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Mule Variations
Old 31st May 2017
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Mule Variations

Hi Jacquire.

Mule Variations is a constant reference for me. An album that seems to balance hyper-real capture of great performances with abstractions/surreal ideas. It's truly one of the most vivid recordings in Tom's discography, which is saying something.

So I was wondering how you went about capturing the basic conventional elements (i.e. tons of mics on everything, tons of bleed, room mics all the time?) and, then at the mixing stage, what your thought process was on taking those elements and blending them with the more disparate, "crazy" sounds?

I know it was a while ago, but if you could remember any of the "typical" setups for the guitars, bass and drums on that record, I'm sure a lot of people would love to hear about it. And also any of the weirder things you did on that record, if time permits.

Thanks for your time and for all the knowledge you've shared over the years.
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Old 2nd June 2017
  #2
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Mule Variations

Jacquire: Mule Variations is, to me, a fantastic album and it's a personal benchmark for me in terms of synergy between song and sonics.

I wonder if you consider it a career high and if you learned anything (technical or otherwise) in the process that you apply to current work?

- c
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Old 5th June 2017
  #3
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Mule Variations

Part of the magic (Tom being most of it) from a technical side was in part the fact that we recorded in very non recording studio live rooms. The main micing was always very simple with very nice stuff.. M-49 on vocals through Neve and Pultec regular drum micing, SM-57 on guitar amps... U-87s on room mics... etc. .. I used small plastic Sony mics from an old portable tube 1/4' machine on things in addition at times and we used a boom box that mic inputs in front of the drums. We'd put the boom box on pause record and take the line outputs to a mic pre. Using the boom box as a microphone but the thing also had compression circuitry that gave the sound some punch. On a few songs Tom's vocal was mixed through a 2 foot piece of PVC pipe that was about 8" around... The goal was always have a few things pretty and hi-fi and have a few dirty and broken... sometimes it meant re-amping things to get an amp sound or different room tone.
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