Monday, August 13, 2018

James Elkington at Acme Records and Music Emporium on July 7, 2018

James Elkington is a superb guitarist who has frequently performed and toured with the likes of Joan Shelley, Steve Gunn, and Jeff Tweedy. A few years back he and Nathan Salsburg (another cohort of Joan Shelley) released an excellent duo instrumental album on the Paradise of Bachelors label.

However, just about a year ago he briefly dropped the mantle as a fingerpicking hero to release an album, Wintres Woma, featuring affecting folk songs with seemingly straightforward lyrics and simple melodies all built on a shifting foundation of brilliant and complex guitar work.



His performance at Acme, supporting Jake Xerxes Fussell was a delightful experience for the packed crowd of music lovers. At one point he told the crowd that we were lucky to have Acme Records in Milwaukee (a sentiment echoed by Steve Gunn last year when he announced that Acme was his favorite record store in the US) -- I feel fairly confident to state that the audience felt quite lucky to be there listening to him.

This recording was made by Richard Hayes with explicit prior permission from James Elkington as well as Acme Records.

I captured the audio of the performance utilizing a matched pair of hand-made Church Audio CA14 cardioid microphones which were fed into a Church Audio CA9200 preamp and recorded with a Roland R-05 recorder. I also recorded a soundboard feed and these two sources were blended in Audacity, split with Fission, and converted to ALAC and mp3 using xAct.

https://www.jameselkington.com
http://www.paradiseofbachelors.com/james-elkington/
https://paradiseofbachelors.bandcamp.com/album/wintres-woma

Please support this superb musician and excellent human being by seeing his live shows, buying multiple copies of his merchandise (your friends are starving for great music), and talking to him respectfully after shows.


A quick guide to download formats:
WAV = files which are able to be burned as a CD without any conversion steps. This is the largest size of file on offer here.
ALAC = stands for Apple Lossless Audio Codec, which is a method of making a lossless copy of an audio file with about 60% of the space required with a WAV file. You can natively play these files on any Apple device and enjoy the same resolution and sound quality as a WAV file (it just takes up half as much space on your hard drive or device). 
mp3 - this is a lossy compression codec which utilizes psycho-acoustic "tricks" to drop certain audio information which is not noticeable under normal hearing situations. I am not a huge fan of mp3 but still find it useful because a high quality mp3 file will take up about 25% of the room on your storage device compared to a WAV file and about half as much as a ALAC file.



Downloads:




Sunday, August 12, 2018

Moss Folk at the Milwaukee Psych Fest, May 4, 2018

Moss Folk's blistering and exciting performance at the most recent Psych Fest probably came a bit too early in the day. The late afternoon set was not attended by a full room, since many of the night's visitors were  still on their way to the venue. 

No worries -- those lucky enough to get there early were treated to a powerful set by this long-time Milwaukee psych staple. As the afternoon worse on, and he light began to change, we started to get a taste of an amazing analog light show.






This set was recorded with explicit artist permission by Richard Hayes using a pair of Beyerdynamic MC930 cardioid microphones mounted in an ORTF configuration on a 9 foot stand and a Shure FP24 mixer/preamp fed into a Tascam DR-70D recorder. Audacity and xAct were utilized in mastering.
Please support these fine artists and decent people by going to their shows, buying multiple copies of their merchandise (your friends need the music), and talking to them like they are real human beings after shows. If they don't mind.

A quick guide to download formats:
WAV = files which are able to be burned as a CD without any conversion steps. This is the largest size of file on offer here.
ALAC = stands for Apple Lossless Audio Codec, which is a method of making a lossless copy of an audio file with about 60% of the space required with a WAV file. You can natively play these files on any Apple device and enjoy the same resolution and sound quality as a WAV file (it just takes up half as much space on your hard drive or device). 
mp3 - this is a lossy compression codec which utilizes psycho-acoustic "tricks" to drop certain audio information which is not noticeable under normal hearing situations. I am not a huge fan of mp3 but still find it useful because a high quality mp3 file will take up about 25% of the room on your storage device compared to a WAV file and about half as much as a ALAC file.


Downloads:






Saturday, June 30, 2018

Marisa Anderson at Acme Records and Music Emporium in Milwaukee on June 26, 2018

Marisa Anderson is truly a force to be reckoned with when it comes to solo guitar performance. I find her ability to remain rooted in tradition while simultaneously soar with experimentation an extremely enjoyable combination. 

