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Black Kettle Pre-Production, I, Pistol Mixing To Tape!

Will and Black Kettle's Kailynn West tracking demo guitars at Studio P.
Will and Black Kettle’s Kailynn West tracking demo guitars at Studio P.

Last night marked the beginning of pre-production on the new EP for recent Los Angeles transplants Black Kettle. I’m really excited about the songs these girls have come up with. And they’ve pretty quickly developed a following for themselves in L.A., after moving here from Boston at the end of August. They’re self-produced debut album, “Narrative,” made quite a splash there. Earning them a mention as one of the Boston Phoenix’s “Bands To Watch.” As good as that record is, the new stuff is even better!

While we begin that project, mixing is wrapping up on the I, Pistol EP. The exciting news there is that after making two equivalent prints to high-quality digital and analog tape, the band has decided to mix to tape. It will be the first official project mixed to the restored Ampex 440-B at Studio P. And man, does it sound gorgeous! Granted, I’ll be the first to say that analog tape does not win in every situation. But for this kind of music it is hard to beat. After a lot of hard work, I’m happy to say we’ve got the machine to do it.

Remember kids, tape machines are a fickle thing. They take a lot of care, maintenance, and knowledge to use. I was very lucky that my career began during the tape era. I have a good understanding of both the advantages, and pitfalls. If you’re planning to use analog tape at ANY point during your recording project, make sure the people and equipment you’re working with are top notch. Otherwise, you’re probably better off cutting to digital. No matter what you’ve read or heard.

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