December 22, 2019

Rudy VanderLans: Walls of Sound photos

Font designer and photographer Rudy VanderLans: drove around California to take pictures of classic recording studios for his Walls of Sound project. TapeOp Magazine has a PDF of the result:

In 1971, when I was 16, I used to work as a grounds keeper at a tennis court complex just outside The Hague in the Netherlands. It was a summer vacation job, and my goal was to save enough money to purchase my first two LPs. I had my sight set on Boomer’s Story by Ry Cooder and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere by Neil Young & Crazy Horse. Tracks from the albums were often played late at night on Radio Caroline, a pirate radio station floating off the coast of Holland. I was mesmerized by the power of the music, and its ability to transpose me to another world, a sun-kissed Southern California.

Those first two albums I purchased in 1971 put me on a path that would lead to an enduring personal preference for what can be best described as California West Coast music. Before too long, and after my collection had grown significantly, the names of musicians, producers, and engineers alike had become familiar, and connections and relationships had started to emerge until I held in my mind a sprawling family tree once described by music critic John Rockwell as “the mythically tangled genealogy of the Los Angeles music scene.” While perusing record bins, spotting names from that lineage on an album cover would make it instantly worthy of consideration.

Recording studios, too, became an item worthy of study. Seeing a particular studio name listed in the credits guaranteed a certain level of audio quality. They also gave a sense of place, of where the music was being made. }Recorded at Sunset Sound, Hollywood, California,” the credits would read, filling my mind with images.

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