"Dardanella" by Kevin Wicker
The original idea for this piece derived from an old pre-1920 Edison 78rpm record, under the same title. (I collect antique phonographs and discs.) One evening I happened to stumble upon the record, and the main refrain really struck me. I had been toying with a certain unfinished musical passage for some time, but could never find an adequate match for it.
When I studied the old record, I found that if I slowed down the melody and placed a sort-of "groove" under it, it would match perfectly with my unfinished passage.
Inspired, I began production that very night, and by dawn, the new 'Dardanella' was finished. I was working on a solo album at the time, and it fit quite well with the rest of the project.
I recorded all the tracks at my studio/office on Nashville's Music Row. Actually, the room had bare walls, with no insulation: except for the Persian rug under the gear - which deadened the room considerably.
I played all the instruments myself. Everything was played live except for the programmed drums.
The drums and keyboard sounds are from a Korg O1W Workstation keyboard. Upon charting the arrangements, I began production with the drums, and built from there.
The multitrack recorder was a ½ inch 16 track Tascam (I don't remember the model #) analog machine to Ampex 456 ½ tape, running at 15ips. The console was a pre-1980 Soundcraft 24X8X2 mixer, with the old printed circuitry.
The outboard gear I used was an Alesis dual compressor. Reverb was from the Roland SRV-2000 rack unit.
The mic I used was a CAD 450 tube, using phantom power from the old Soundcraft console.
The guitars I used were a Hohner handmade acoustic, a Yamaha classical, and a Memphis fretless bass (plugged directly into the console).
I mixed it to a Tascam DAT digital 1/2 track -- which was the only digital peice of gear in the studio.
This selected track is from the original DAT mix, so no mastering has been added. It's like hearing it right off the old 16 track machine.
The track was recorded back in 1996. Since then I've upgraded to full digital. Being from the 'old school' however, I still miss the hands on approach. And there's something about the analog atmosphere I haven't found yet in my digital gear. I think I'll upgrade to analog, once that next royalty check comes in'.
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