Monday, July 26, 2010

Materialized - Songs About Music

Recently received the finished cd from two of my favorite Bay Area musicians, Dave Pellicciaro and Dale Fanning. Together they construct and operate Materialized, a unique amalgam of electronica, funk, jazz, and space - interdimensional traveling music for the XXIst Century.

Dave plays all varieties of keyboards: synthesizers, Hammond B3, Rhodes piano and samples. He also charted the horn arrangements and took on the bulk of the production workload.

Dale plays all varieties of drums and percussion, acoustic and electronic. He also contributed to the production.

They get some help on the bass guitar with Carlitos Del Puerto who has previously played with Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder among others.

A horn section comprised of: Mic Gilette, Dave Carter, Beth Custer, and Tim Carless along with Mimi Marchall on percussion round out the musical contributers.

Dale and Dave chose the name Materialized for a few different reasons, one of them being an homage to Bill Laswell's Material. This could be one reason why I found their cover art so compelling.

Yesterday I was being interviewed on the internet station Gorebagg TV and was asked to describe my impressions of entering the Moroccan village of Jajouka to record the Master Musicians of Jajouka. I was trying to describe the unique phosphorescent blue color of many of their buildings. The lighter shade of blue on the Songs About Music cover matches it closely. This art has a very Moroccan feel about it, to me.

Allusions to ordinary and nonordinary travel abound on Songs About Music. The song titles give it away. The introductory track, a :26 second noise piece, conceptually prepares and tunes the listener in to what follows.

Track 2, Flying Blind, launches into some hard hitting techno funk that rolls, flows, voyages and takes you on a journey to ...? Go there and find out! Flying Blind may be true, especially at first, but the trick to know is that the more we fly, the more our vision increases.

The 3rd track, The Ladies All Know consists of an interesting non-verbal communication. It's a short interlude which leads directly into #4, The Brightness of Now, a showcase for Dave Pellicciaro's jazzified funk, B3 Hammond Organ playing.

Another interlude piece follows called Noon Tomorrow? a title that derives from Dave and Dale's rehearsal timing marker. Next is The Witness possibly referring to witnessing the sights and sounds of extraordinary travels. Like much of their music, this song evokes strong visual imagery.

Choose Your Yestination
, #7, reminds me of the bardo space of choice points where one previews future incarnations in order to choose one's next lifetime.

Dave has this to say about the 8th track, The SP: Yes, The SP is in fact for our urban lil landscape of San Pablo Ave goin from Oaktown to El Cerrito! Busy/Crazy Soundscapey out by our end o’ the hood.

The cd closes with Sun Can't Hide The Dark, a warm, organic jazz anthem.

The album was recorded and mixed at Lucky Devil Sound, Dave Pellicciaro's studio located in a large loft space near the border of El Cerrito and Oakland. I was brought in to help with the mix.

Since it was to be mixed in a Pro Tools HD system without an external mixing board, I advised Dave to purchase a 2 Bus summing mixer which allows the Pro Tools tracks to be assigned to separate outputs. Summing the tracks inside Pro Tools program for a final mix, known as 'mixing inside the box' is something I try to avoid at all costs. Track summing inside of DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) is their weakest link. Fortunately, Dave took my advice and picked up a Dangerous 2 Bus summing mixer. I've used the Dangerous before and am very happy with the way it sounds.

Another critical piece of gear Dave acquired for these mixes was a pair of Klein and Hummel O300 near field monitors and the Klein and Hummel O800 sub-woofer. These hi-end monitors worked great for me! Very accurate and detailed without sounding hyped. Good monitoring is one of the most important elements for achieving successful mixes. I'm very picky about how I listen, and was very impressed with the K&H's.

Also very important for the invocational aspect of the mix is the aesthetic of the mixing environment. Not only in terms of acoustics but everything that goes into influencing how one feels about working in that particular space. Lucky Devil Sound is a very clean, organized and well maintained environment. The high loft ceiling creates a sense of openness and helps with the acoustics. Tasteful art on the walls seemed aligned to the direction Materialized was taking their music in. All together, a very comfortable and pleasant room to work in.

I don't live in the Bay Area, so consequently need accommodations provided when working there for any length of time. Dale, very generously, allowed me to use his apartment which was set high in the Berkeley Hills. The view, overlooking the entire San Francisco Bay Area, was quite spectacular and inspirational as I gazed upon it like some huge organic yantra while engaging in my late night and early morning prayers and meditations. Electric at night with all the lights, more earthy in the day with the trees, foliage, and landscaping becoming more prominent to the eye.

I mention the living quarters because it has an influence upon the functioning of the human biological machine operated by yours truly and thus affects the quality of the work. Optimization of the Materialization.

I'm very excited about Songs About Music. It has a lot to offer for the intrepid explorer of musical dimensions.

Some of it is available to stream here. It's currently in the process of being added to CD Baby, Itunes and other download sites. Hard copies will be available. I'll post more purchase info as it becomes known to me.

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