Today is Black Friday Record Store Day and The National released a three-cassette box set titled The National: Juicy Sonic Magic, Live in Berkeley, September 24-25, 2018. But this isn't a typical soundboard recording. The National commissioned archivist Erik Flannigan to record their shows using techniques developed by famed bootlegger Mike "The Mic" Millard who died in 1994. Millard's recordings of concerts by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones -- which he never sold himself, although they were sometimes resold by others -- are considered some of the greatest concert bootlegs of all time. Above, a short documentary by Flannigan and filmmaker David DuBois about Mallard's life's work and The National's release. The illustrations are by my pal Jess Rotter, animated by Eben McCue. In the liner notes, Flannigan wrote:
Millard’s legend is built in part on the cunning and subterfuge he used to get his nearly 15-pound cassette deck and microphones into venues like the The Forum, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and The Roxy.
For years I have pondered what made Millard’s recordings so good, and eventually I had an idea: What if you recorded a concert today with the same equipment Millard used in 1977? Would it sound like his tapes? Would it tap into his Midas touch?
The National was kind enough to let us test the Millard Method for two concerts at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California last September. These live recordings were made with vintage AKG 451E microphones and a restored Nakamichi 550 cassette deck which are identical to those used by Millard circa 1975-81. The idea was to see if we could recreate what Matt Berninger calls the “juicy sonic magic” Millard captured in his 1970s field recordings.
Samara Ginsberg performs Sylvester Levay’s Airwolf theme tune — originally intended for orchestral presentation but now a synth classic — on eight cellos. Stringfellow would be so proud! Bonus: Ginsberg’s done Bernard Hoffer’s Thundercats theme too: Previously: Knight Rider theme performed on eight cellos
Italian composer Ennio Morricone is dead at 91. Morricone acquired fame scoring Westerns but transcended genre to become one of the world’s masters of the form. “His music was always outstanding,” writes Hans Zimmer, “and done with great emotional fortitude and great intellectual thought.” His 1960s scores for Sergio Leone, backing a moody Clint Eastwood […]
I’m a little late to the party as I’ve just discovered the fantastic world of YouTuber Pickitup’s ska covers! K.K. Slider himself would be impressed by his ska-jazz cover of the Animal Crossing: New Horizons theme. Now, if that’s not your thing, Pickitup’s got a huge catalog of other ska/[insert music genre here] covers on […]
Nearly 30 years after it started its run as the most dominant productivity software ever created, the Microsoft Office suite of programs are now virtually synonymous with personal computing. From its days bundled with Windows to its current life as Office 365 cloud-based apps, there’s no reason to think perennial hits like Word, Excel and […]
Photography isn’t just about lighting and composition anymore, especially when you’re shooting with your smartphone. While a wealth of expertise can absolutely help you grab better images, sometimes it’s just about having a great light or an amazing smoothing gimbal to instantly elevate your Instagram pics and other social videos from meh to standout. To […]
As the summer surges forward, grilling and evenings in the backyard may be the only serious outdoor excursions many of us take this season. Yet even with all of our current problems, there’s one group who doesn’t care a bit about COVID-19 and will still look to make any trip you make outside into an […]