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Current Tape Reviews

SPOTLIGHT 22: Barlos' Cantina
 
Artist Name:
Joseph Harter Jr.
  Title:
SPOTLIGHT 22: Barlos' Cantina
 
Date Posted:
June 2009
 
Genre:
Latin
Equipment Used:

PC running Cakewalk SONAR 6 Producer with Sonitus reverb plug-ins and Beta Monkey drum loops, Tubeworks 6150 Combo amp, Yamaha BB300 Bass with Music Man pickups through Joemeek SixQ preamp/compressor, Audix i5 amp mic, Yamaha Pacifica 1221 Electric guitar thru the same Joemeek pre, M-Audio Tampa preamp with modded Oktava MK-012 SDC mic for nylon string parts; Korg X5 for keyboard sounds (direct audio, not MIDI), very dead room with many bass traps from GIK acoustics and Auralex foam kits. “I think that’s all of it, except for my fingers, circa 1964, flesh tone.”

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Production Notes & Credits:

“Barlos’ Cantina” is a Latin flavored rock instrumental. Joseph composed, programmed, performed and recorded/mixed the piece in his home studio.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 5
Recording: As most of you know by now, Spotlight is where we get a chance to recognize what we feel to be some of our most impressive submissions. Joseph has delivered a mighty fine effort with “Barlos’ Cantina”; let’s take a closer look and see how did it.

Like many of you out there, Joseph records his music as a one-man band. What sets him apart from many others is his ability to balance the many hats required to successfully pull it off. Right out of the gate we were floored by the great tone that Joe got out of his guitars. The nylon string (a La Sido through a Michael Joly modded Oktava MK-012 small capsule condenser mic and an M-Audio Tampa mic pre) is beautifully recorded, with a deep, rich tone and nary a trace of “digititis”.

If possible, we were even more impressed with Joseph’s electric guitar sound. The combination of his Yamaha Pacifica ( a guitar also favored by the legendary Mike Stern), Tubeworks 6150 amp, and an Audix i5/ Joemeek SixQ, delivers a tone that can only be described as “killer”. Oh, by the way, the guy has some awesome chops as well!

Now for some meat and potatoes. Arranging multiple guitars, including harmony runs, is a skill that not many have, and is an area that many recordists struggle with. Take a minute and listen to the way Joseph has managed his guitars in this mix. Even though he switches them in and out multiple times, we never lose the feel of continuity or experience any volume/energy fluctuations. The fact that he is doing this with sources as divergent as a nylon string vs. a hyped-up electric is something to admire.

Moving on to the rhythm section, we were again struck by the quality of the tones and the performance. As we have often discussed, it is rare to find a musician who is as talented on his/her “secondary” instruments as they are on the primary ones. Not so here. Joe takes his Yamaha BB300 (again through the Joemeek pre) and proceeds to lay down a funk bass part as good as any that we have heard.

Joseph tells us in his cover letter that he is a relative novice to the DAW world, but we feel that he may be a bit too hard on himself here. Not only did he achieve great overall results using SONAR 6, but he also did a really good job creating his drum track with his Beta Monkey drum loops. Once again the tones are spot-on for the genre, and the overall performance sounds as if it came from the hands and feet of a drummer rather than a guitarist—because it did!

So there you have it, folks—an excellent example of how one person can create a great piece of music by wearing all of the hats wisely and equally.

Summary: Listen and learn, children.

Contact: Joseph Harter Jr., acoustic_cloud@sbcglobal.net.

About: Marty Peters

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