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Old 18th October 2017
Gear Nut
Moke's Avatar

I celebrated 35 years of live recordings yesterday, most of which were as a two channel ambient minimalist.
I got my start before I can even remember. My grandma was a choir leader and soloist in her church choir. She had a portable mono reel to reel deck, and a single mono mic (supplied with the deck), taht she would use to record the coir and her solos. That thing fascinated me. I knew how to spool it up, and record stuff on it by the time I was probably 4?
Around 1970, my folks got me a small portable mono shoe-box size cassette recorder with its plastic bodied mic (included), that had a moulded-in triangular base so that you could put it on a table and record conversations. I used it to try to capture my favorite songs on my 8-Ball AM radio, and 93KHJ AM radio in Los Angleles. I'd aim the mic at the radio speaker, and try to record the songs; then my mom would come in, and say something and wreck the recording.
Around 1976/77, I used this same recorder to record a couple of Larry Carlton / Robben Ford concerts at a club called Dantes in Hollywood. I asked for his permission (was friends with, and was attending the shows with his cousin). He looked at my contraption, and said, to go for it. So I set my recorder up on the table (we had our table at the stage-lip, center). I pushed record, and proceeded to take a bunch of pictures of them with my kodak camera with its rotating flash cube popping right in their faces.
These recordings came out solidily brickwalled with moments of actual music that could be heard deeply buried in the noise. But, I loved them, they were mine.

Flash forward to Oct 17, 1982, a Grateful Dead show in Santa Fe NM, and my run-in with a pair of stereo recordists. The lights dropped, I was shoved behind a pair of mics on an eye-level mic stand, the blanket was pulled back, a half dozen linked Sony TC-D5M meters were happily bouncing away.
My jaw dropped, I couldn't believe what I was seeing, and was numbed by the fact that I was right in the center of it all.
So, yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of that moment, and, the thought of the literal thousands of recording done live since that fateful day. It was like a mainline hit turning me into a recording junky instantly.