Category Archives: Curate

As An Editor…

Rachel Angres- Epitonic Editor

Rachel Angres
Rachel Angres is an idiosyncratic thumb war champion, cheese enthusiast, cyclist and a journalist. She contributes to several music publications and can be spotted wearing earmuffs year round.

Follow Rachel on twitter at @rachel_angres


Studies In Beautifully Unreasonable Noise


Music can satiate every human need. It can fill us up when we feel empty. A melody can give us chills right through our toes. A harmony can fizzle in one ear and pop out the other. Lyrics can describe a moment so delectable we can almost taste it. And when our eyes close tightly, a soundtrack accompanies our vision of what could be…

But in reality without music — or even dissonance — we find a moment can lose its luster.
Being in a reflective, solemn mood, a playlist like this had to be meaningful and unreasonably beautiful…

Summer’s Armies
By Rachel Angres

What can we do to try and make light of dreary weather? Watching as fall leaves us reaching for some warmth, some hope. Sweaters, cocoa, Netflix, winters first snowfall… these all represent the upside to below freezing weather.

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Stag: Story Time
Even when you are alone

music can surround you
with the familiarity of a million friends and family
there is no guarantee
that even with the safety that you will be free

Similar Sites


A similar website Daytrotter is much like Epitonic/saki sessions except that they require members to pay monthly to gain access to the sessions.


Daytrotter is a website for the recording studio Horseshack, which hosts recording sessions with many popular and typically upcoming indie music acts, although it works with local bands in the Illinois area as well. The sessions can be compared to that of a radio station’s lounge recordings, where musicians passing through the town can record live in the studio. Due to their tendency to offer an eclectic sampling of music, and their production style (see Studio section below) the sessions have been compared to that of the legendary Peel Sessions. According to the Daytrotter website, they have served more than 21.5 million song downloads. Wolfgang’s Vault bought a majority stake in the company in 2008. The Horseshack, Rock Island, Illinois. Daytrotter Sessions are engineered by Mike Gentry, Patrick Stolley, Brad Kopplin, Brett Allen or Nick Krill.

The Daytrotter recordings are made with minimal mic’ing, through discrete preamps and with some limiting to the mixing console, where they are printed to 1/4” analog tape running at 15 inches per second (usually BASF 468). The analog master is later transferred to a computer and converted to the digital files you hear on the site.

There is no set formula or pattern to the recordings, no specific mic setup, etc. They are all live, no overdubs, straight to tape. What you hear is what happened in the room that day.

One important aspect to take note of… is with Daytrotter: You have to pay!


A couple other notable (and local) sites that are similar to are:


chs pic

There are other sites that record live sessions, like Columbia College graduate Matt Baron’s Coach House Sounds

The difference? Simple… Coach House Sounds are recorded in Baron’s coach house so it is bare-boned in sound yet ambitious. It also lacks access to video, streaming, free downloads, and is not open to public while bands record.


Hear Ya

There is the indie music blog called Hear ya!
HearYa is an indie music blog based out of Chicago that gives indie music enthusiasts a destination to cut through the clutter when discovering new music. They are a community of fans that want to see the music they love reach the ears of new friends and survive. The readers thoughts and comments are always welcomed and encouraged. In addition to providing album reviews, South By Southwest coverage, and offering daily mp3 downloads, they also record live sessions at Shirk Music and Sound in downtown Chicago.
No matter what else is out there Epitonic and saki have done something innovative and brave. They teamed up, raised money through anonymous donations, called out to editors (myself included) and finally made the all-in-one Venue/Recording Studio/Record Store… a dream many have had but few have succeeded.

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The Epitonic Process: How They Keep It Legal

How Epitonic Can Share Music Legally:

Hot To Download

In order to post a track, the editor and Epitonic must ensure that they express permission to post the mp3 for free streaming and free download (must be both) This can be done with an email to the PR agent/label representative/artist that sent the track to inform them of a possible posting. After all is verified the editor has to archive all emails they take tracks from.
Some ground Rules are to try to avoid cover songs – questionable rights issues. Remixes are great, so long as they are sent by the artist being remixed, not sent by the remixer.

When Adding a Track:

Emphasis on brevity, description, and objectivity. All artists, labels, and albums need images – can be tough, but editors can get creative, and the photos must be accessible (Creative Commons)
When Adding Artists/Labels/Albums:
Images for artists and labels; Album art images and a short descriptions are an absolute necessity for artists and labels. If information on an artist is hard to find an editor will describe their sound. If information on a label is scarce, the editor will email the original sender of the content for some information. If an artist is unsigned, it is labeled (Unsigned Artist)


Naytronix is multi-instrumentalist/producer Nate Brenner, who is also the bassist for tUnE-yArDs.
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Begged Your Ears and Epitonic Appears

Ask and you shall receive.

Your ears will be pleased once you see that any artist can be found in the Epitonic Database.

