SXSW had it's ups and downs this year. Great music making with Grace Weber, Mark DiFlorio and Stefano Intelisano. Had the pleasure of meeting some great hearts and souls from the production, mixing and mastering world in Vance Powell, Gavin Lurssen and Andrew Scheps. It is a great time for audio. Not only in terms of gear, but in the way the conversation is headed in terms of audio quality for the end user. Streaming sites like Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, etc., even at their highest quality streams are still using data compression codecs that are removing a great deal of the information that was originally there when it left mastering. The result is a fatiguing listening experience that is a mere shadow of what the artist intended and originally released. Music should make us feel something, relax us, energize us, move us, not make us tired and tie our brain in knots trying to fill in the blanks on what is missing. The Hi-Res audio conversation is in full swing and it is an interesting one. Producer and Engineer Allen Farmelo is lending a real voice to this topic and doing a ton of research on the subject. Definitely worth following him on Facebook to get more info and different points of view on the subject.
The downside to this year's Austin trip was the tragic deaths of several festival attendee's that were run over by a drunk driver. It was an apocalyptic scene and one that certainly left a stain on the week.
In addition, if next year's SXSW is anything like this year's they should just go ahead and call it DoritoFest. It really has become just one big corporate cluster.
Ending on a bright note: Tinariwen was, as always just amazing.
I am looking forward this week to a return visit from Grace for a few days of recording, building out some live show mechanics and playing a special studio show for a handful of friends and family.
As part of that show Gabriel Mintz and I are playing a few tunes together, a pairing that we have not done in over a year. It's always a treat to sit down and play make music with Gabe. We are also going to start recording a few tunes here and there. His music hits me right.
I am also doing a day long recording workshop in May here in Seattle. It is always a good exercise to consolidate and distill thoughts and ideas on a subject. I love teaching and passing along best practices. I hope it inspires others to do strong work in the music and creative space.