Milwaukee was treated to an unexpected visit from Marisa on June 26th -- a last minute cancellation and subsequent phone call to the owner of Acme resulted in about a week or so of lead-time before this performance. I was concerned that the lack of advance promotion might result in a thin crowd, but the regulars and a few new faces helped fill up the store -- and were treated to a masterful performance.





Marisa has just released a delightful LP on Thrill Jockey and is currently in support of it. She played quite a few pieces from it as well as a few older songs. It was a nice mix.

For those who might not have had the pleasure of listening to her before, a quote from a review of a prior release (2013's brilliant "Mercury" LP) neatly summarizes my reaction to Anderson's recordings:

"Three things will happen when you listen to Marisa Anderson's Mercury: you'll instantly get used to it, you'll never get tired of it, and you'll be flooded by your own personal filmstrip of dusty roads, rusty trains, craggy mountains, and weathered faces." 
-Portland Mercury June 2013 

Tracklist:
01 [Marisa solicits audience advice about driving during a tornado]
02 Sanctuary --> Cloud Corner
03 Bread and Roses
04 Resurrection
05 Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning
06 The Demon Lover / See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
07 House of the Setting Sun
08 Pulse
09 [unidentified new song]
10 Lament
11 San Feliu de Guixois

Here is a sample song which you can stream:





This recording was made by Richard Hayes with explicit prior permission from Marisa Anderson as well as Acme Records.

I captured the audio of the performance utilizing a matched pair of Church Audio CA14 cardioid microphones which were fed into a Church Audio CA9200 preamp and recorded with a Roland R-05 recorder. I also recorded a soundboard feed and these two sources were blended in Audacity, split with Fission, and converted to ALAC and mp3 using xAct.

Please support this superb musician and excellent human being by seeing her live shows, buying multiple copies of her merchandise (your friends are starving for great music), and talking to her respectfully after shows.

http://marisaanderson.bandcamp.com
http://www.thrilljockey.com/artists/marisa-anderson
http://soundcloud.com/marisa-anderson
http://www.marisaandersonmusic.com


A quick guide to download formats:
WAV = files which are able to be burned as a CD without any conversion steps. This is the largest size of file on offer here.
ALAC = stands for Apple Lossless Audio Codec, which is a method of making a lossless copy of an audio file with about 60% of the space required with a WAV file. You can natively play these files on any Apple device and enjoy the same resolution and sound quality as a WAV file (it just takes up half as much space on your hard drive or device). 
mp3 - this is a lossy compression codec which utilizes psycho-acoustic "tricks" to drop certain audio information which is not noticeable under normal hearing situations. I am not a huge fan of mp3 but still find it useful because a high quality mp3 file will take up about 25% of the room on your storage device compared to a WAV file and about half as much as a ALAC file.



Downloads:




Sunday, June 17, 2018

Dire Wolves Just Exactly Perfect Sisters Band at the 6th Annual Milwaukee Psych Fest on May 4, 2018

A few days before the Milwaukee Psych Fest began, I asked my friend Ken who to look out for during the festival. He immediately answered, "Dire Wolves," and this threw me for a bit of a loop. I had that uneasy feeling I get when people are talking about bands or types of music with which I am unfamiliar. 

"With a name like that," I said, "Aren't they a Grateful Dead cover band?"

Apparently not! His withering glance told me all I needed to know. "They're going to be the most psychedelic band there," Ken told me, and I made sure I was outside at the end of the first night to capture this really interesting set. 

And I am so glad I did. This beautiful music on the one hand seemed to have a large improvised quotient, yet there was a flow to it that told me the band knew exactly where they were going with each piece. If they were playing every week in Milwaukee I would be there every week. As it is, I hope they come back soon! 





This set was recorded with explicit artist permission by Richard Hayes using a pair of Beyerdynamic MC930 cardioid microphones mounted in a modified ORTF configuration on a 9 foot stand and a Shure FP24 mixer/preamp fed into a Tascam DR-70D recorder. Audacity and xAct were utilized in mastering.

