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Current Tape Reviews

Artist Name:
Tomas de-Camino-Beck
SPOTLIGHT 15: Cotton
Date Posted:
January 2008
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

Mac iBook G4 with preSonus INSPIRE 1394 FireWire audio interface running Apple GarageBand 2 and the following plug-ins: Camel Audio CamelCrusher, Luxonix LFX-1310, Wave Arts TrackPlug, and IK Multimedia T-RackS 24. Soundcraft Compact 4 mixer, Audio-Technica AT3035 condenser mic, Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones, Behringer ULTRA-G DI box, M-Audio Oxygen8 USB controller.

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Production Notes & Credits:

“Cotton” is an ambient rock tune with a bit of a spooky Fleetwood Mac vibe. Tomas was the writer and “one man band” on this one.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 3
Recording: This month we are taking a bit of a departure from our “Best Of” SPOTLIGHT format and instead are focusing on what the great Paul Simon once described as, “One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor”. By this we mean that many of the most used terms and descriptions through the years in the Readers’ Tapes column—compression, ambience, sibilance and the like—can be interpreted in vastly different ways.

What sounds completely squashed to our ears on our listening system may sound just right to another recordist. While we support and encourage this difference of opinion, and do our best to explain in our column what we hear in our critiques and how we interpret it... sometimes it’s simply better to play it than to say it! To that end, we present “Cotton” in all of its ambient glory—a very interesting blend of musical spaces in order to create a very specific mood.

Can we all hear the “distance” of the dobro and the drums? How about the “in your face” presence of the distorted electric guitar at 1:30 and after? These are fine examples of ambience or space, as we often describe them. Dig that heavily filtered “Cotton” vocal, panned to the right at the very end of the track. It pulls the listener’s attention aside during the ending and refocuses it very effectively.

“Cotton” is not a perfect piece by any means, but it’s very instructive as a good example of the creative use of space in the recording process. What Tomas has done here that many fail to do is to is to provide “shadow and light” to his mix, creating a setting or atmosphere through the use of ambience. Can you hear it? Let us know!

Summary: Cool vibe from the frozen plains of Alberta.

Contact: Tomas de-Camino-Beck,
About: Marty Peters

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