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Alex Pangman on her Straight-to-Acetate musical experiment

Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore speaks with Juno Award-nominated singer Alex Pangman about her new album 'Hot 3'

WHO: Alex Pangman

WHAT: Her new album Hot 3 and her upcoming CD Release concert.

WHERE: Available where you by music. Concert at The Supermarket - 268 Augusta Ave in Kensington Market

WHEN: CD/Download/Stream available now. Concert at 8 pm, Wednesday November 15th






It's important to set the scene...

It's March 2017 in the heart of New Orleans.

Alex Pangman takes center circle amongst a violinist, bass saxophonist, guitarist, and engineer in a small, vibrant blue, one-room studio plastered with tapestries of Elvis and a calendar featuring Theolonius Monk.

A Presto machine starts recording to an acetate disc through a single Presto microphone, shared among them all.

No smoke. No mirrors. No headphones or sound baffling.

The musicians have just one take — and little more than three minutes — to make magic happen.

"It was a small, energetic room," shares Pangman on her inspiration to capture the spirit of early recorded jazz greats. "The process gave rise to many feelings and considerations early recorded musicians would have had, such as not being allowed to stomp their feet as vibrations would travel up the needle and ruin a take, or tailoring tempos or arrangement to meet the strict 10 inch disc length of three minutes and 15 seconds maximum recording time."

A live and intimate affair, Hot Three fostered a warmth and excitement the artist shares she has not often felt this vibrantly in a recording studio before. While it's commonplace nowadays to weave in edits, post-production additions, "fix" errors, or baffle off instruments to avoid studio bleed, Pangman's Hot Three stands strong, sensational and a true spark in its stark contrast to today's modern engineering advancements.

Which brings us full circle, back to "we've got one side left, don't screw it up!"

This private, not-yet-to-be-shared 'behind the scenes' video on the process is a must-see; notice how the groove cut in the acetate creates a hair-like, tumbleweed ball of strands the engineer then guides away with a paint brush? As the needle began to cut the highly flammable acetate disc, each performer had to deliver their all, and the excitement in the room is clearly palpable. It's hard not to imagine the Original Dixieband Jazzband sharing one recording horn, or song catchers up in the mountains using a portable recording machine watching this historic and creative process underway.

In a way, portable Presto machines meant everyone could make a recording, and every recording in turn became a time capsule.


November 15th @ Supermarket, Toronto ON
November 24th @ Upstairs Jazz, Montreal QC

Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore is heard at 8:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays during the Jazz FM91 Arts Report. And don’t miss his arts and culture interview and entertainment magazine program, Arts Toronto, Sundays between 8-9 a.m.

To get in touch with Mark it’s

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