.  I’m not sure what’s in store for these tunes, but hopefully they’ll be out soon.

And I’m wrapping up an album by Hums and Haws, the studio project of Chicagoan Matt Kordonowy.  Matt was an intern at Experimental Sound Studio while I worked there, and it’s been great to reconnect and work together on this record.  I’ve mixed many of the songs on the album (ESS engineer Todd Carter mixed the others) and am mastering it now.  The songs on the record are quite varied – from beat-less washes of melody, to grungy pop songs that recall both the Kinks and Beck, to percussion-heavy rockers, and everything in-between – and it was a fun challenge to pull it all together.

I’ve also mastered a few records over the last couple of months: the debut album from new band Lightning Bug (a heady blend of shoegaze mind-numbers, psych-pop ala Broadcast, and ambient drone), the third EP from Railings (rock/pop equal parts dreamy and mathy), and a new album by the I Ching Quartet (acoustic folk ensemble and old friends from Chicago).

I’ll be spending most of the next couple months working on Eaters with my main man Bob Jones.  We’ll be writing and recording new material and have some shows coming up in the new year, including a show with Wham City’s own Dan Deacon (February 25th at Rough Trade NYC).  We got together a couple weeks ago to start plotting out this next record, and recorded this musical gift for everyone.  It’s a cover of “Radioland” by Kraftwerk, based on an arrangement Bob wrote for guitar.

 

Happy holidays y’all – see you in 2015.

Jonny @ Outlier Inn