Audio Engineering III
Audio Engineering III is the capstone class for the SRT program. While there are a few more items to cover (learning is NEVER done) the real meat of the class are the projects that are created by the students for their portfolio. Some of those can be heard below.
During the Spring of 2010, the AEIII class recorded 13 songs performed live by the Glynn Garcia Little Big Band. The band's requirement of six independent monitor mixes and 12-18 input channels led us to rent a split-snake for the occasion. Que Rico Mambo was the first track recorded with the (then) new Toft ATB mixer which arrived at Del Mar earlier that day. The only problem (well, one of MANY problems that we hit) was the fact that the FOH main leg of the snake wasn't long enough to run indoors from the music technology lab to Wolfe Recital Hall where the band was set up. Thus, we had to run the snake out of the window, crossing the garden, back into the building, and finally right now the center aisle to the stage. It was a mess! It was almost fun - almost. We put together a quick video to show some of the recording process and the "band vocalise" overdubs sung by the AEIII crew.
Que Rico Mambo (video) 17MB
While there were many excellent projects, I will upload some of the ones I enjoyed the most. You may have heard Joe Purdy's "Can't Get It Right Today" in a KIA car commercial a few years ago. Alejandro Hernandez (aka Chico Fernandez) produced a great cover of the song for his arrangement project. With a wonderfully sparse and spacial accompaniment and well placed sonic elements, I was hooked on first my first listen. I love the pizzes, the slightly meandering violin, and the T-Bone influenced bass drum boom.
Can't Get it Right Today
Of all the individuals in this particular cohort, perhaps Charles Longoria was the most well armed. His guitar abilities have been well documented in Corpus Christi with many years defining the sound at Bay Area Fellowship as well as adding huge amounts of tone to The Glory Estate, Scarlet, the Joey Davila Band, and the all too brief State Law. If you heard him play, you understand. Along with that skill, he has a natural set of discerning ears and a strong understanding of the way music fits together. Combined in one person, he is a dynamic force of music. Thus it was no surprise that his projects were going to set the bar high. The song "Hero" below was one of three songs written by members of the house band at Bay Area Fellowship and recorded live. Charles brought the B.A.F. musicians to Del Mar College to rerecorded vocals, guitars, percussion, and violin. When he played his mix of "Hero" for class the first time, we knew he was creating something quite special. There is an easy, natural progression to the song that keeps it moving along.
Staying on the Longoria bandwagon, this next recording by Ruben Estrada shows Charles knocking out a song he could play with both hands tied behind his back, Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Pride and Joy" The goal of this particular project was to capture the primary acoustic guitar and vocal at the same time. Done wrong, both sound sources would sound colored in a non-flattering was. As you can hear, Mr. Estrada got it right; and the overdubbed solo guitar is a nice jazzy touch. I especially like the stereo imaging on the acoustic in which the higher strings are slightly emphasized in the left channel. Recording live will almost always give exciting results.
Pride and Joy
All of the projects for AEIII had some parameters or restrictions to be followed. One of the required projects was an arrangement or alternative production of an existing work. In this example, Ruben Estrada did an arrangement of one of his own compositions, "Unforgotten". Sadly, time restraints kept him from taking the production to its full conclusion and upon listening, the result left the cohort wishing to hear the version it needed to be. At the end of the semester I personally picked up the ball and ran with it; creating an arrangement of Ruben's arrangement, fleshing out some of the missing textural pieces, and mixing the whole thing together. All of the basic tracks were recorded by Mr. Estrada with only Lisa Nicol's one take percussion parts (tuned and un-pitched) and a few 12-string parts recorded by myself. As a bit of recording fact, Charles Longoria contributed the guitar solo well before the backing parts had been figured out!
Phillip Borden is one of the most polite, soft spoken and good-hearted souls you will ever meet. Thus it was a complete surprise when this keyboardist delivered a face-melting song that sonically echoed "Panama meets Bark at the Moon meets Summer Song" as his 'Student Choice' project. I shouldn't have been surprised, Phillip has the skills to make anything work, and he did a great job of getting together three musicians to rock Wolfe Recital Hall to its rafters. Phillip said that he actually researched some of the classic big 80's recordings to get a sonic fingerprint to match. The proof is in the shredding reverberant pudding!
Sal Romero - guitar, Jonathan Cardenas-Drums, Isai Lugo - Bass
Fearless Under Fire
Every class is a collection of personalities, and perhaps no personally is unique as Jaime De La Rosa. Known as 'that guy with the crazy laugh' to those who haven't learned his name, Jaime is one of a kind. For his arrangement project he dug through the unused takes of his guitar and voice project and then built a simple, but amazingly complimentary frame around James Buffaloe's voice. The addition of the etherial harmony voice is the trump card.