New York and Surrounding Music Communities Slammed by Sandy
Hurricane Sandy hit New York a week ago today, and the city is still recovering.
I was away in San Francisco at the time, covering the 133rd AES Convention for SonicScoop. Returning home meant 18 hours of travel, including a plane to Detroit, a 15 minute dash from one end of the airport to the other to catch a connecting flight, and then a drive home from Philly that brought us through a blacked-out lower Manhattan on Halloween night, where we navigated busy unlit intersections completely free of traffic lights.
I got lucky, and so did many New Yorkers. I live on a street that’s at a slight incline, and rising tides, which caused most of the damage nearby were kept safely away.
But just two blocks down the hill from me, friends lost everything. More than a dozen studios and rehearsal rooms at the newly opened South Sound were washed away by the storm. These new rooms, including Translator Audio and The Civil Defense, had just had their grand opening party two weeks prior to the hurricane, and I had written a story about their promising new concept. You’ll find a link to it in this very issue.
Unfortunately, the rising floodwaters that overflowed the toxic Gowanus canal put insurmountable pressure against the newly renovated building, and eventually, a sturdy steel grate buckled and gave way, letting torrents of superfund saltwater into the building.
Furniture was picked up by the currents strong enough to smash down walls and throw a vertical piano from one side of a room to another. The water level inside quickly rose to about 5 feet, completely submerging consoles, tape machines and entire racks of gear. In worst-case scenarios, no one had anticipated that kind of damage.
There were similar stories in Redhook, Coney Island, Jersey City, Staten Island and Queens. I’ll be covering the hardest-hit music spaces in those neighborhoods and others in the coming days on SonicScoop. But in the meantime, there are things you can do to help.
But they weren’t the only ones hit. Norton Records in Red Hook was also hit hard by unprecedented sea levels, and thousands of their rare vinyl records were damaged or destroyed. They’re looking for volunteers to help clean and restore the records that can be salvaged through next week. To help them out, call 718-789-4438 or e-mail [email protected] and put VOLUNTEER as the subject.
Also in need of immediate assistance are the good people of the legendary Free Form radio station WFMU, who lost both transmitters in the storm, and were forced to cancel their annual record fair, turning a yearly fundraiser into a net loss. Consider visiting their website to give a much-needed donation.
More information about devastated local recording studios, rehearsal spaces, record stores, venues, radio stations and other community music spaces, as well as information on how you can help (and avoid tragedies of your own in the future) will be coming tomorrow on SonicScoop.
As for today, Monday the 5th, SoundToys are donating proceeds from all website sales to the rapid-relief organization Team Rubicon, and Universal Audio and Tape Op Magazine are holding charity auctions on eBay.
New Technology at AES 2012
While New York was being buffeted by wind speeds near 90 MPH, San Francisco, a beautiful city that just so happens to look like it’s been recently hit by a hurricane regardless of what time of year you visit, was warm and welcoming and full of great food. I felt a little guilty just being there.
The trip wouldn’t have been half as seamless without the help and hospitality of locals like Terri Winston of Women’s Audio Mission, John Vanderslice and the crew at Tiny Telephone Studios, Marsha Vdovin of Tape Op Magazine, and Steven Massey of Massey Plugins (who even drove us out to the airport.) They have our thanks.
You can read our roundup of the most interesting new technology from the show here, or see a photo gallery of new gear demos and party pics on our Facebook page. Give it a “like” while you’re there, because we’re raffling off a free Trust Me, I’m a Scientist T-Shirt this month.
Win Your Very Own Trust, Me I’m A Scientist T-Shirt
To win, just complete the following three steps:
1) Make sure you’re signed up for our mailing list. (You can do that at the top of our home page, or at the top right of any article.)
3) Tweet to us, post on our Facebook page, or send an email to the official TMimaS account saying you want a free T-Shirt. Extra entry if you do all 3, or if your post is both public and even marginally amusing.
That’s it! The winner will be announced next issue, and gets their choice of color and size.
Help Us Debunk Audio and Music Myths
One of our biggest goals with TMimaS is to help debunk myths and misinformation regarding sound and music so that we can focus our attention where it really matters.
This month, we’re asking you to weigh in with the topics that you feel are most confusing, misrepresented or misunderstood. Anything having to do with the art, science or economics of music and sound is fair game, as long as it just begs to be either debunked or confirmed.
Or you can help us uncover the truth for some of our current pet projects. We’ve already started doing some new experiments and collecting some good research on a several topics already, including:
Higher Sample Rates For Mixing
Is there any benefit to up-sampling an entire session for “better processing” during mixdown?
(We’re skeptical, but the proof will be in the processing.)
Has Online Music Created a Robust Musician’s Middle Class?
The Technology Blogosphere still says it can and does. All the real research we’ve seen to date seems to point to “no.”
(Do we need to fix the new system, and if so, how?)
EQ: More Powerful Before or After Compression?
Some prefer before, some prefer after. Each side likes to “debunk” the approach of the other, but each offers little real evidence about how it all goes down.
(Whatever approach gets you where you want to go is the right one. But we can easily do some real testing and measurement on this and settle some unnecessary arguments.)
Email Us To Nerd Out Now
These are just a few of the research-based topics we’ll hit in the coming months. We’ll be tackling these, as well as head-scratching subjects like acoustic compression, perfect pitch, and the scale of royalty rates across online and broadcast formats.
To recommend a topic, to weigh in one that’s close to you, or to pitch a research-based story of your own, shoot us an email! And if you’d like to write about a classic-but-overlooked record, a studio experience, or to provide a music-related editorial of your own, our inbox is always open.
Thanks for reading — and for giving a damn about how music and sound really work.