Ah, the sound of a Maxell C90 rewinding in a Tascam 424. The smell of an alcohol-soaked Q-tip. The feel of the heads engaging when pressing the REC button. I’m sorry – don’t know what I’m talking about? Back in the previous century, children, musicians like myself recorded their masterpieces on cassette tapes. Four tracks of glorious analog audio – just like how the Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper’s!
While digging though some boxes in the basement, I found the 4-Track Recording Prayer. This plea for the prevention of broken strings and the reduction of unwanted background noise was bestowed unto me by a fellow musician back in college. I’m convinced that the prayer was efficacious in my own recording exploits that year as I stalked the halls of my dorm, rounding up musicians to come back to my room and play on my “album.” The prayer is now framed and prominently displayed in the Wig Shop.
By the way, the prayer works in Pro Tools as well. If you’re a musician (or know one) who’s even a teeny bit spiritual, give it a try or pass it on. Feel free to add bits about dither, jitter and clipping along the way. <Sigh> Clipping used to be a good thing!
Lord bless us as we humbly plug our instruments and amplifiers in.
Protect us from our evil enemies… out-of-tuneness and broken strings.
Reduce unwanted background noise and distortion.
Give our 4-track engineer insight and “mix-down” wisdom.
Clear our minds and souls of junk.
Make our sound a blessing to thine and the world’s ears.
And light our path toward musical righteousness
Jason Peer, who gave me the prayer, epitomized the 4-Track culture of those days. Over the summer, he and a buddy had written and recorded a concept album based on the classic 19th century travel book Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan. I own a copy of the book, but I wish I still had that cassette!