Gino Robair is former editor of EM

Archive for May, 2010

Tape, Ephemera, Loss, and Memories


Recently, a performance of mine was released on cassette (yes, analog cassette—the preferred format of the ’80s). It was an extremely limited edition (less than 50) and it sold out immediately. That surprised me… until I listened back to it.

Yes, there’s hiss—you can’t miss it. More importantly, there is a combination of wow, flutter, and crunchiness that warmed my heart. All the worst things about the cassette format as a playback medium were the best things for this new release in terms of sound quality. Although the live performance was from ’09, it sounded as if it was recorded in the ’50s—in a good way.

I have yet to find a plug-in that does lo-fi like this.

Particularly sexy was the way this inexpensively duped tape changed the sound of my cymbals: they have a distinct warble that I love. Maybe the Dolby circuit in my player adds to the weirdness. I’m not sure if I can recreate the effect digitally, but I’m going to try. But at least I know one way to get it: use an obsolete storage medium as a filtering device. more

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Gino’s Big Adventure: Building a Personal Studio, Part 4


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Tying the rooms together

Things are moving quickly with the renovation, as you can see in the photos at right, and our contractor has been great about keeping his crew busy. For example, when rain held up the delivery and installation of the trusses for the roof, he had them put up siding and install the plumbing. The fast pace is keeping me on my toes.

As I continue to sort out the electrical details for the studio, it’s time to address other issues, such as ordering interior windows and flooring, and coordinating the installation of each element with my contractor. Because the studio is only a portion of the overall remodel (which includes an in-law unit and garage), I have to balance my room’s needs with those of the overall project. Where it gets tricky is in coordinating each major installation, such as the insulation and sheet rock. My room has to be included with the rest of the house in order to keep the project on time and within budget. That means all of the little details that pertain to the studio have to be sorted out ahead of time. more

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