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Author Topic: Studio Archives  (Read 714 times)

Thomas Breene

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Studio Archives
« on: April 03, 2021, 09:03:30 pm »

Hi, everyone.

I'm hoping some of the long-time professionals in here can provide some guidance on how to research studio archives.

I'm working with a couple of friends on a research project that involves a self-financed and self-published spoken-word album that was likely recorded at Criteria Studios circa 1972 or 1973.

I have no experience in the industry (though I'm a musician with a home recording studio), so I have no clue about what kind of archives or logs professional recording studios keep or kept at the time.

Thus far I've contacted a number of former Criteria engineers and haven't had much success getting even basic information about whether or not studios (even this particular studio) keep logs or other archival material, or whether any form of record-keeping takes place on a per-session basis.

So, my first question would be: In your experience, did the studios where you've worked keep session logs or similar records? Are masters kept?

If such records exist, how would you go about getting access to them? Contact the studio owner? (By the way, I've done that in this case, and the manager of Criteria told me they don't have any archives going back to 1972-1973, because the studio has changed ownership a few times since Mac Emerman founded and ran it).

Any suggestions (including, "Dude, that's a hopeless quest") would be greatly welcome.

Many thanks!

(Side note: The album in question is called "Xxenogenesis #1," and its creator remained a mystery until my friends, the leaders of the project mentioned above, recently cracked the case using copyright records for a book this person published. So at this point, we have all of the biographical info we need; we are in contact with his heirs; interviews have been held; and so on. What continues to elude us are the details of the album itself: Where was it recorded, what were the circumstances, etc.? Which is ironic, because the album -- which has a small cult following -- is what inspired this whole research project in the first place.)

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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Studio Archives
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2021, 12:01:39 am »

Hi Thomas-

My studio experience is neither long nor deep... but I recall that we only maintained logs of tapes for sessions in progress or that were stored (retained, as it were) by the studio because the sessions hadn't been paid for.

There was so much work done at Criteria in that era, I'm not surprised that anything not winning a Grammy or getting Gold/Platinum status has been forgotten, in addition to simply being 50 years ago.

Good luck in your quest.
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Steven Cohen

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Re: Studio Archives
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2021, 10:01:33 am »

Hi, everyone.

I'm hoping some of the long-time professionals in here can provide some guidance on how to research studio archives.

I'm working with a couple of friends on a research project that involves a self-financed and self-published spoken-word album that was likely recorded at Criteria Studios circa 1972 or 1973.

I have no experience in the industry (though I'm a musician with a home recording studio), so I have no clue about what kind of archives or logs professional recording studios keep or kept at the time.

Thus far I've contacted a number of former Criteria engineers and haven't had much success getting even basic information about whether or not studios (even this particular studio) keep logs or other archival material, or whether any form of record-keeping takes place on a per-session basis.

So, my first question would be: In your experience, did the studios where you've worked keep session logs or similar records? Are masters kept?

If such records exist, how would you go about getting access to them? Contact the studio owner? (By the way, I've done that in this case, and the manager of Criteria told me they don't have any archives going back to 1972-1973, because the studio has changed ownership a few times since Mac Emerman founded and ran it).

Any suggestions (including, "Dude, that's a hopeless quest") would be greatly welcome.

Many thanks!

(Side note: The album in question is called "Xxenogenesis #1," and its creator remained a mystery until my friends, the leaders of the project mentioned above, recently cracked the case using copyright records for a book this person published. So at this point, we have all of the biographical info we need; we are in contact with his heirs; interviews have been held; and so on. What continues to elude us are the details of the album itself: Where was it recorded, what were the circumstances, etc.? Which is ironic, because the album -- which has a small cult following -- is what inspired this whole research project in the first place.)

Thomas,

You may has some answers posting over at the Limestone Lounge. The site is dedicated to the Florida music scene and has some former Criteria people posting there. https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/limestonelounge/?sid=5f944778a00382a5e562fe6df6663f71
« Last Edit: April 04, 2021, 10:03:49 am by Steven Cohen »
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Ike Zimbel

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Re: Studio Archives
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2021, 01:16:21 pm »

Hi, everyone.

