The Black Sea

The Black Sea
  1. 0:00

    Spacewalk - Life Among The Stars 1

  2. 0:00

    Spacewalk - Life Among The Stars 2

  3. 0:00

    Spacewalk - 10.31.61

  4. 0:00

    Set & Setting - Dashboard Pipe

  5. 0:00

    Set & Setting - Group Therapy

  6. 0:00

    Set & Setting - The Goods

  7. 0:00

    Set & Setting - Die Like An Astronaut

  8. 0:00

    Keep On Diggin' - Keep On Diggin'

  9. 0:00

    Keep On Diggin' - Ghost Motorcycle

  10. 0:00

    Keep On Diggin' - Gravy Train

  11. 0:00

    Keep On Diggin' - Head Shop Dub

  12. 0:00

    Keep On Diggin' - Message From Watts

Steve had been writing the music for the first Black Sea record around the time that MOLD decided to call it quits. The experience of recording the Honey Lava album, which wound up so poorly produced and mixed and that we never truly released it, was a last straw for me.....after years of being at the mercy of other people's ears and recording equipment, and never being satisfied with the results, I was ready to start trying it out for myself. So I bought my first studio gear: a Motu 2408, an AKG c3000 condenser mic, a Joe Meek preamp, AKG studio headphones, and a pair of Event PS6 monitors, along with Logic 5 (pre-Apple) because it came with way more audio mixing plugins and soft synths than Protools.

We made the first Black Sea record, Spacewalk, in all it's 20-bit glory, in my living room using Reason stereo drums that Steve programmed and went heavy on the reverbs, analog synths, and tape delay. I upgraded to a Motu 896 for the second record, Set & Setting, and had a few more mics by then, though I had to borrow a bunch to track the drums for Die Like an Astronaut. By the third record, I had the RME fireface 800, the UA & Sytek preamps, and the Russion Lomo tube mic, which is what we used on Julie Delano's vocals (sometimes I forget how awesome that Lomo sounds). The drums and bass (featuring real musicians Rich Kulsar and Byron Isaacs) were tracked in a basement and the piano was tracked at my mom's house in NJ.

All three records were a lot of fun and my first real full productions. You can hear the upgrades in both the quality of gear used and also my skills as an engineer from record to record. You can also hear my influence as I slowly but surely shifted the focus from electronic instruments played mostly by just Steve and I, to a far more "human" record built around a cadre of badass musicians by the time we finished Keep On Diggin'. I tried to pick out the most representative tunes, but check out the rest of the records...we covered a lot of ground and there are a lot of real gems missing from this list.