Last year, Greg Tuohey and I recorded our first album together in 20 years, "No Filter", with Joe Martin on bass and Kush Abadey on drums. Renowned engineer James Farber recorded us all in a room at Sear Sound in New York without headphones live to two track analog tape, the same way I recorded my last album "The Turn", for which I launched a successful Kickstarter in 2014. We are raising funds to press a completely analog edition of the record on vinyl - no computers will be harmed in the making of this record! - ... and also have it come out on CD and downloads on Sunnyside Records.
The songs are all originals by Greg and I. Here are a couple of live videos of the Sabbagh/Tuohey Group:
Our goal is to get the album mastered and cut for vinyl by mastering legend Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering. Bernie has cut some of the best sounding LPs of the last forty years in every style and he is a jazz fan so he would be the perfect person to handle the mastering and cutting. We will then press vinyl at Quality Records Pressings, like I did for "The Turn". QRP is one of the very best plants for pressing records in the USA and one that presses many of the very expensive audiophile reissue LPs. We are really happy with the record, it sounds great as is and we think it will sound fantastic once mastered, especially keeping it all analog on vinyl. We are aiming to make the vinyl affordable: $20 + shipping, download codes included. Domestic shipping is $5.
As a musician and an audiophile I was heartened by the success of "The Turn", particularly on vinyl. The record got great reviews in Stereophile and Analog Planet, and was chosen among the best jazz records of 2014 by the Boston Globe, the LA Times, DownBeat and France Musique. A lot of the feedback I received encouraged me to go analog all the way next time and master directly from the tape, which I couldn't afford to do last time. It is precisely what we are setting out to do for this new record.
In general, I think vinyl can help us bring back a better, more fulfilling listening experience, and can also be part of a business model that allows for the creation of new music. In fact, if this Kickstarter is successful, I will attempt to bring this business model to other artists and aim to start producing quality jazz records that will be great sounding, recorded to tape and pressed all analog to vinyl.
I believe that for the listener vinyl, when done well, particularly when it's all analog, sounds profoundly better than streaming or listening to a CD. And because vinyl records are beautiful, tangible objects, I am betting that we collectively are still willing to pay for them, thereby allowing artists and small jazz labels to keep creating and recording new music. Most people who don’t think twice about illegally downloading any record will likely never steal that same record on LP from a store. Vinyl sales are up. Collectively, we are starting to long again for the physicality of vinyl, in the same way that some of us might sometimes tire of looking at a screen all the time and realize we want actual human contact.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any additional questions.
The Fine Print:
The record will be pressed onto a 150g LP, tucked into a nice rice paper inner sleeve that won’t scuff it and come in a cardboard color jacket printed at Stoughton Printing. The vinyl will be done with the utmost care by the best of professionals. It should sound and look awesome.
The tape used for the recording was 1/2 inch tape run at 30 ips. Tape machine was ATR-102.
For those of you into reel to reel tapes and reference lacquers, we offer those as rewards. Please have a look!
Recording at Sear Sound with James Farber: $5600
Assembling the tape (cutting and piecing the tape together onto two reels so you can cut sides A and B of the vinyl): $760
Mastering, cutting the lacquer and pressing the LPs: $7200
Artwork (all formats): $1200
Printing jackets and labels: $1500
TOTAL = $18260
As you can see, we are asking for less than our total budget - although it would be great to get it - as we are ready to invest in this project ourselves.
We are hoping to have the mastering and cutting done by the end of April. We will then be dealing with artwork. Sunnyside Records needs a five months lead time to print the CDs and publicize the album. Based on this, we think the end of October is a reasonable delivery date.
Risks and challenges
Pressing vinyl takes time. The pressing plant (Quality Record Pressings) is very good and therefore also very busy. Their estimated turnaround is 8 weeks once they have the lacquers and the jackets, and the test pressings are approved. The company that prints the jackets is also pretty busy. Delays could occur.
For example, for my last Kickstarter for "The Turn", I rejected the first test pressings and the first jackets, as they were flawed. This did result in delays. However I stand by those decisions, as the final product turned out to be much better.
If any delays occur, I will of course inform backers at once.
I encourage you to look at my last Kickstarter to see how things were managed. I am proud of the feedback I got for it. I will aim to provide a smooth and rewarding experience for all backers this time around as well.
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