Artist Name: Nate Morton and Kenwood Anderson Title: Rhinoceros Foxtrot Genre: Jazz Rating:
Drums recorded on Pro Tools through “many top mics and analog outboard gear.” Keyboards and bass tracked on Lenovo PC running Steinberg Cubase using virtual instruments including Scarbee Vintage Keys and Ample Bass ABJ virtual bass. Mixed and mastered with plug-ins by Waves and Slate Digital.
Production Notes & Credits
“Rhinoceros Foxtrot” is a funky jazz instrumental. Kenwood played the bass, keyboards and handled all of the recording chores with the exception of the drums. Nate played drums (tracked by Alan Hertz at his Shabby Road studio in San Rafael, CA) and assembled the loops.
Reviewed By Marty Peters
This month’s Spotlight showcases some superb performance and arrangement chops while taking advantage of a hybrid recording method that we have long encouraged. Some of you will have heard of Nate, who’s (among other things) the house drummer for the band on the TV talent program The Voice. On this album, he has recorded his drum tracks at a separate studio and combined them with the work of the multitalented Kenwood Anderson covering the other instruments.
As has become one of our main themes here at Readers’ Tracks, superior song arrangement has accompanied virtually every one of our Spotlight selections, and you’ll find no exception here. The fact that there are no lyrics in Kenwood and Nate’s composition shines an even brighter light on their arrangement skills. The sections here are tight and well conceived, with a flow that enhances the listening experience, and that earns it an A grade in our book.
Fortunately the performances and tones are of equal quality in our opinion. During our time at the helm of Readers’ Tracks (Tapes), we have on many occasions encouraged our submitters to consider using outside assets to their benefit, be it via the internet or other methods. Kenwood and Nate have done precisely that with the drums here. Utilizing Alan Hertz’s studio and engineering prowess allowed Nate to focus on his topnotch playing, free from wearing one too many hats in the bargain. The results speak for themselves: fantastic drum tones and ambience that became the bedrock for the duo’s additional instrumental additions back at Kenwood’s home studio.
We love the fat bass and super-present keyboard parts; they’re punchy and muscular, lockstepped with the drums. The keyboard solo has an exaggerated midrange tone that mimics an electric guitar in a most complimentary way, and we really dig that funky breakdown at the 3:30 mark. This must be the Rhinoceros section, all arrangement whimsy and drum thunder. Awesome!
Lastly, kudos to Kenwood for his fine mix on the track. The parts interact energetically and the complicated arrangement never bogs down. Well done, sir.
We are obviously impressed by the guys’ efforts here. Having certain instruments (especially drums!) recorded at a studio that’s better equipped than what one has at home should not be thought of as “cheating.” Renting a piece of gear or using an outside facility are simply examples of the possibilities that can aid us in realizing our musical dreams most effectively. Connecting with others via file sharing over the web offers even more options; there are even affordable services where a live drummer in a good room can be hired to create a drum track to a composer’s specifications.
Obviously for Readers’ Tracks we draw the line at featuring songs that were entirely recorded using a commercial facility (that’s hardly fair and teaches the reader very little), but with the bulk of the song being done at Kenwood’s home studio, we can call out the drum tracking as the smart play for this track and for the album it’s featured on.
As usual with Spotlight, the suggestions we have are directed towards the reader. Study the sonic goodness, folks… and thank you, Kenwood and Nate!
Bringing the funky fun!
Kenwood Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.kenwoodsmusic.com; Nate Morton, www.natemortondrums.com