The world of music production has expanded and settled into the bedrooms and basements of anybody with a computer and time to experiment. Auto-tuning, time-alignment, and sound-replacement have begun to obsolete skill, instinct, and wisdom - traits developed from the mixture of knowledge and experience. More so, this new work flow threatens to obsolete the magic of spontaneity. A new video series launched by Benchmark Media Systems, Inc. will reprise the old work flow to demonstrate its effect on record production.
The web series (i.e., Internet television series) is called "Masters From Their Day." Each episode documents an attempt to produce a "release-quality" single in one day, and each session will be executed by a different set of collaborators (engineer, studio, and artist). "These videos will allow the viewer to experience the creative momentum that can be achieved when you gather talented musicians, experienced engineers, and technically proficient studios and equipment," says Benchmark's Elias Gwinn, producer of the series.
The name of the series is a double-entendre, alluding to the mastered track from the day-long session and to the studio 'masters' who pioneered the craft. The fact that an equipment manufacturer is spear-heading this project completes the full-circle, as many of the revered engineers from the seminal days of music production invented, designed, and built their own recording equipment. According to Gwinn, "This project is in part homage to the brilliant engineers and artists in the 50's and early 60's who made innumerable classic records in single-day sessions. The engineers were able to master their craft because they understood both the art AND the science involved. This video-series recalls such intimacy of craft and the possibilities it affords."
The first episode was produced on March 1, 2010, at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The featured band was Rubblebucket, and the featured engineers were Joe Castellon and Alex Lipsen. All of the mixed tracks from this series will be mastered by three-time Grammy-award winning mastering engineer Gavin Lurssen. The series airs on the "Masters From Their Day" website (www.MastersFromTheirDay.com), and the mastered track from each session will be available as a free download.
Castellon, the Executive Creative Director at Kaufman Astoria's Music & Sound Studios, has a qualified vantage point on the subject. "Throughout the course of my career, I have watched the music business change from one-day recording sessions to multiple days with editing and laptop mixing. It's refreshing to see a project that is emphasizing the pure talent in the musician and the studio and I'm happy to be part of it."