Wales Toes

While Reptar was tearing up SXSW, I was en route to Bethesda, Wales to the beautiful Bryn Derwen Studios. I'm working with English band Fanfarlo and having a great time. It's a residential studio in North Wales and very secluded. We're basically in the middle of the countryside with no car and nothing really to do but make music. Band is great, studio is great, and our engineer, David Wrench just informed me that he mixed the last 2 Caribou records, so I think we're in excellent hands.

Stay tuned, as I'll be constantly updating (ie, every week!) and trying to keep up!



I'm an excellent driver....

...but a horrible blogger. If only I could afford to pay someone to follow me around the studio, taking pictures, downloading them, editing them, posting them to this website and then writing witty blog posts...if only.

But, it's just me...

Here's a brief history of the last 6 months:

Mixed 3 songs for MIA mid-2010

"Tell Me Why"

AND, remixed "XXXO" with Jay-Z!

I also did another remix that they didn't like so much. I thought the tune had a completely different vibe so I submitted this one and the dudes at Interscope literally laughed at me. But, I dig it. Perhaps you will too. Feel free to enjoy it.

Later, I produced and mixed a record with Deerhunter. It was a challenging couple of weeks, but I think the end result sounds pretty great. Some other people think so too. My favorite track is "Coronado". Bradford's lyrics are ridiculous. David Barbe of Athens' Chase Park Transduction was instrumental in the success of this album.

Not content to sit on my laurels for any real length of time, I made a record with Atlanta locals Gringo Star. Good boys, good songs. Only band I know that's been sued by Ringo Star.


Cut Copy @ Southern Tracks with the soul posse 

Shortly thereafter, my new mates Cut Copy rolled into town to mix the forthcoming Zonoscope, out on Modular very soon. Nicest band in Australia perhaps, though their basketball game could use some work. Their taste in coffee is epic and I have since caught the bug. I hope to pull some shots for them when they roll through the ATL in March. Juno got some airtime on the vid too.

Then, I actually did rest on my laurels for a spell. Went to Santa Cruz, CA to visit my buddy Tony G and to do some surfing. I'm a total novice and was constantly berated by the locals for my foam board and poor skills. I still managed to have an absolute blast. Thanks T. Why don't I live on the West Coast?

After all that rest, I was ready to work again, and began work on the new Reptar EP, which we're actually mastering this coming week. If you don't know Reptar, then you don't know yourself. Once you are spiritually and sexually prepared to have your life changed, please go check them out. The show is amazing and they might be the nicest dudes in Georgia, and I know a LOT of really nice dudes in Georgia.

Spent most of November mixing Finnish prog-pop outfit Rubik. Imagine Kate Bush meets Dungen and you get the idea. Better yet, go buy the album when it comes out and you can actually get the idea.

December saw the arrival of Ernest Greene, aka Washed Out. Ernest and I spent a few weeks crafting a record that I'm  proud of. No title yet, it's not even mastered, but there are some moments on this album that are breathtaking and I'm really digging it. Ernest also happens to be one of the nicest dudes in Georgia.


Dr Dog and Juno the dog

After Washed Out, I hit Glow in the Dark again for 5 days with Dr Dog, who might be the nicest dudes in Philly. I don't know, because I've never really hung out in Philly, but I have a feeling that they're up there with the nicest of the nice. Scott made Juno and I matching hats and I learned how to love yerba mate. Also, who knew that a Sphere console from the 70's could sound so good?

Now, I'm wrapping up mixes on the Reptar EP which should be heading to Joe Lambert for mastering on Monday, if I can finish it tomorrow!

Hopefully, I can manage to be a better blogger and do this like twice a month instead once every 6.  Here is your free ringtone of the month, BTW.  Just right click to download and drag it into your 'Ringtones' folder in the top left corner of iTunes.



Matt and Kim of epic proportions...

Hey all.

So, working on the new Matt and Kim record here at Maze. We've been at it for over a month and while I'm a little fried, I'm also very excited. I think it's a really cool record with great songs.

We use only the finest gear.

We have the most premium snacks, like these.

Matt likes keyboards: lots of them.

Next door, my buddy Exit is working on his Common remix project. It's gonna be badass!

Michael Dorio and Brad Hagen from Trances Arc stopped by to say what's up. Brad lent a little percussion to the record for us.

Bruce Lee.

Plate reverb is the only reverb

Imagine a world before computers.

Imagine making records with only 4 or best case 8 tracks. Imagine life where a performance would be captured on tape and never edited, tuned or manipulated on a DAW.

