Wednesday, June 10, 2009
So I've had a 4 track cassette recorder ever since I was 14. My first one (still have it) was a cheap 2 input strip Tascam, and it kickstarted my interest in recording. A lot of my friends still have theirs and use it regularly. It's kind of a shame you can't find them new anymore, because with the recent resurgence in underground tape culture, it seems to me that 4 track recording could make a comeback.
As a teenager in the mid-90's, some of my favorite records were made on 4 track or other similar home recording setups. Guided By Voices' "Bee Thousand" and "Alien Lanes," The Grifters' "Eureka" EP and "Crappin' You Negative," Beck's "One Foot In the Grave," and Olivia Tremor Control's "Dusk At Cubist Castle" were favorites of mine back then. It's become a thing for me - I often seek out records by artists that record themselves, because it's the most direct route from the artist to the listener. I also love music that's created by working with limitations. It forces you to be more creative and solve problems.
So Joseph and I have been using a Tascam 424 MK3, the one pictured above. The things that I love about it are the 3 band equalizer, the XLR mic inputs, and the tape speed control. When I was doing High on Life, as you might guess, the tape speed was how I got the effect on my voice. And I've also found that the faster you run these things, the less noise shows up on your recordings. I'm pretty impressed with the fidelity we've gotten out of it for the Black Patch recordings. It's pushed me to be much more deliberate about mic placement and levels than I ever have before.
I'm very particular about the way we record. We NEVER bounce down, even with two guitars on a song, because I'm trying to prevent loss of fidelity. So basically, most of the songs have been recorded with the bass and vocals on one track. It took some tinkering, but we've got it down to a routine now. It's a counterintuitive way to do it, but I think the results have ended up fine.
Here's a few links to some of our friends' bands who still utilize the cassette 4 track on some of their stuff. Enjoy!
Styches - http://www.myspace.com/manystyches
The Healthy Home - http://www.last.fm/music/the+healthy+home
Golden Hours - http://www.myspace.com/goldenhourz
Bonus Beast - http://www.myspace.com/seriouslyhyped
Ark - http://www.myspace.com/biblicalultraviolence
Zack Kouns - http://www.myspace.com/zackkouns
Dave Cloud - http://www.myspace.com/davecloudandthegospelofpower