The Fugs (Click For Link To Download)



Production: The Post Process of Precision


(Above: Typical layout for stage set up)

The post process in recording acoustic music is often referred to as mixing, as this process happens after recording the musicians. In electronic music the workflow is usually quite different, and in this context the term “post processing” would typically not refer to the actual mixing process but rather what is applied to the resulting mix-down.
With today’s increasing amount of music software and musicians creating electronic music in their homes, post production is often done by the musicians themselves. The process typically involves equalization, audio level compression, multi-band audio compression, and limiting. This process somewhat overlaps but should not be mistaken for the term mastering, as post production is usually performed on a per-song basis, whereas mastering is aimed at preparing an entire list of songs for a specific media type.


The list:

Audio engineers in their daily work operate and make use of:
Mixing consoles
Signal processors
Analog-to-digital converters
Tape machines
Digital audio workstations (DAW)
Music sequencers
Digital-to-analog converters
Dynamic range compression

All of these devices help lift the sound and produce a clean recording.



Audio Engineering: An EsS Overview

English: The SSL9000J console in use during a ...

What a Console!

Before each session the engineer recording the artist must prepare by synchronization. This is done by lining in/out each instrument/device.


An audio engineer, also called audio technician, audio technologist, recording engineer, sound engineer, sound operator, or sound technician, is a specialist in a skilled trade that deals with the use of machinery and equipment for the recording, mixing and reproduction of sounds. The field draws on many artistic and vocational areas, including electronics, acoustics, psychoacoustics, and music. An audio technician is proficient with different types of recording media, such as analog tape, digital multitrack recorders and workstations, and computer knowledge. With the advent of the digital age, it is becoming more and more important for the audio technician to be versed in the understanding of software and hardware integration from synchronization to analog to digital transfers.


The Types:

Studio engineer – an engineer working within a studio

Recording engineer – engineer who records sound.

Mixing engineer – a person who creates mixes of multi-track recordings.

Mastering engineer – typically the person who mixes the final stereo tracks that the mix engineer produces.

When using a console it is important to get all of the levels (output of sound) even to make algorithms (sound waves monitoring tempo, beat and cadence

There are different types of mixing consoles, which is a board of either two or eight main outputs.



Other settings include compression or equalization, both serve as tools engineers can use to make the music more accessible.

If you want to make a shallow or faded track sound more alive you may want to experiment with different methods, for instance “wall of sound” is a technique originated by Phil Spector

At a saki in-store:

Live sound engineer – a person dealing with live sound reinforcement. This usually includes planning and installation of speakers, cabling and equipment and mixing sound during the show. This may or may not include running the foldback sound. A live/sound reinforcement engineer hears musical material and tries to correlate that sonic experience with system performance.

Foldback or Monitor engineer – a person running foldback sound during a live event. The term “foldback” is outdated and refers to the practice of folding back audio signals from the FOH (Front of House) mixing console to the stage in order for musicians to hear themselves while performing. Monitor engineers usually have a separate audio system from the FOH engineer and manipulate audio signals independently from what the audience hears, in order to satisfy the requirements of each performer on stage. In-ear systems, digital and analog mixing consoles, and a variety of speaker enclosures are typically used by monitor engineers. In addition most monitor engineers must be familiar with wireless or RF (radio-frequency) equipment and must interface personally with the artist(s) during each performance.

Epitonic saki Sessions: Chicago’s Center for Sound

Epitonic and saki Records (a record store in Humboldt Park) teamed up for a live recording experience like no other!
From Epitonic’s website:
Welcome to the new First launched on March 8, 1999, the site was one of the first ever music discovery and editorial sites. Epitonic posted free and legal MP3s available for streaming and download, working directly with thousands of artists and labels. All of the music was selected, written about, and posted by a staff of young DJs, touring artists, record collectors, and music lovers based in San Francisco and Chicago.

Due to financial difficulties the site went dormant in 2004. A couple of companies tried to revive it but it remained inactive until one of the original founders Justin Sinkovich reacquired rights to the site in 2010. Epitonic then brought together dozens to help revive the site including many of the original staff and dozens of new contributors.

After almost a year of planning and building, Epitonic is officially back, once again helping fans to discover the best in cutting edge music. Epitonic today recaptures the spirit of the original site by curating and filtering underground music, but now utilizes new technology and features that were unfathomable when the site was originally built. The relaunch was timed to March 8th, 2011, the day the site originally launched twelve years ago. Many additional features continue to be deployed as time and budgets allow.

Epitonic saki Sessions

A Recent Session
Megan Reilly: Epitonic Saki Session
By Rachel Angres

Megan Reilly is a mother, wife, musician, writer and a crafts-woman. When she is not on tour she can be found spending time in the garden with her husband and 4-year-old daughter Sylvia. After a long break from recording, she released her third album, The Well on Carrot Top Records. Back in May, Reilly stopped in saki for Session, during which we had the chance to sit down with Megan and catch up on where she has been, where she is now and where she is going.

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