Shavano Music Online

Recording Session With: Dave Kulju

April 1998

If you'd like more information about this effort, or want to buy a copy of this CD, please contact Dave Kulju directly.

Information provided by Dave Kulju, the guitarist/engineer/web designer for Electrum.

Frames of Mind: Production Notes

Recording Frames of Mind wasn't just a matter of capturing the band's sound on tape, but to some extent defining the sound of the band. Not having performed the material live, many of the compositions were not really completed until the final mix. We knew we wanted to create as orchestral a sound as we could, given only 8 tracks and 3 musicians were involved.

However, it had to be an honest sound. We avoided using sequencers and overdubs to add tracks that we didn't have enough hands to play. As Gino uses a midi pedal board, we were able to add some synthesizers while our hands were full with the fretted instruments. In addition, we created arrangements that allowed Gino and I to play keyboards during some sections, developing a more diverse sound.

It isn't easy trying to create a big sound working in a standing wave riddled basement with 8 tracks, no compression, no gates, and only my guitar rack effects unit (which caught the flu half way through mixdown). There was much punching in, juggling of tracks, creative equalization and large quantities of luck.

Though we didn't have a lot of equipment, most of what we did have, performed very well. We were able to get a decent drum sound with only 4 mics - stereo SM81 overheads, SM57 on the snare & Sein421 on the kick. Gino's garage, with its high ceiling, even performed well as an acoustic environment to record drums. If not for the flexibility of the Fostex ADAT and Mackie mixer, we would probably still be tracking.

On top of the technological challenges there were also the things they didn't teach me in the recording arts classes; curious neighborhood children, extraneous street noise, angry neighbors, skunks with a distaste for prog, buzzing fluorescent lights, flying insects the size of pterodactyls, and Canadian geese attacking from land, sea, and air.

It is a bit rough around the edges at times but I'm really happy with the effort from an engineering and musical standpoint. For us this is a benchmark, a learning experience, and with any luck a launching pad for a follow up CD.

Dave Kulju -

Electrum: Instrumental Progressive Rock

See for MP3 and RealAudio downloads to hear some of this work.