Farewell, Micah, it was great to have you around!
Next Tuesday I'll pick up the final mixes of Micah's album from Greg at Sound Tracks Studios in Mesa. From there, they'll go to Roger over at SAE for mastering.
Micah's album is a long time in coming. I always thought it was weird that for years Micah didn't have a computer or the Internet, but had a 16-track ADAT home studio in his basement. He had the gear to get it done, but it was rather low-tech. Most of the instruments were half-broken, duct-taped, or had other quirks. His cymbals are full of cracks, and holes he drilled to stop the cracks... and the music is great, not despite those problems, but likely because of it! The lo-fi instrumentation and recording techniques create an insane world of squawks and feedback.
Micah and his brother Justin (and the occasional friend) have been working on the songs for years. There are tracks that are five years old or more, and other tracks on the same songs that are recently written and recorded. There were reportedly 40 or so songs to pick from, and Micah chose 13 for the final album.
The sound is absolutely outrageous. So far I can't compare it to anything I have ever heard. Oh, there is the occasional part or two that conjures up Radiohead or Pink Floyd, but its momentary at best since Micah jumps from part to part in rapid-fire succession, like a madman driven to create and never repeat himself. Yet, the totality of the songs and album as a whole is unlike anything. Next to this, Radiohead or The Smashing Pumpkins seem completely precise, planned-out, and fine-tuned, even something like Paranoid Android seems cookie-cutter compared to the sonic assault of Micah's music.
Connecting Micah with Greg was a good step in getting this album completed. Not only did it give Micah a deadline to work with, but put the project in the hands of someone with an outside perspective and great skill. Greg has proven to deliver in the past with Fatigo and Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl releases. With a little polish (just a little) to clean up the tracks and EQ them into some semblance of consistency and listenability, we get this album that retains a raw and original edge, with no technical barriers to disrupt the listenability and acceptance of this as a professional album and work of art in its own right.
The final touch will be Roger's mastering: additional fine-tuning of EQ, application of compression, along with the fades, timing, and spacing to forge the album as a cohesive whole. It cannot be understated the positive influence Roger's tweaking will have on the album. He never fails to peel away subconscious sonic issues to reveal the essence of the music, like windexing a dirty mirror. After mastering, you will hear things you never heard in the music before, and there is a lot of layers in the music that demand to be heard. He'll make sure that you can, and that it translates across a variety of systems, from his custom-designed mastering studios, to your home theater, to the car, to the boombox. Also, the songs will just feel like a unit, smoothing out the differences inherent in tracks recorded years apart. The studio mixes were light years ahead of Micah's old home mixes, and the mastered tracks will be a similar leap in quality.
I believe the band name is 99% set on Interpose (though Micah never definitively made the call). The album title is moreso up in the air. At least the songs have names. We'll target September to release the album. If Micah can get a band together, there'll be at least an East Coast CD release show, if not one in AZ as well. I can't wait!