July 21, 2014
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: About to embark on a ten-month tour and with record label deadlines looming, multi-instrumentalist Simon Lewis went in search of a high-quality, portable and versatile digital audio system to take on the road. That was three years ago. And the solution that Lewis found, and uses to this day, Metric Halo's Mobile I/O 2882+DSP and ULN-2 production interfaces, not only allowed him to finish his remixes but also made it much easier to produce the live remote recordings of world music that are central to his work.
Lewis has been touring for the last three years with Australian electronic/folk/world/pop band Rivertribe on a busy schedule that has taken them all over the U.S. several times, Canada, across Europe, and to parts of Asia. He was initially attracted to the MIO 2882+DSP because of its versatility and the quality of its preamps, he says, but adds, "I had just finished mixing the debut CD for Amanaska, which was a collaboration between myself and another artist, Stephen Joyce. And I knew the record label wanted some remixes to go on some compilations. I wanted to be able to work on the road, so I sold most of the gear I had and bought an Apple Powerbook and the MIO 2882+DSP."
The first tour in the U.S. was eight weeks," he recalls, "and we drove about 17,000 miles. I was able to make use of all the time in the van by working on new tunes for the live show, and remixing Amanaska, as well as and writing new material. Being able to power the Metric Halo unit via Firewire was a big plus for ease-of-use in the van."
Lewis, who is based in Melbourne, Australia, is currently running the MIO 2882+DSP and ULN 2 with Logic Pro 7.1, using an Apple dual 1.8GHz G5 in the studio and a Powerbook 1.5GHz for recording on the road and live, where he runs loops and virtual instruments. The mobile setup was a great success from the get-go, he says. "I have to say it was a very solid system to work with. And it never let me down on stage either. The fact that it was pretty compact and portable was a big bonus, too."
Last year, Rivertribe embarked on six-month tour starting in Singapore and Malaysia. "We had also planned to record with artists all around the world while we were traveling," he shares. "The Metric Halo setup allowed me to run my studio almost anywhere, so that was exactly what we did. We met some Indian musicians in Singapore who saw us play and then asked if we would like to jam with them. We had an amazing session in a Sai Baba temple. After that, we got one of the guys to come back to our hotel and lay down some vocal tracks before we left.
"We had toured India the year before and met an amazing percussionist named K.V. Balu, who plays on most of the Tamil film soundtracks. He organized a whole bunch of players for us, and a studio. I used the mics and rooms of the studio, but plugged straight into my 2882 and used the Metric Halo ChannelStrip plug-in on all the pres. Later, in the U.S., we set up a makeshift studio in a tipi in Colorado and recorded with a Cherokee musician named Steve Tindall. All the recordings came up great.
"He concludes, "The unit has been pretty trouble free." But on the rare occasions that problems have cropped up, he says, "The guys at Metric Halo always go out of their way to sort it out. They have been very supportive."
Amanaska's 2003 album, "Panorama," will soon be joined by a new release, "Diaspora" for which Lewis has written eleven tracks. The project includes recordings of performers made around the world using the Metric Halo system. Meanwhile, Lewis has also spent the last six months touring the world with Rivertribe, recording and producing their new album on locations in India, Ireland, the U.S.A. and Portugal. During 2004, the band's "Journey" album was re-recorded and remixed by Lewis and reissued as "Re:Journey."
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