MUSIC IS MATH

Welcome to Pro Talk, Fun Facts and Superfluous Knowledge. A good place to discover some Music History.  Scroll down & hit button below for more Knowledge. Enjoy and learn something!

Historical Things  (will add a new one monthly)

SEPTEMBER 2018

Walter Sear was a true audiophile, and in 1963 has built an entire studio around this way of thinking. His philosophy was that musicians should play their songs live at the studio, they should feel as comfortable as possible on the premises, and that their performances should be captured through the shortest possible signal paths of the highest possible quality. Sear Sound was thus the polar opposite of the 'corporate' studio. Even though Sear created one of the most elaborate recording environments in the world, when asked about the most significant equipment at the studio, he laughingly replied: "Food!"

The entire equipment selection at Sear Sound is almost completely valve-based and was hand-picked by Walter Sear. All units were either modified by him, or built to his specifications in the first place. Sear Sound employs numerous vintage Pultec preamps, which are placed in the live rooms, and their outputs are fed directly to the tape recorders, bypassing the console. Speaking of tape recorders, Sear Sound owns four Studer J37 machines, which reportedly came directly from Abbey Road.

Some of Walter Sear's ideas seem unconventional at first glance. The studio boasts a collection of almost 300 microphones, most of them vintage ribbon and valve capacitor mics — and all of them are kept on their stands in the live rooms, readily waiting to be used. Dust? Not a problem at all, according to Walter Sear. The mics could be wiped off quickly, and there would be many advantages to this storage method. The microphones are available immediately, without having to be pulled out of their boxes — and most of the microphones at Sear Sound look immaculate, even though some of them are 50 years old.   (contains portions of SoundonSound article)

October 2018

WRTI was founded in 1948 as a campus-limited AM radio station at Temple University. The station was originally intended to be a student laboratory, and its call letters - RTI - stand for "Radio Technical Institute."  In 1953, WRTI became a licensed FM radio station operating at 10 watts from Temple University's main campus in Philadelphia.  WRTI adopted an all-jazz format in 1969.  In 1989, WRTI's antenna was relocated to a higher tower in Roxborough at increased power which resulted in WRTI operating as a 50 kW class B facility.  Starting in the late '80s, WRTI began an expansion program that is still in progress. Since then, repeater stations WJAZ, WRTQ, WRTX, WRTL, WRTJ, and WRTY, along with six translators, have been constructed, all of which extend coverage of the network into central and northeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Although the network includes multiple stations and translators, it is often referred to colloquially as WRTI, the network's flagship station.  In 1997, WRTI split its programming format to include classical music during the day and jazz at night after Philadelphia's classical music radio station, WFLN, was sold. Since these two musical art forms joined forces, WRTI has seen its ratings and audience share rise dramatically. The station has become one of the top-rated public radio stations in the area and in the nation.

November 2018

Condensed history of PIR

Philadelphian Kenny Gamble and New Jersey-born Leon Huff, writer-producers who had made their way through the collapsing Philadelphia music industry of the 1960s. They were reinforced by singer-turned-writer Linda Creed and writer-arranger Thom Bell, who had helped create the sound of the Delfonics at the city’s other main label, Philly Groove. Together they created a new kind of pop soul.  Based on the rhythmic talents of the Sigma Studios session men, who had a hit of their own as MFSB, Philadelphia International music featured unusual instrumentation—French horns, for example—and adult sensibilities delivered by adult vocalists.  By 1971, Gamble and Huff had formed their own label, Philadelphia International Records, and secured a distribution deal with CBS.  Davis (the head of CBS) was the kind of a record guy who knew what was going on in the music business," said Huff.  "So I think Clive Davis was aware of Gamble and Huff's independent track record as producers/songwriters.  Clive Davis knew about our talents, and he knew about our consistency, because we were pretty consistent with our production company.  And I think he was more excited about starting a relationship with us, as we were with him.  Because Clive Davis respects talent.  It's a proven factor today.  I think Clive was looking for us, more so than we were looking for national distribution."  By the end of 1974 Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and co-publisher Thom Bell were the most dominant pop and soul producers, having placed more than 20 hits on the charts that year (Bell's production credits included tracks for the Stylistics and the Spinners).  Two years after its creation, Philadelphia International was the second-largest African-American owned company in America, just behind Motown.  Mighty Three Music Group, the publishing arm of music from Gamble, Huff and Bell, has been recognized by Billboard magazine as one of the top R and B/soul music publishers in the industry.   “Me and Mrs. Jones” (1972), a tale of implied infidelity, launched nightclub balladeer Billy Paul. After nearly 20 years in the business, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes became stars, and lead vocalist Teddy Pendergrass became an archetypal 1970s sex symbol. The O’Jays, also veterans with a 10-year recording history behind them, reached the Top Ten with “Back Stabbers” (1972) and “Love Train” (1973), both social commentaries in a successfully naive vein. Where Gamble and Huff led, disco followed—the Ritchie Family’s “Best Disco in Town” (1976) was recorded at Sigma, as was the Village People’s “YMCA” (1978). Philadelphia’s final big hit, the anthemic “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” (1979) by (Gene) McFadden and (John) Whitehead, came as dance music underwent one of its episodic black-white schisms. A couple of years later, Daryl Hall and John Oates—the favourite white sons of Philadelphia soul—grafted their traditional rhythm-and-blues voicings onto the new black rhythms of hip-hop.

January 2019

All you studio buffs, I present to you a good article that gives a crash course on the history of Powerstation to Avatar to Berklee.  Read it. Let me know what you think about the diminishing scene in NYC. And the slow comeback I am starting to notice.  Email me your  thoughts. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/05/arts/music/power-station-avatar-studios-berklee.html

Fun Facts and Superfluous Knowledge
  • Meshell Ndegeocello is not only a great artist but is the bass player for John Cougar Mellancamp.

  • The RZA of Wu-Tang Clan birth name is Robert Diggs

  • The name of the first Roots album was "Organix" released 1993

  • One of my all time favorites Joni Mitchell was born in Canada. Thanks guys!

  • First African American to win a Grammy, Best Jazz Performance, Group: Count Basie's 'Basie' 1958

  • Will Smith & Jeff Townes first boycotted the Grammys in 1989 to force the academy to air the category on television. 

     

Robert LB Dorsey, LB9000, B2L, LB9K 

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