Set list:
Transmigrations 
Grow Towards The Light
I Control The Weather
And We Bid You Goodnight

Jeffrey Alexander: electric guitar, percussion, clarinet, voice
Sheila Bosco: drums, percussion
Brian Lucas: electric bass
Arjun Mendiratta: violin
Taralie Peterson: voice, saxophone

Please support these fine artists and decent people by going to their shows, buying multiple copies of their merchandise (your friends need the music), and talking to them like they are real human beings after shows. If they don't mind.



downloads:







Saturday, June 9, 2018

Mdou Moctar at Acme Records and Music Emporium in Milwaukee on June 3, 2018

This was a show I was really looking forward to. Tours of musicians from the Republic of Niger are pretty rare these days, both for practical reasons as well as for the difficulties which musicians encounter when attempting to obtain working visas to be able to tour in the United States.



above photo courtesy of Ken Chrisien


above photo courtesy of Ken Crisien
photos without attribution in this post are by Richard Hayes

The descriptive paragraphs you'll see in almost every article and blurb about Mdou Moctar are here copied from the Sahel Records website:

Mdou Moctar hails from a small village in the Azawagh desert of Niger, a remote region steeped in religious tradition. As a child, he taught himself to play homemade guitars, cobbled together out of planks of wood. It was years later before he found a “real” guitar, teaching himself in secret. In an area where guitar music was all but prohibited, he quickly rose to the status of local celebrity amongst the village youth.

In 2008 he traveled to Nigeria to record his first album "Anar." A psychedelic reworking of the Tuareg sound, the electronic tracks featured innovative pitch bending synths, drum machines, and autotune. In 2010, he teamed up with the label and collective Sahel Sounds, releasing his first international album, “Afelan.” In 2015, he co-wrote and starred in the first ever Tuareg language film, “Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It,” a Saharan remake of Prince’s “Purple Rain.” In 2017, he again shifted gears to another sound with “Sousoume Tamachek,” a mellow blissed out recording evoking the calm desert soundscape, tackling religion, spirituality, and matters of the heart.

The concert was a bit later than originally planned, as this is the holy month of Ramadan and Mdou was observing his fast despite the rigors of traveling. A buffet of food was served at around 8:30pm and the show started about 9:30 lasting almost an hour.

Here is a sample clip: 




The show was recorded with explicit artist and label permission by Richard Hayes using a pair of Beyerdynamic MC930 microphones on a 9-foot pole in the back of this acoustically wonderful room in a modified DIN formation and supplemented by a single Shure SM58 up front (to get a better drum sound into the mix). This was all captured on an Edirol R-44 recorder at 24/96 resolution. The files were converted to 16/44 using Audacity and then converted to ALAC (Apple Lossless format) and mp3 using xAct


The store's PA system was only used for the vocals, which are a little bit buried in the mix -- my understanding is they were having some trouble with feedback on the vocal mic at the soundcheck. Acme is a wonderful acoustic space -- all wooden surfaces everywhere and the exposed rafters in the ceiling disperse the sound and help eliminate echoes. You can get a sense of the room in the pictures above.

It's a solid recording of a great show and I want to thank Sahel Sounds owner Chris Kirkley for helping me to get permission to record this wonderful artist and his band. 

Please support this fine artist and the decent people in his band by going to their shows, buying multiple copies of their merchandise (your friends need the music), and talking to them like they are actual real human beings after shows. If you can.

http://sahelsounds.com/mdou-moctar/
http://mdoumoctar.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/mdoumoctarofficial/

http://www.acmerecordsmke.com
http://www.facebook.com/AcmeRecordsMusicEmporium/


A guide to download formats:
WAV = files which are able to be burned as a CD without any conversion steps. This is the largest size of file on offer here.
ALAC = stands for Apple Lossless Audio Codec, which is a method of making a lossless copy of an audio file with about 60% of the space required with a WAV file. You can play these files on any Apple device (using the Music app) and enjoy the same resolution and sound quality as a WAV file (it just takes up half as much space on your hard drive or device -- a shame, right?). 
mp3 - this is a lossy compression codec which utilizes psycho-acoustic "tricks" and techniques to drop certain audio information which is not noticeable under normal hearing situations. I am not an enthusiastic fan of mp3 but still find it convenient because a high quality mp3 file will take up about 25% of the room on your storage device compared to a WAV file and about half as much as a ALAC file.


downloads:






Friday, June 8, 2018

Wet Tuna at the 6th annual Milwaukee Psych Fest on May 4, 2018

I pretty much knew what to expect from Wet Tuna, as this wonderfully laid back guitar duo has been all over the nyctaper blog during the past year or so. They performed outside on a slightly windy evening around sunset with a troubled live sound mix (check out the very brief snatches of high frequency feedback which I have done my best to eliminate with a notch filter and a positive attitude) and a crowd which was partially distracted by the noisier goings-on inside the main venue.

