SchnAAK and the Rundu Choir – No Security through Numbers

Sometime during my stay in Gütersloh, Germany in the winter of 2011 I was approached by Markus Reuter to mix a record for a band which was named Jackson Vugo (though I didn’t know it was a code name/working title at the time!). I was aware that this record would feature the members of SchnAAK, Mathais Jähnig and Johannes Döpping, which is a band I had been wanting to work with for quite some time so I was excited to be involved in this project. I did get a chance to meet Mathais in Berlin at a centrozoon concert not long after my involvement in the project’s production began. He was to embark on a year-long trip to Africa shortly thereafter.

I received the audio stems for the five songs on this record and got to work pretty much immediately. I had been in a very bad place emotionally during this trip to Germany (elaborated upon in my post about Specimen 13’s echosystem production) but I found a way to get myself motivated to work on this record. There was something hypnotic and therapeutic about this material though it was a bit disjointed and chaotic for many passages.

My approach to mixing this record was first and foremost to very aggressively treat the drums. They were recorded well but I felt like the drums (which were all acoustic) could benefit from some heavily electronic treatments. I blended some electronic samples as well as treated duplicate tracks of the existing acoustic drums with lots of distortion and stereo widening effects. I also created several passes of washy glitched reverb treatments printed as a bed to glue many of the seemingly disjointed elements of these arrangements together.

Markus had the idea to chop up a lot of the arrangements’ blips and noises into several individual tracks for more control over their placement and treatment in the stereo field. This worked nicely in conjunction with the drum treatment approach. I believe he also created duplicate tracks of some of the guitar parts which contained a lot of low end bass guitar-like information and created some spectral processing to make frequency bands easier for us to manipulate in the mix.

This was a really fun record to work on. It was one of the quickest productions I’ve been part of from start to finish from my perspective. The band were great to work with and had very good feedback about the work Markus and I did. I also had the pleasure of programming some virtual instruments for the band to use live based on the treatments I made for the mixes on this record.

Check out the record here.

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