Friday, August 30, 2013

Cordwood Masonry Acoustics

As I wrote last time, I'm excited (me, Mr. Mellow, excited, yup!) about the final appearance of some of my recorded music. Actually, 'excited' doesn't cover it; I'm having a hard time thinking about anything else, except for that new song I'm working on, which may be even better. The physical CDs just arrived, sounding great, and the cover art (photo by my Honey) came out perfectly. Since I can't think about anything else right now, I'm going to elaborate on this recording project.

Music from a cordwood masonry mead-hall!
I've been writing music for a long time, and in the last couple of years, after falling in love with my Honey, that creative impulse has just skyrocketed. Finding that my heart is where it belongs, finally, has been amazingly good for my writing and composing.

 Months ago I asked my friend James Lindenschmidt of Crafted Recordings, who has all kinds of recording expertise, for pointers about getting some recording done. To my delight, he offered to help out, volunteering his considerable skills, at least in part because he had been wanting to try some recording in our house. The mead-hall, our central room with twelve-foot-plus ceilings, cordwood walls, and an adjoining space with gracefully curved walls, has great acoustic qualities. 

His version of this may be different, but here's why I think the space is so good for music. Cordwood masonry is not flat. It has a combination of very hard and somewhat hard surfaces, curves, and little angled segments all over it. So while it bounces sound nicely (compared to a curtained room, for example), it doesn't sound at all like a tiled space or a stairwell, with that complicated echo on top of everything. Not only that, but it is a magical space, made by hand with love, using natural local materials, and it is the perfect place for me to record my music. After all, it's where I write most of it, and it's where my Honey and I first met. Unless somebody tells me otherwise, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is the first professional music recording in a cordwood masonry space!

James and I have much in common, including acoustic music, a similarly spiritual way of living in the world and a long-standing love of mead and mead-brewing. My first experience with his recording expertise was when he interviewed me years ago for his excellent blog, Bardic Brews. Back then, he made me feel very much at ease in front of a microphone, and this time was no different, except that it involved more microphones! Then he put in many hours fine-tuning everything for me. The end result is a very good presentation of my and my songwriting at its current best, and I can't say enough about how sweetly he worked with the very raw material. Please check out the music, which is downloadable from most mainstream venues, as Harper Meader's EP, "Honey."

Coming up, I'll talk in detail about some of the songs in particular, and also about why I like Bandcamp. Stay tuned...

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