I'm hoping some of the long-time professionals in here can provide some guidance on how to research studio archives.

I'm working with a couple of friends on a research project that involves a self-financed and self-published spoken-word album that was likely recorded at Criteria Studios circa 1972 or 1973.

I have no experience in the industry (though I'm a musician with a home recording studio), so I have no clue about what kind of archives or logs professional recording studios keep or kept at the time.

Thus far I've contacted a number of former Criteria engineers and haven't had much success getting even basic information about whether or not studios (even this particular studio) keep logs or other archival material, or whether any form of record-keeping takes place on a per-session basis.

So, my first question would be: In your experience, did the studios where you've worked keep session logs or similar records? Are masters kept?

If such records exist, how would you go about getting access to them? Contact the studio owner? (By the way, I've done that in this case, and the manager of Criteria told me they don't have any archives going back to 1972-1973, because the studio has changed ownership a few times since Mac Emerman founded and ran it).

Any suggestions (including, "Dude, that's a hopeless quest") would be greatly welcome.

Many thanks!

(Side note: The album in question is called "Xxenogenesis #1," and its creator remained a mystery until my friends, the leaders of the project mentioned above, recently cracked the case using copyright records for a book this person published. So at this point, we have all of the biographical info we need; we are in contact with his heirs; interviews have been held; and so on. What continues to elude us are the details of the album itself: Where was it recorded, what were the circumstances, etc.? Which is ironic, because the album -- which has a small cult following -- is what inspired this whole research project in the first place.)
Anything that was recorded on multi-track tape...4, 8, 16, 24-track could all have been in use at the time, would have a "track sheet" listing what instruments were recorded on what tracks. The track sheet lived in the same box as the tape, so if you can find the master tapes, there should be some info there. If this album was entirely spoken word, with no SFX etc, it may have been done straight to 2-track (or even mono), in which case, there may never have been a track sheet created for it.
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Thomas Breene

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Re: Studio Archives
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2021, 09:36:31 pm »

Hi Thomas-

My studio experience is neither long nor deep... but I recall that we only maintained logs of tapes for sessions in progress or that were stored (retained, as it were) by the studio because the sessions hadn't been paid for.

There was so much work done at Criteria in that era, I'm not surprised that anything not winning a Grammy or getting Gold/Platinum status has been forgotten, in addition to simply being 50 years ago.

Good luck in your quest.

Wow! Thank you! That's extremely generous of you! We (my friends and I) are literally casting about trying to grok how this crazy album was made, and what you've said feels insightful. The person who recorded this album would've been a wealthy resident of North Miami, probably willing to pay cash, and I've read elsewhere that studios such as Criteria (back in the day) worked with both "major" artists and "daily grind" type of stuff, like commercials or pet projects. I suspect the recording we're interested falls into the latter category, so I REALLY appreciate the feedback (no pun intended; !)I know that's a fraught term for professional engineers!).
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Thomas Breene

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Re: Studio Archives
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2021, 09:44:48 pm »

Thomas,

You may has some answers posting over at the Limestone Lounge. The site is dedicated to the Florida music scene and has some former Criteria people posting there. https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/limestonelounge/?sid=5f944778a00382a5e562fe6df6663f71
[/quote

Thanks, Steven! I truly appreciate the insight. I actually looked at the website you suggested, and found one of the many legendary Criteria engineers from the era on that website, but I never got a response when I tried to contact him (other sources suggest he's dealing with some health issues, so fair enough in terms of our little "project").

I think our next avenue of analysis will be trying to figure out where this person may have recorded his album given the technology available at the time. The album makes conspicuous use of reverb, and I can tell that it was some kind of send channel because of where the reverb is placed and how it varies from one segment to the next (sometimes at 9:00 o' clock and less in the mix, other times in the same position but with a lot more tail, etc.).

Anyhow, thanks again for the insight! I really appreciate it.

Cheers,

Tom
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Re: Studio Archives
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2021, 09:44:48 pm »


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