Artist Name: Merritt Harris/Mountains & Valleys Title: Reminder Genre: Folk Rating:
Macbook Pro 2011 using Reaper. Presonus Firestudio Project interface. Some hand me down Yamaha monitors (I fixed two blown mid range speakers) and CAD MH510 headphones through Samson C-Que 8. Mics: CAD m179, Shure mic kit DMK5752, PG56, Samson CO1 as drum room mic. Used mostly stock or free plug ins and NI vintage compressors, NI RC 48. Amp: Vox AC4. Guitar: Ibanez JetKing 1. Bass: SX Jazz knock off into Sans Amp bass driver DI. Drums: Gretsch Catalina with vintage 60s-70s Ziljians.
Production Notes & Credits
Rachel Leigh- Violin All other instruments, production and recording- Merritt Harris Mastered by Jocko Randall at More Sound Studio Syracuse NY.
“Reminder” is a male vocal folk song. Merritt did it all with the exception of the violin and mastering which were complements of Rachel Leigh and Jocko Randall ( More Sound Studio, Syracuse, NY ) respectively.
Reviewed By Marty Peters
This month’s Spotlight is a slow building, spacious and textured track that makes great use of dynamics, something that is increasing rare in today’s cram and slam musical environment. The track intro’s with a sparse electric guitar, vocal and string section that gently leads us into the introduction of the rhythm section just past the one minute mark. While we are generally not in favor of such long buildups, Merritt pulls it off with aplomb here thanks to the presence of his lead vocal. We found both the delivery and the forward nature of the vocal to be quite captivating against the minimal music bed. The Cad M-179 mic pairs well with Merritt’s voice, and his soft singing fills the stereo field quite nicely. Moving on, the drums had a fine organic feel, the cymbals were well recorded and presented without harshness, and the toms had that airy, mic’ed live sound that has yet to be fully duplicated by software in our humble opinion. We absolutely dug the big rich bass guitar tone as well, it provided a great anchor for the rest of the instruments to “play” around. As we have mentioned consistently in our Spotlight features, superior arrangements seem to be a common thread, and that is again the case here. All of the ancillary sources contributed dynamically to create excitement and energy, from the background vocals and strings, to the distorted electric guitars and the well chosen percussion. We have to give major props to Merritt here for his ability to wear all of these hats so successfully. While we are unsure of his primary instrument, all of the performances are top notch, as is the tracking and mix. Add in the composition and the arrangement and we have a winning combination all around!
Merritt, Rachel and Jocko have created an an excellent piece of work here, one that really exemplifies the “shadow and light” dynamics described so often in these pages. Merritt navigated seemlessly between the quiet and loud sections of the arrangement, and the track never suffered an energy imbalance during the process. For those of you searching for a dynamics “blueprint”, this would be a great place to start.
Those hats are a good fit!
Merritt Harris, firstname.lastname@example.org