Long Day Sin recorded the music for the album America Owns America Wins at Cause Static studios in Boston, MA. The set-up was simple. A MacBook Pro loaded with Logic Pro 9 connected to Apogee’s Ensemble provided the building blocks to capture, store, and manipulate audio files.
Some of the plug-ins to produce and master the album included software from Waves Audio and iZotope. Vocals were recorded using either the Blue Baby Bottle or Studio Projects C1 microphones. The percussion and ethnic vocals featured on the tracks were obtained from Virtual Libraries.
For the record, Long Day Sin is neither endorsed by the companies that manufacture the products mentioned nor does it endorse them. The products are discussed for those individuals who might be curious about the production of the album.
Once all the tracks were recorded for each of the songs, the mix was sent out for further production and mastering at RiPP studios in Austin, TX.
Arduino is an open-source electronics platform developed by Massimo Banzi and David Cuartielles. You can hear this gadget at work throughout the album America Owns America Wins
One aspect that is very appealing about the Arduino platform is its ease of use. The electronics are simple and easily manipulated with a turn of a few knobs. Another aspect is the price. These devices are inexpensive whether you purchase a kit and build it yourself or acquire them already assembled.
The track “Me Generation” illustrates the diversity of Arduino-based synth using the Bleep Labs Thingamagoop 2. The abstract noise generating capability starts the song with its pulsating and random rhythm, and is then followed by a melodic four note phrase. “Middle Class” and "White Pride" uses the light sensitive tentacle on the Thingamagoop 2 to create the frenzy of notes heard throughout the song.
The title track “America Owns America Wins” is written around two random motifs created by another Arduino-based synth from the Bleep Labs called the Nebulophone. The first motif appears during the opening bars of the song and plays against the bass guitar; the second motif appears at the first pass of the chorus and continues throughout the song.
Tom Scholz founded the company Scholz Research & Development Inc. and created a little device he called the Rockman headphone guitar amplifier. This headphone amplifier is a signal processor equipped with a pre-set equalizer, chorus, and echo tailored specifically for the guitar.
What's nice about this amplifier is it can be used in either mono or stereo mode via the line out or headphone jacks respectively. For this album, the guitars recorded through this device were captured using a mono signal. You can hear the sound of the headphone amplifier coupled with a vintage Ibanez Tube Screamer on the LDSin cover of “Money (That’s what I want)” and the original track “White Pride.” Matching the level and drive of the Tube Screamer to the headphone amplifier allowed the former’s tone control to brighten the guitar and place it in the mix without further manipulation.
There are many Rockman modules for the guitar besides the headphone amplifier. The Rockman Stereo Chorus is considered a gold standard for its doubling effect; the Smartgate is deemed as one of the best noise cancelling devices ever manufactured for guitar on a mass scale.
The Rockman bass guitar headphone amplifier served as the means to record the bottom end. The bass signal was subsequently refined through additional software plug-ins, primarily through either iZoptope's Alloy or Wave Audio's Renaissance MAXX.
All three libraries offer the ability to create your own Mediterranean percussion rhythms through the MIDI function. LDS preferred to edit actual sample loops to fit a particular song rather than create new ones through the software's instrument function. Suffice it to say that the loops sounded and felt more organic to us.
Apple's Logic Pro 9, Best Service, and MOTU also contain a suite of high quality ethnic vocal loops. The ethnic vocals which appear on some of the tracks are exclusively from the Best Service Ethno World 5 Professional Voices library. This decision was empirically driven. Samples were selected based on the minimal amount of editing--pitch shifting, splicing, etc.--in order to preserve the integrity of the original performance.