In the "What do you actually do as a producer?" thread, you mentioned throwing a guitar off a cliff. Was this a reference to the recording sessions for "Gilt" by Machines of Loving Grace? I vaguely remember a story like this... or maybe it was something about putting an amp outside on a cliff to get a particular sound.
That album was an important one for me, though many have never heard of the band. The recordings are very raw and the album overall has kind of a concrete/gray color that held everything together. I'd be interested in hearing any memories you might have about the recording sessions or just personal stories about the band. They never got much press and remain relatively unknown.
Yes, during the Machines Of Loving Grace project we did drag a Marshall double-stack up a cliff above the ocean near Indigo Ranch in Malibu. This required plenty of muscle and several long extension cords so we could power it up at the edge of the overlook. We drilled a hole through the "sacrificial guitar" (painted gloriously by Scott Benzel, MLG's singer), and tied a long rope onto it. Then we got the longest instrument cables we could find and plugged the guitar into the amp. Guitar player Tom Coffeen readied himself to play the guitar at the edge of the cliff and I set up a portable Panasonic DAT machine and a pair of Audio Technica AT8004 mics on either side of the guitar rig. Tom bashed the guitar against the cabs and it started to to scream with a loud feedback howl. Then he tossed the guitar off the cliff. Once it went out of view down the cliff, we could only hear it crashing and breaking in the most elegantly beautiful destruction through the Marshall. We pulled on the rope and dragged the guitar back up the cliff to take a look. It was in pieces held together by guitar strings.
The guitar mayhem ultimately did not make the final cut on "Gilt". The album was dark and moody (concrete/grey is the perfect description) and the crashing feedback was just too distracting. Oh well, it was definitely worth the trouble setting up for the big dramatic guitar toss, if for no other reason it made a great story and built vivid memories for a lifetime. Studio owner Richard Kaplan insisted on keeping the pieces of the guitar, which he immortalized into a plaque which hung on the wall in Indigo Ranch Studios until its closing in 2006.
I assisted on the Siegmen sessions at Grandmaster and it was a wonderful experience to work with you and a lot of fun. I went out to pick them up on Melrose when the band was needed back in the studio. Crazy and fun bunch of guys.
Years later I was auditioning some audiophile speakers and had Gilt among the CDs I was using to check them out. The mixes just stood head and shoulders above what else I had brought and I had brought all my favorites! Each instrument stands in its own space and there is a wonderful depth to that album that really shines on a good system.
How do you go about creating that dimension and what methods help you get there? Any examples (tracking or mixing) or info from the Gilt recording sessions would be greatly appreciated.