Chris Squire

When I first heard the bass playing of Chris Squire I was too young to know what it was that was unique, special and groundbreaking about his approach to the instrument.  Not having yet taken up the bass myself  (I was a late bloomer...21 when I really dug in...) I was a fan of the songs and the band as a whole.

As I became more invested/obsessed with the instrument and was trying to find a voice myself I started to hear the intricacies of what he was doing and the 'marveling stage' set in. Then there were the interviews read and articles on his rig etc. how did he get that tone etc etc. of which there have been volumes created. A couple of pivotal moments for me were the song "Awaken" which to this day is in my top 10 and the live version of "Gates of Delirium" from "Yes Shows" (which is also in my top 10)  the latter of which was mixed by Squire hence the nice audibility of the bass and drums. The composition and technical execution of those two pieces  is quite amazing.  In reading the books and interviews with other band members it would seem that he was a tireless individual and was the driving force behind that organization. That is evident in how he played as well. There was that extra element he carried, along with many of the other guys he worked with, that meant he was able to covey a lot with just one note...or, sometimes many. This is the  main thing I would carry with me from his playing...his ability to make each note count and carry a certain weight. 

Squire had his influences and countless other musicians, including me, have been influenced by him. So goes the process. The beauty of the modern age of recording is that legacy's of that nature will live forever hopefully inspiring more young players to dig deeper.

RIP Chris Squire.


EARTH LIFT - Recording Bass & Violin

Today, I finished up my last bass line for the next Galactic Cowboy Orchestra album, Earth Lift. In fact, the track was the title track. For this record, I've been recording the bass through a Trace Elliot preamp I had lying around for a number of years, unused - boosting the gain to tape with a strip from the new Soundtracs console. The combination of those things is giving it a nice, natural overdrive and compression. I'm quite happy with the sounds I've been getting with this new rig.

The overall sound of this album is going to be less produces, with fewer overdubs than our previous work. This was a conscious effort on our part - to write songs that don't need extra parts to sound good recorded.

Recording some more violin tracks this evening as well. Miking Lisi's amp with a 441. Lisi is not a fan of headphones, as they tend to mess with her perception of pitch. So, we set her up in the control room and turn the speakers up to rehearsal volume. We can do that because she has an electric violin, so it's no different than recording electric guitar or bass or keyboards without headphones and monitoring through the speakers. Lisi's a very spontaneous live musician who is not fond of the studio, so we try to create an environment that is as much like a live band as possible. This way of recording her has worked incredibly well for the last two albums. 


Thanks to everyone who came to the OPEN HOUSE last Sunday - we had a great time! This was our 2nd open house and we're going to make it an annual event.  The event is good for us to reconnect with past clients, meet some new ones and it's also a chance for some healthy networking betwixt everyone... oh, and free beer. That's good too! Thanks, Peeps!

Galactic Cowboy Orchestra

Today I mixed three more songs from the Galactic Cowboy Orchestras concert with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. I had already put the formula for these mix's together last week so each song just needed some automation for volume tweaks. I finished the day doing a first pass at a mix for Lehto and Wright. This is a last minute song that Steve wanted to do at the end of our last full band session. We learned and recorded the piece in less than an hour and played it live including the vocal.   Its an old Randy Neuman song that Steve has wanted to do for years...

Until next time,


March 13, 2015

Today I spent time on The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra. I retracked the bass and created a rough mix for one of the pieces on our upcoming release. The song is tentatively titled, The Demented Waltz. I also tweaked a live mix of Raga Piloo that features GCO with the Austin Symphony Orchestra from an amazing concert we did a little less than a month ago. It's a challenge mixing live audio, but I enjoy it. The show wasn't recorded with a lot of microphones or DIs, so I'm trying to make it sound up close yet not too far away and make sure you can hear the orchestra, all 60 pieces of them. Lots of EQ cutting and boosting and automation to make it work... There is plenty of orchestra in the drum overheads and not as much orchestra as I would like in the orchestra mics, but the mix is pretty close. This will be synced up with some video for a 10 minute piece that KSMQ Public Television is doing on the collaboration. The Off 90 Presents piece will be aired next month. Here's the current version of that mix, more to follow:

Until next time,