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Nina Nastasia's "The Blackened Air"

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Nina Nastasia's "The Blackened Air"

Postby cgarges on Fri Aug 29, 2003 1:20 am

There seems to be a good bit of interest in the making of this album by those of us who have been fortunate enough to hear it. Could anyone at Electrical (sorry--I don't have the album in front of me to see who was involved besides Steve) please take some time to describe some of the elements involved? I, for one, would like to know how the musicians were arranged in the studio and how much, if any of the album was overdubbed. It is a gorgeous piece of work, by the way, and I think anyone involved should be proud. Her new album is fantastic as well. Thanks so much.

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Postby danmaksym on Sat Aug 30, 2003 12:22 am

I'll second that... One listen and five minutes later I was buying tickets to her show next week...
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Postby cgarges on Sun Sep 14, 2003 7:13 pm

Does anyone have any idea why the aversion to this topic? There have been a few requests for any sort of information regarding this album and not one response from anyone at Electrical. I've read that Steve was quite happy with her first album, which is now out of print. He also recorded her most recent album in Europe, but still no information about "The Blackened Air." Curious.

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Postby mathias on Mon Sep 15, 2003 11:01 am

I don't know if this will be any help at all. But I interviewed Steve about a year and a half ago. And I asked which albums he had worked on that he was most proud of or happy with. He said the two albums he had done with Nina he thought was amazing, the albums he had done with Low, the Silkworm albums, Jesus Lizard and that the album where he felt that he got the best out of the band and the best sound for that band was Breeders Pod album.
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Postby cgarges on Tue Sep 23, 2003 9:06 pm

Bump.

Anyone...

from Electrical...

at all?

Even on the aversion topic (athough I guess that would be self-defeating, wouldn't it?).

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armless ape

Postby spoot on Wed Sep 24, 2003 8:48 am

Steve said something about how the music and the performers were so good that a paraplegic monkey (or some other equally inept engineer) couldn't have made that record sound bad, unless they were trying really hard. I'm sure there's some skill involved in mic placement etc., and of course they were in a decent room, but still, that's what he said. You'll just have to trust me on that one.
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Nina Nastasia

Postby danmaksym on Wed Sep 24, 2003 4:18 pm

Her live performance sounds amazingly like the records so Steve was probably correct saying that the recording was quite easy (I know it was all done "live" in the studio).
Last edited by danmaksym on Mon May 02, 2016 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cgarges on Fri Sep 26, 2003 1:35 am

Thanks for the replys, guys. I was just curious, that's all. Judging by some discussion I've seen here and elsewhere, other people are curious, too. I got more curious when no one ever talked about it. It's not like I'm putting together a Nina Nastasia cover band and I'm building an adobe room and I have to know all the details so I can fool myself into thinking it would come out the same. I just love the sound of that album and I just wanted to know a little bit about what went into making it sound the way it did. I'm really more interested in where everyone setup in which studio for such a great-sounding, live feeling album. Between the sizeable ensemble and the dynamic differences in some of the instruments, there could be some interesting challenges. Maybe it's silly for me to have bought the Beatles Anthology or the Real Frank Zappa Book, but I've learned something from both.

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Postby jet on Mon Sep 29, 2003 7:29 pm

cgarges wrote:Maybe it's silly for me to have bought the Beatles Anthology or the Real Frank Zappa Book


dude, you sure as fuck got that right!

regards,
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Nina Nastasia’s The Blackened Air

Postby kennan on Sat Oct 04, 2003 3:00 pm

A few bits of info that might help:

Jay Bellerose’s drums — actually, Electrical’s Ludwigs mostly — were placed in the Kentucky room, that room right between the control room and the main room. The sliding glass door would often be opened a bit to allow some bleed into the other mics, depending on how loud Jay was playing. It also helped the band hear each other in the room, as opposed to just in the headphones, which they liked. Steve will have to respond about the mic setup when he has time.

The rest of the band sat in a semicircle, facing the control room. Dave Richards, the bass player, was at seven o’clock. He had two mics on his upright, one (name pending) maybe two thirds up the fingerboard, the other, I believe an RCA44, sticking up from the floor, close to the f holes. I’ll get Dave to add more details when he can.

Dylan Willemsa was at nine o’clock standing up, the microphone hanging pretty much straight down from a boom, pointing to the top of the viola maybe five or six inches away from it, I think. His viola was recorded with a Lomo 19a-18, and it sounds so good it makes me squeal like a hot lobster.

Stephen Day was at eleven o’clock, the Coles 4038 pointed at the bridge of his cello, maybe ten inches to a foot away, as he recalls it.

