Monday, October 13, 2008

The Wayback Machine

'Tis a glorious Monday Time-trippers! Much buzzing this month about new releases!
Our guest today is, in fact, celebrating the release of a brand new album: Then We Were Older, out on their new label, Color Wheel Records!

It is with no small amount of pride and a massive helping of congratulatory pats on the back we welcome back our very first participant-way back in January, to take a trip in The Wayback Machine: Tony Miller of Ideal Free Distribution!

(Photo by Adam Britt.)

Their self-titled debut album garnered widespread praise, and rightfully so, but this new one is as stylistically a leap as Rubber Soul was to another band. (imho, of course. Of course.)

You can hear quite a few of the new album's cuts on their MySpace page as well as the option to purchase through them, using PayPal, at their page. (It's also available, as I understand it, through iTunes, too.) Give it a listen.

So, on such a momentous day, where might our intrepid psychedelic traveler wish to be?

You've been given a one-time opportunity to use The Wayback Machine; what band would you like to see, in what year, and what song would you most want to see them play?

Tony: Being a devoted fan of 60s British recording/engineering/production techniques, my trip in the Way Back Machine would definitely involve sitting in on a recording/mixing session at Abbey Road. And since pysch is my favorite flavour, my particular trip would start on April 6, 1966 and last over the course of several weeks (there’s no time restriction on the return trip as long as it’s one song, right?).

‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ by the Beatles would be my session of choice. Not only does this song represent one of the first psychedelic recordings but arguably one of the best. Sitting in on these sessions and witnessing all the out-there techniques being used for the first time is unimaginable. If given my druthers, I would prefer to be a recording technician so I would understand exactly what was going on and bring that knowledge home with me…but I could still stay out of the way.

Can you imagine the technical nightmare that Geoff Emerick was presented with (he was 19 and this session was his first engineering job at Abbey Road)? Lennon wanted the song to sound like chanting Tibetan Monks and his vocal to sound like he was swirling around the microphone hanging by a rope. Emerick came up with the idea of using a Leslie speaker cabinet on the vocal instead (thankfully). Also because Lennon hated manually double tracking his voice, Ken Townsend (studio tech manager) went home and invented ADT (automatic doubling tracking) for this session (to be used subsequently on almost all of the Beatles recordings). Top it off with the use of the breathing Fairchild compressors as instruments and you have a psych studio technique trifecta. I would also have loved to see everyone’s faces when McCartney came into the studio with a box of ¼” tape loops he made at home for use on the track. The thought of being a part of the process of holding those in place with pencils is enough to make me swoon.

Makes perfect sense to me! Good luck & best wishes Ideal Free Distribution!!!

(Editor's Note:Oct. 14 - Tony has let me know you can also order the new album by e-mailing him directly: or . Again, highest recommend.)


Cliff. said...

Such an informative answer Tony provided. Think I'll sneak in the WBM & accompany him on this journey.

Valis not sure if this comment made it, so I've submitted it twice. Carrots, carrots, carrots!!!!

sr-71 said...

that's a wicked album cover for the new IFD; looks like he picked up the artist while trippin' on the wayback!

gerryboy67 said...

Yup, that's one of the (many) places I'd like to be.....Abbey Rd circa '66. Another interesting adventure, Valis.