Imagine standing in a recording studio the size of your bedroom, with a tape machine the size of a refrigerator and a console with huge knobs and a guy wearing Ray-Bans and smoking a cigarette while he's turning them.

Now look to your left. See that big wooden crate in the corner? That's a plate reverb. That is the sound of music from the early 50's through the 80's, all 6ft and 400 lbs of it.

There is no reverb but plate reverb.

Well, spring reverb is a very close second. Everything else is just an algorithm.

Reptar + Blender = Cannabis Babies

Hey all. I'm such a douche. I haven't made a post in months. It's all in the name of music though, as I've been stupid-busy.

Look out for several posts over the next few days.

In the meantime, check out my new favorite band Reptar. They're the best band in Athens right now. Period. We've just cut a 7-inch that will be out soon. Keep an eye out for it in stores as well as iTunes.



We're the Stars...

Cutting some B-sides with the boys.

The Constellations, my former band and current friends, have been signed to Virgin Records. We're working on some bonus tracks for the label over the next week or so. Meanwhile, the Clap Squad sleeps:

Ryan strapping one on for some guitar parts:

Look for the album to re-drop mid-2010. Consider yourself lucky if you downloaded Southern Gothic or bought it in the store from MRNB, as the artwork and even some of the songs will be different. No matter what, thanks for the support!


Matt and Kim! (and Ben...)

So, just spent a couple o days in the Brooklyn outpost of MRNB, Mission Sound, working on a track with the dynamic duo, Matt and Kim. Fun times, let me tell you. Not sure I've seen any 2 people eat so much sugar and drink so much caffeine in the span of 4 days.

We had a blast, though I had to show Matt a couple of things about the console.

Meanwhile, they briefly considered making me a third member: hype-man of course.

Oddly, my world seems to never change...wherever I go, there I am.

These aren't the drugs you're looking for...

Pimento Jams

These aren't drugs. In fact, they are a kind of drug, just not what you'd expect (pimento cheese sandwiches). Emily Hall, a friend of the Whigs', has been dropping in every couple of days with a bit of food for the band and Co, which is really nice, as she can cook and it makes us more productive. Thanks for the eats Beat-rice.

Tim and Julian are playing magic fingers...

My side of the room looks like a dorm...

The other Lunchbox...

Parker has brought back flannel...

Friends let friends beat toms...

Whigs 3.0

Whigs Album Cover Art

So, Whigs record started this week. We're working at my home away from home, CPT. Our engineer, Tom Lewis, is tweaking Vari-Mu's and other toys to perfection.

Meanwhile, David Barbe is pontificating about the finer points of Little League, again on his soapbox.

Pre-production started here, a garage in Athens, situated conveniently next to a small sandblasting operation. Basically, the garage door stays open until sandblasting starts, then we pull the door down and bake like tomatoes in a hydroponic growing room. Nice, especially considering the now-tropical temperatures in Athens.

Luckily, we have Juno on hand to offer advice as well as proper dressing procedures. Tim is busy making magic like a whirling Dervish, while Julian and Parker ponder the implications of playback.

I'm not sure how we'd get anything done without tie-dye.

In the beginning, there was light...

Hello all. Greetings from the cave, my little cubicle in the back of a warehouse in Atlanta, GA, otherwise known as Maze Studios. My name is Ben H. Allen and I make records, not bombs.

This blog will document the adventures of myself, my sidekick Juno the studio wonder dog and my assistant, Robert Gardner.

If you're a techie type and wish to pontificate on the finer points of audio engineering, music production or anything of great import, then please drop a comment and I'll do my best to be conversive.



Lightspeed Champion

So, been working at Mission Sound in Brooklyn, producing the new Lightspeed Champion record with Dev and the boys from Adam Green's band.  As you can see, the secret to great drum sounds is an excellent hat:



Otherwise, I would suggest using a good drummer playing good parts on a good kit in a good room.  Then, and only then, would I worry about microphones, mic pres and compressors.  Amazing what you can do with good ideas and good people!  That said, a vintage 80-series Neve doesn't hurt:



Gibson Guitars was nice enough to lend us a couple of axes for the sessions as well:  an SG classic with P90's, a Les Paul bass, and an Epihone acoustic with a crack extending all the way from the bridge to the heel.  It actually sounds fantastic!  


After day #1, we've got one song wrapped up, except for vocals, which we'll be doing in Atlanta in early March.  I'll report back soon!








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