Gil Scott Heron
Photo by Mischa Richter

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 VoiceChicago 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”.

A couple of cool compilations that featured some of my work were recently released, like 50 Bands and a Cat for Indiana Equality (featuring a live Protomartyr rendition of “Jumbo’s” that I recorded and mixed) and Reanimator Records’ Fiends in Low Places (which has my remix of “Sorrow” by Frankie Rose, along with heavy hitters by Protomartyr and PC Worship).

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!

Photo by Echard Wheeler
Photo by Echard Wheeler

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.

Eaters also hit the road with Shabazz Palaces recently for a Midwest tour.  Those guys are incredible; it was truly inspirational to watch them play every night.  We’re doing more dates in the Northeast with them in August (including August 5th at Music Hall of Williamsburg), which I’m already looking forward to.  In the meantime, we’re playing this Friday (June 19) at Alphaville (great spot in Bushwick) with Future Punx (our brother/sister band) and Nuraxi (psyched to see them!)

Thanks for reading – please feel free to drop me a line if you want to talk about sound!

 

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…

Catherine

… 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.

The Poisoner @ Lincoln Hall

… 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.

Light Up Gold Cover

… 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