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API Helps Revive an Iconic Moment in Music History

Engineer Tim Jessup recently remixed Chicago's legendary set at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival with a little help from API.

48 years ago, Chicago played an unforgettable set at the Isle of Wight show. The performance was captured on tape, but the poor quality of the recording kept it in the vaults for nearly 50 years. Finally, last fall, the band's Mix Engineer Tim Jessup was asked to mix the archival multitrack, and he knew recreating the sound of the 1970 performance would be no small feat.

One obstacle was trying to highlight the famous guitar sound of Terry Kath, who served as the band's leader until his death in 1978. The setup for the Isle of Wight performance, played through the festival's backline Vox amp, "did not produce the beefy tone that Terry later became known for," according to Jessup. To make Kath's guitar more prominent and upfront in the mix, Tim re-amped the isolated guitar track "through three separate guitar amplifiers simultaneously, which were then blended back into his original Vox guitar track perfectly in phase. All three amplifiers were recorded with API mic preamps, for their distinctive, beefy tone," said Jessup.

Defining Kath's iconic guitar sound in the mix was essential to bringing Chicago's performance back to life, and it couldn't have been done without the help of some iconic mic pres. In April 2018, the Isle of Wight show was finally released as the first two discs of the boxed set VI Decades Live (This Is What We Do), following Jessup's impressive restoration.