Nina was at one o’clock, sitting. I don’t remember what was on her acoustic guitar, which was a Taylor except for the one time she used an old Martin acoustic for the song Rosemary. Nina’s vocal mic was not a Josephson C700, as it was for “Dogs”, but a Lomo 19a-13. In some ways I like the Josephson better. It sounds more like I hear her in real life, clearer, I guess. But she was doing a lot more strumming on The Blackened Air than on “Dogs”, and the Lomo picked up much less of that.

Gerry Leonard was at four o’clock, sitting barefoot at his homemade pedal board, which sat on the floor. He stands up for his Bowie gig, and he has a new-fangled knob contraption nowadays. Both look pretty cool. His and Dave’s amps were in the dead room off to the side of the Kentucky room, but I think he had another little amp out in the main room, maybe a little Fender or something. I’ll try and find out. Gerry was also miked (mic’d?), for his acoustic guitar and banjo. I don’t remember what he used.

The only overdubbing was Gonzalo Muñoz, the musical saw player, who was rehearsing with the Cirque de Soleil at the time and could only fly in from Montreal for the last two days. He recorded Desert fly live with Nina, but most of the others were overdubs. Run, all you… was recorded with a very fragile and expensive stereo tube condenser mic which I held in my hand and moved around a little while Gonzy was playing — this all looked ridiculous to Steve and now looks kind of ridiculous to me, too. The other tracks were done with a mic positioned beneath the arc of the saw, and perhaps an ambient mic as well. I don’t remember.

I believe there were one or two ambient mics in the background, too. The room is fairly large, and the band only occupied an intimate corner of it.

Hopefully these details will help. They might need some clarification/contradiction, which I invite Steve to assist when he has time.[/url]
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Postby cgarges on Sun Oct 05, 2003 2:13 pm

Wow. Thanks so much for talking the time to post such detailed information. You've really satisfied my curiosity.

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Nina Nastasia’s The Blackened Air

Postby kennan on Sun Oct 05, 2003 2:25 pm

Glad to be of help. Aside from the technical aspects, it was just a great group of people who are also great musicians. The songs were good, and the people were relaxed. We didn’t spend any time laboring over things. the entire record took five days to record and mix. Any longer, and it probably would have turned out less interesting.
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Re: Nina Nastasia’s The Blackened Air

Postby cgarges on Sun Oct 05, 2003 5:27 pm

kennan wrote:Aside from the technical aspects, it was just a great group of people who are also great musicians. The songs were good, and the people were relaxed.


That's extremely apparent. Thanks again!

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Postby Matthias on Tue Oct 07, 2003 3:49 am

It really is a wonderful record...
It´s such a fine line between stupid and clever.
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Postby steve on Thu Oct 09, 2003 1:19 am

I knew if I kept my mouth shut, someone else would post a perfect response. Thank you Kennan. Please launder your trousers and your frock.

The mic on the string bass in addition to the RCA 44 was an AKG 451, which is quite nice for the plucking finger sound.

I'm reluctant to get into this sort of thing too much, because I don't think the techniques or equipment used on a record like Nina's are particularly important, other than doing the job at hand.

Some records are made in the studio, and live or die based on the techniques and equipment used there. Others are made in the life outside the studio and only require a studio and recording to make them permanent -- Nina's records are of this (second) type.

I love Nina's music, I love her songs, I love her voice, I love her band, and I love the way she works with her musicians and Kennan in a trusting, open-hearted way. That's why her records are good, and so I love the records too.

I feel the same way about porn.

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Re: Nina Nastasia's "The Blackened Air"

Postby Justin Foley on Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:42 pm

I've had this record since it came out. For a while I've known my favorite songs and I'll usually listen to it once or twice a year. I've also got most or maybe even all of the rest of her stuff.

I can't account for why this is, but after my usual bi-annual revisit to this record two weeks ago, I've become obsessed. I listen to it once a day and always cry at different points. Just me by myself, really overwhelmed by it, listening at home or driving or even once on a plane. Tears streaming down my face.

I am worried that maybe I am heading for some sort of totally unexpected/unwarranted mental snap? We'll see.

Anyone, this is now an undeniable top ten record for me.

= Justin
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Re: Nina Nastasia's "The Blackened Air"

Postby tallchris on Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:40 pm

Damn, so vocals cut live? WTF NN BEST SINGER EVAH.
Bass, minivan: [BRACKETS]
Guitar, vocals: BURN PERMITS
Bass, vocals: POLICE TEETH
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Re: Nina Nastasia's "The Blackened Air"

Postby Gr3g on Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:09 am

I had no idea this record existed until this year, through this thread. This is probably one of the best records I’ve heard, in every respect.
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