Mastering Music

I’m in Portland right now, preparing for a day long session mastering the first album from Stevan Robinson and The Foundation. The album is three years in the making, following a hiatus when Steve went to record the To My Surprise album with Rick Rubin. The recording has inadvertently come full circle. Tracking for this release was originally scheduled for Jackpot in Portland. Due to a variety of circumstances, the recording took place at several locations in Iowa. Here I am in Portland, with the services of Nick Moon Productions on hand to put the finishing touches on what I already think is a great sounding collection of tracks.

All this is culminating in the launch of Midnight Gypsy Records and a world tour by Stevan Robinson and The Foundation. I originally announced my plan to launch a record label back in May of 2002. Steve was always going to be the first release from the label. Plans were put on hiatus when Steve was asked to be part of To My Surprise; something I consider an opportunity of a lifetime.

The band didn’t end up touring in support of the album due to various conflicts related to the Slipknot tour schedule, but it’s not everyday a musician gets the chance to work on a record produced by Rick Rubin. I know if I had that chance I’d take up drumming again in a heartbeat (despite of a Rollerblade crash induced wrist pain that manifests itself when I play). I can’t think of a single Rick Rubin production that doesn’t sound like he extracted the absolute best work possible from the talent in the room. I don’t like every album he produced, but evaluating them solely on performance and production, there’s not a single release, from Slayer to the Beastie Boys to Johnny Cash to Red Hot Chili Peppers to The Mars Volta to the To My Surprise record that doesn’t sound like a distinctly exceptional record.

We don’t have the budget to bring Rick Rubin in as a producer for this album, but that won’t stop the record from being a great release. In fact I’m sure this album is better in part because of the To My Surprise experience. I like every song on this album, in the current unmastered form. And I’m not saying that because I know Steve is reading this. I’ve made more than a few suggestions throughout the recording process. I’m as much a music critic as I am fan. As one of my readers, you will be invited to the pre-release online exclusive listening as soon as we get a few of the details worked out to make sure the network infrastructure is in place to handle it. There’s already a sneak preview in the latest Rocket Slide Radio show.