Despite these challenges, Matt Valentine and PG Six delivered what was one of several peak musical highlights in a festival blessed with musical highlights.







This set was recorded with explicit artist permission by Richard Hayes using a pair of Beyerdynamic MC930 cardioid microphones mounted in a modified ORTF configuration on a 9 foot stand and a Shure FP24 mixer/preamp fed into a Tascam DR-70D recorder. Audacity and xAct were utilized in mastering.

setlist:
01 I Know You Rider
02 Water Train
03 Other Kinds Run




Please support these fine artists and decent people by going to their shows, buying multiple copies of their merchandise (your friends need the music), and talking to them like they are real human beings after shows. If they don't mind.




downloads:





stream of the Wet Tuna show from Chicago May 3, 2018:
https://logamp.com/3849/music/tracks/19946

stream of the Wet Tuna show in Philadelphia on April 28, 2018:
https://logamp.com/1463/music/tracks/19914

stream of the Wet Tuna show in NYC on April 27, 2018:
https://soundcloud.com/nyctaper/sets/wet-tuna-wonders-of-nature-2018-04-27

That's enough Wet Tuna for now, right? No. Buy their LP! Then that will be enough for now.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Ryley Walker and Bill Mackay at the Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis on April 23, 2018

I was visiting a relative in Minneapolis and flew in on April 23rd, not realizing when I booked the flight that I would be able to check out Ryley and Bill open for Calexico on the evening of my arrival. I was shocked to see what a large group of live music fans the Twin Cities were able to produce on a Tuesday night at one simple location (just one of four live music clubs which the "First Avenue" organization runs).


Photo uncredited. 
If you can help me identify the photographer, I would appreciate it!

I wasn't able to take any photos of this shorter opening set because I was not only using a stealth setup (even with permission to tape, I didn't feel like dealing with the notorious security guys at the Fine Line) but also using a new Shure MV88 microphone which is a sophisticated and quality microphone that is inserted into the lightning port of an iDevice and when used with the Shure Motiv app, produces some excellent sound for videos (such as this one of Steve Gunn). I was field-testing that particular setup for audio-only sound quality so I couldn't also snap photos.

The set of four songs was lively and had quite a bit of Ryley's trademark between-song goofy banter. For convenience I placed all the talking at the end of each file so each file will start with music.

setlist:
01 The Halfwit in Me (2018-04-23 Minneapolis)      13:08
02 Spoil With the Rest (2018-04-23 Minneapolis)     5:32
03 The Grand Old Trout (2018-04-23 Minneapolis)  13:30
04 The Roundabout (2018-04-23 Minneapolis)        12:44

This set was recorded after obtaining explicit artist permission by Richard Hayes using a modified pair of Audiotechnica AT853 cardioid microphones fed directly into a Sony M-10 recorder at 24/96 resolution. i stood 6 feet in front of the right stack (the room mix was in mono). The files were trimmed and gentle compression and careful EQ were applied using Audacity. The files were extracted to ALAC and mp3 format using xAct.

I will eventually add embedded links to souncloud so you can stream the whole show if you want, and also the show will be uploaded soon to Ryley's section of the (truly amazing) Live Music Archive on the archive.org website. In the meantime -- feel free to download the show from my server (see below)

Please support these fine artists and decent people by going to their shows, buying multiple copies of their merchandise (your friends need the music), and talking to them like they are real human beings after shows. If they don't mind.




A guide to download formats:
WAV = files which are able to be burned as a CD without any conversion steps. This is the largest size of file on offer here.
ALAC = stands for Apple Lossless Audio Codec, which is a method of making a lossless copy of an audio file with about 50-60% of the space required with a WAV file. You can natively play these files on any Apple device and enjoy the same resolution and sound quality as a WAV file (it just takes up half as much space on your hard drive or device). 
mp3 - this is a lossy compression codec which utilizes psycho-acoustic "tricks" to drop certain audio information which is not noticeable under normal hearing situations. I am not a huge fan of mp3 but still find it useful because a high quality mp3 file will take up about 25% of the room on your storage device compared to a WAV file and about half as much as a ALAC file.


downloads: