A Pictorial History of the Columbia Records 30th Street Studio
Dan Mortensen - Dansound Inc/Fo30St
The Pacific Northwest Section of the AES
Wednesday, September 27th, 7:30pm
DigiPen Institute of Technology - Michaelangelo Room
Directions to DigiPen
When our friend Frank Laico told us at Section Meetings between 2008 and 2012 about his career in recording, he described a wonderful yet
somewhat inscrutable place called the 30th Street Studio. It was located in Manhattan NYC at 207
East 30th Street.
It was described as an abandoned Armenian Church that Columbia turned into a recording studio where marvelous sounding recordings were made for over
30 years, and which was recognized as so perfect-sounding immediately upon acquisition that the decree went out:
Don't change anything in it, don't wash the floors or paint the walls or fix it up in any way. Leave it like it is!
It was also described as a gargantuan space (100' x 100' x 100') that had perfect reverberation.
We know that a remarkable number of extraordinary-sounding recordings came out of it that we still listen to today, but the particulars of its structure and
spaces were lost to demolition, and as we asked more questions the details got fuzzier.
Dan Mortensen, co-moderator of our meetings with Frank, became more and more interested in those nagging details and has been pursuing research into it ever
since his first meeting with Frank in December 2008. Dan has founded a group to memorialize the studio called Friends of the 30th Street Studio (Fo30St),
and has held four meetings in New York since 2012 in which people who worked there or are interested in its memory gather to discuss it and to see the
fruits of Dan's and other people's research and share memories.
The truth is that Frank was remembering through nearly 50 years of memories without much physical evidence, and as entertaining and plausible as the
memories were they were not fully accurate. The spirit was entirely correct but not the complexity of reality.
Come join us and see and hear our current understanding of what the studio was over its 33 year life span and how it came to be. There will be lots of
pictures, not a lot of music as this is about the studio and not its product or its people. The studio story is complicated enough.
This presentation is a dry run for a presentation at the next New York AES Convention in October, when Dan will present it on October 19 from 9-10am (Archiving and Restoration track, AR04)
somewhere in the Javits Center. Your input for improvement will be appreciated.
Albums recorded @ 30th St.
Memoir of Classic Recordings with Frank Laico
Anatomy of a Session with Frank Laico
An Evening with Frank Laico
AES PNW Student Recording Competition
We are putting together a competition for student recordings, similar to that at the conventions. There are several categories for recordings, the submission deadline will be
sometime in November, and the winners will be announced at the December meeting. The details will be posted here once things are finalized.