Preacher’s Fire – May Issue

Another great month of music to be heard in Portland. We recommend the following shows: Leveret is playing on 5/14 at Poland Street House and at the Allroads fest on 5/21, Snaex on 5/15, Tigerbomb with Kid Congo Powers 5/22, and finally An Anderson, Gary “Haru” Bangs, and Crystal Canyon are playing 5/27. This month’s cover art is by Zoe Maebe. If you have music events you want to submit to the June edition email before Friday May 27. 

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Featured Artist: Ghost Atlantic

Ghost Atlantic is no stranger to Acadia. In fact, you’re not going to hear them live…they are solely a studio-project group. This is the third full length album we’ve produced with the atmospheric post-rock duo, and with each project they’ve taken a different and innovative sonic approach. This current project is no exception: every time we think we’re about to finish the album, Peter Himmer and Trevor Smith return with a new ideas to integrate into their meticulously crafted tracks. Acadia has been their home-away-from-home over this past year, and by spacing out the recording schedule over 17 tracking sessions there has been plenty of time for the duo to experiment with their sounds. This is reflected in the album– there are a lot of new approaches to the orchestration featuring more diverse instrumentation, while still maintaining a relaxed feel.

Pete tracking drums

Typically our songs end up guitar-heavy with some keyboard, vibes, and synth parts. On the latest recording it was our goal to consciously write for keyboards and other melodic instruments. There is a lot more synth, piano, Wurlitzer, and Rhodes on this one. Having so many synths at our disposal in the studio has made it a very rewarding process of experimentation.

The album also benefits from collaborators: Dave Noyes stopped by the studio and added some great trombone parts, and Elliot Heeschen (Builder of the House) joined in on percussion. We ended up tracking Pete and Elliot playing on tandem kits together in the live room. Having the ability to highlight different elements from the paired drum parts created an exciting rhythmic bed on many of the songs, and really thickened the drum sound. During the mixing process we’ve also enjoyed having the ability to accentuate the interplay between unison and complimentary parts from the two kits.

I also used a much more diverse lineup of guitars on this album. Before these sessions I was never a big Strat fan. Although my first guitar was a black Fender model purchased about 16 years ago, it was quickly replaced with something with humbucker muscle. Using Todd’s Strat for improved guitar dynamics on several songs made me want to own one again, just for that perfect clean sound and melting vibrato.

We really think you’re going to enjoy listening this album. It has been a fun challenge to craft and synthesize all of Trevor and Pete’s new ideas, and to watch them embrace new recording methods, and integrate more lyrics and instruments into their songs. For now, take a listen to their last project, The Land Colored Red:


Dangerous ST Monitor

Every once in a while a piece of gear comes along that completely changes your workflow, a piece that once it is implemented you can’t ever imagine how you got by before without it. This has been the case since we added this Dangerous ST Monitor controller setup to our workstation. I can’t praise the Dangerous Music team enough for their care in R&D and design– they are all audio engineers creating devices that streamline productivity, and the end result makes all of our jobs easier without compromising audio quality. This little unit has distilled all of my essential tasks to be easily accessible for efficient tracking and mixing. It recreates a console’s master section, with a stereo (upgradeable) remote-controlled input source and speaker switcher, cue/talkback system, and headphone amplifier all in one space rack.

DSC_0121While the best part of this unit is obviously the sexy lighting display, there are a few other features that make it indispensable during my sessions: a stepped analog volume attenuator (done via relays not level-controlled IC Chips, that’s why it sounds so good), programmable ins and outs for multiple sources, speakers with independent subwoofer control, and a built-in talkback mic and 20 watt headphone amp.The Monitor ST also has dual control and dedicated slate output, which allows me to give the producer his own talkback button and set up a great headphone mix. This setup can also be upgraded and expanded with other units they make to achieve 5.1 down the road.

Even beyond the pristine audio quality it is the ease of access that really sold me on this unit: the monitor ST allows me control the entire system right from the sweet spot. Being able to hear exactly what has been captured on all of our formats has greatly improved my mixes saving me and my clients time and money.  It truly has become the heart of the whole mix room.