I was happy to be given the chance to write about the recording of Jazz album Transcender in ScopeRise. The album was recorded using Scope by GaryB of Jahworks Studio, Long Beach, CA.  Listening to four of the tracks from the album took me back to some of the vibes of the '70s Jazz Fusion era and left the following impressions:

1) Transcender. Relaxing. Give me a vodka (or three) on the beach. Lead runs sound doubled but can't work out how.  Very smooth anyway.
2) Synapse Activator. Very fluid.  Some nice lead guitar work here.
3) Momentum. Definitely the spaciest of the four tracks taking me back to the Rhodes/Guitar '70s sound of John Abercrombie.
4) Holy Motion. Great B3 performance reminded me of the Santana album 'Lotus' and was also a good showcase of the Bass Clarinet.


Dante: So I hear that Scope was used extensively in the recording of the 'Transcender' CD.  At what stages was Scope used?

GaryB: Scope was used in all the recording and mixing, and helped with production.  I hear one of these tracks (I believe it's the title track) is currently numero uno in rotation in Utah or some such place.  I enjoyed the sessions.  I also mixed all the songs on Responder, having recorded many of the tracks on Scope and mixing them with tracks recorded earlier in another studio.

Dante: So Patrick Butler is fairly well known in Utah?

GaryB: Actually Butler is one of those guys that you've probably heard, but never knew. He was very busy in Hollywood for many years, especially '80s and '90s. Before that he was part of a platinum band called 'The Fatback Band'.  They were a funk band and also called just 'FatBack'. They had what was actually the first recorded rap song (King Tim, I believe it was called) with a frontman called 'King Tim III'.  It beat the more commonly known first rap single by several months.

ChrisW: Nice, sounds like a relaxed recording session. I am interested in some detail, did you recorded them all playing together ?  (I'm guessing you did).

GaryB: No tracks had everyone in the same room, but most were the actual performance. editing was limited.  the live drums were for the most part (with one or two exceptions) in my studio, but ALL were through my Scope system. I got that 'analog warmth' thing down anyway.


ChrisW: What microphone you have used on Mr. Harris bass clarinet?

The Bass Clarinet was recorded with my do-everything Soundelux U99 through a Millennia HV-3.

Astroman: Very classical from the Fusion times, but 'Momentum' is a timeless track - cool clarinet theme. How did you capture the clarinet?

GaryB: Yeah, that clarinet was pretty worn out.  I just shoved a Soundelux U99 in front of the guy and let him go.

Astroman: Nice one, the recording proves that it captures an amazing amount of detail.

GaryB: Yes, it does. the Millennia HV-3 helped in that department too.


Dante: So which Scope plug-ins got a good workout during the tracking and mixing?

GaryB: Most of the mixes used the Sonic Timeworks P100 reverb and MasterVerb Pro.  Most of the  tracks used the DAS 660 compressor and the DAS 1610++ on the others. Track EQ was mostly PEQ4 in the STM2448 mixer.  I also used stock Scope delays and autopanners.  The guitars were recorded through the Fender model on the Dynatube, basses through Celmo's Bass Amp Modeler.  All stringed instruments ran through a Demeter tube pre. Drums were recorded with Audix D1 on snare and hat, AKG D112 on kick both through a Manley Langevin pre.  Overheads were a matched pair of Chinese microphones through the Millennia HV-3 pre.  The keyboards were recorded directly though some older Frontier AD/DAs into lightpipe.  For mastering I used BX Digital and OptiMaster into Samplitude (the album was tracked on Cubase), where the Samplitude limiter was used to determine the final loudness.  We monitored through a Soundcraft model 1600 console into a set of Blue Sky Monitor Ones.

Dante: Was there any pre-production?

GaryB: The original concept was fleshed out from beats programmed into a Yamaha AN200, which was synced to Cubase and multiple passes were used to record the individual drum and synth tracks, which were used for guides and sometimes parts made it into the finished mix. for the most part, however, guitars were overdubbed and then each instrument was brought in to replace or update the basic synth tracks. Butler would write out parts, the player would read them and then bring their own spin. many tracks were cut with Butler in the ear of the musician 'do this! now do this!'.  He really had some great guys there who could read, concentrate, create and follow directions, all at the same time. It was fun.

Dante, GaryB, Astroman and ChrisW January 2011  

Audio Preview of 'TRANSCENDER'