Mac Pro running Digidesign Pro Tools with McDSP, Native Insturments, and Waves plug-ins; Audio-Technica AT4050 and Shure SM57 mics; Focusrite ISA430 and Apogee Mini-Me; Washburn acoustic, G&L ASAT electric guitar, bass.
Production Notes & Credits:
“I Got Love” is a female vocal acoustic pop/rock song. Tiki co-wrote and sang the vocals, Jay Skinner co-wrote, and handled the instruments and the tracking, mixing and mastering.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Love this song, love it, love it! Makes us feel like the summer of 1979 all over again. So what if it it’s the best song that Ricky Lee Jones never wrote, don’t care one bit.
This recording came sooooo close to being this month’s SPOTLIGHT, you folks have no idea. Jay and Tiki have delivered their A game on this one. The lead vocal is both intimate and powerful, the sparse arrangement is creative (dig those crazy reverbed finger snaps and foot stomps!) and Jay’s playing is first-rate.
So what, then, keeps “I Got Love” from receiving SPOTLIGHT status? Well, if we can go back to those golden late ’70s as a reference... it’s the tone, children. Whether it was from the initial tracking, the lack of analog tape (there, I said it!), or something gone awry during the mastering stage, the overall tone here is bright, brittle and sharp. This is particularly true on the acoustic guitar, and it’s a darn shame. If any of you would care to compare, go back to that first Rickie Lee Jones release, brilliantly engineered by the one of the true masters in our field, one Mr. Lee Hirschberg. Rarely will you come across more beautifully recorded acoustic guitars. Check out the intro to the track “Night Train” and see if you don’t agree.
Suggestions: Not having been present during the making of “I Got Love”, it’s difficult for me to surmise where the abovementioned tone issues originated. A quick survey of the duo’s gear list shows a good bit of quality stuff, so it’s doubtful that gear played a significant role here.
That said, there is absolutely no mention of monitor speakers anywhere. Not to go off on yet another rant...actually, scratch that, I am going off on yet another rant! It’s truly mindboggling how many submissions include the most minute detail on such items as what beverages were consumed during tracking, and yet completely disregard what may be the most critical piece of equipment in the recordist’s arsenal. In very plain terms, you can’t mix what you can’t hear. Did Jay mix on headphones? (Please don’t get me started!) Computer speakers? Subwoofers? No one knows for sure, but the answer is critical.
What we are sure of is that Tiki and Jay have all the talent in the world, and our suggestion to them is as follows: find a copy of the aforementioned album by Ms. Jones and A/B the recording against “I Got Love” on whatever speakers you choose. When they match, your mission will be accomplished.
Summary: This year’s summer fave!
Contact: Tiki Lewis/Jay Skinner, firstname.lastname@example.org.