Juju Messengers

arton18.png "Sitting in a bar listening to European blues of a new century" probably is the longest album title of this page, for a very long and unorthodox (at the time) production process...
Album « Sitting in a bar… », HiGroove, 1999

For those with an eye for the finer details, we salute you...

It is often considered that the idea of blues is closely linked to that of a crossroad. Indeed, the way Mat Firehair (author/singer) and Philip Bonin (composer/guitarist) first met, the way I later got to know them, the way other musicians came along and played on this album, the way we finally decided to mix at home make of this album an improbable yet subtle blend.

The recording process actually took no more than a couple of weeks but spread over one year and a half. The basic tracks were recorded at Ouistiti Music Studios using three Tascam DA-88. The whole album was then transfered onto hard-disks through Mark of the Unicorn’s 2408 + Digital Performer tandem, summing up to 11 Go of disk space. A touch of editing sprinkled with a few plug-ins later (I think Bias’ Sfx Machine and Motu’s Sonic Modulator had the best part), and we had a first set of rough mixes. Unfortunately, we couldn’t mix at Ouistiti as their console - a Westec for the happy few who ever saw one - has no automation.

The russian bar studio

album_juju_1.jpg After looking in on here and there, we finally decided to rent a Mackie Digital 8 bus and set our mixing studio in my dining room. (photo) Listening conditions weren’t that bad, with the notable exception of the ceiling which kept vibrating as soon as I was listening a bit loud. There are many things I love with digital consoles, but above all is the ability to automate the equalizer as changing the color of a sound, rather than its volume, often sounds more natural in the mix.

Another good thing is that this album’s way crossed that of Mark Haliday, probably one of the best mastering engineers in France. Indeed, this album has something of a crossroad, a mix of possibles. Didn’t Lao-Tseu (who sure knew about blues) once say: "Chance is the sum of our ignorances."