Memphis, Tennessee - Feb. 2014:
A 48-channel API Vision console has had a large impact on the fortunes of Ward Archer and his enterprise, Music+Arts Studio. Twenty-five years ago, Archer closed a chapter of his life at the helm of an ad agency to found Archer Records. Six years later, he opened the David Cherry/George Augspurger-designed studio to cater to the label's artists and has not looked back since.
Music+Arts Studio launched with a 48-channel, discrete, all-analog, surround-sound API Vision console, and prominent members of Memphis' indie film scene became regular clients over the following years. Like a locomotive building momentum, Music+Arts Studio is currently attracting more and more film work from an expanding geographical base. The ratio of film-related to pure music projects is creeping up on 50:50 thanks, in part, to the API Vision.
"These days, I'm comfortable saying that we have a lot of experience with sound for picture, but that's owing to some clients that rolled the dice with us in the beginning," said Archer. "One of our earliest and greatest successes was The Gospel According to Jazz Chapter III, which was recorded live at Reid Temple in Maryland. We took those tracks — which sounded amazing from the moment we pulled them up on the API Vision — and mixed them for stereo and 5.1 [which the Vision is designed to do simultaneously]. The Vision has a transparency and an airiness on the top end that just sounds gorgeous." The track "It's What I Do" won a Grammy for Best Gospel Song.
In addition to the API Vision and a killer live room, Music+Arts Studio has catered to its client base by adding an eight-foot Stewart Filmscreen and high-definition projector for film mixing. "It's a nice, cinematic experience for the director or music supervisor," said Archer. "We'll even crank up the [5.1 PMC] monitoring system a bit for the full effect." The scope of Music+Arts Studio's film work ranges tremendously, from ADR to scoring to mixing. For example, all of the score recording for the Matthew McConaughey-led drama, Mud, were recorded using the warm analog sound that the API Vision's circuitry provided. Other projects include the indie film, Cigarette Girl, and mini-series, Headshop.
Despite the film industry windfall, Music+Arts Studio still enjoys tackling strictly-music projects for artists on the Archer Records roster. Recently, Amy LaVere completed Stranger Me, her fourth studio album on Archer Records. Studio manager and engineer Daniel Lynn assisted the project's producer and engineer Craig Silvey, who had just finished mixing Arcade Fire's Grammy-winning release, The Suburbs. "Silvey loved the Vision," said Lynn. "I remember that there was one point during the mixing where we wanted to do some complicated bussing, and it wasn't immediately apparent how to do it. I called API and got someone on the phone right away. Craig was impressed that we had that kind of rapport!"