Workspace and Environment: Landau Orchestra

Greetings people. We love the feedback and loving words sent to our e-mail, it truly keeps us going. I try to respond to all of them, so it may take some time but don’t think I have forgotten about you. A quick preview: We’re mentioned in the Sonic State podcast and Justin will have a post about it later today. It’s very exciting that we’re encouraging dialog among audio nerds worldwide about their workspaces! We’ve been linked via many forums, blogs and e-magazines but rarely talked about. So this should be fun.

We both (Grant Wheeler and Matt Young) have been involved with composition since about 15. We both started playing piano and other instruments when we were in grade school. Our major releases thus far have been under Landau with The epic compromise under Merck Records in 2004 and under the Landau Orchestra with ‘Janus Plays Telephone’ under Milan Records in 2007. At the moment we arrange everything from the music, to the business, to much of the booking, and organizing
rehearsals/ live performances.

Favorite Hardware
We just got a Dave Smith Instruments Poly Evolver. A polyphonic analog synthesizer is a tool that we never really had at our
disposal, we mostly had to do complex synthesis with soft synths. We had some rudimentary synths like the MG-1 and a Micromoog, but the PEV is a monster. The rich-sounding oscillators and filters along with really flexible routing make it the best sounding electronic instrument we have.

Favorite Software
Reaktor. We always need to customize a plug-in and reaktor is really easy and gratifying relative to other object-based audio
environments. It’s in a tie with Ultrabeat (logic) which has been a go-to drum machine recently – it has the best of both drum synthesis and sampling with really flexible routing. And of course..Logic fo’ life – xoxo. We love logic!

Workspace and Environment
All of our instruments are pretty much in one room. The possibilities are endless when you have around 11 different types of keyboard instruments ready to plug-in or mic at any given moment. Lets just say we don’t write very minimal music. The upstairs work space is all in one acoustically treated room. It consists of two computers, a 73 Rhodes MkI, a Wurlitzer 200A Elec Piano, a Farfisa Compact Deluxe Organ, a Farfisa Fast five Organ, a Dave Smith Poly Evolver Synth, a Micromoog synth, a MG-1 Moog Synth, Melodica, Glockenspiel, an accordian, a few Casio keyboards, a drum set, tons of percussion instruments, turntables and mixer, tons of microphones, a few preamps (Sytek and Toft), a Gallienkruger stack and a Fendertwin Reverb amp. The downstairs has a Ritmuller baby grand piano, an Allen church organ with a giant leslie speaker and a Hammond M2 organ.

Physically, everything sits on the perimeter of the upstairs room, making all instruments readily accesible from the DAW’s. Our Peluso 2247LE microphone (a U47 emulation) stands plugged at all moments ready to be placed on an acoustic instrument, voice or guitar amp. Sessions often consist of moving from instrument to instrument, moving the microphone to
the next place and just recording. Our set up is pretty much streamlined so that the moment we want a particular timbre for a song, we move the mic and hit records and that’s it – we listen to the result and move on. Horn sessions and important piano recordings are recorded remotely usually at our local university so we can capture the sound in a nice big room/on a really nice piano.

Our workspace is not really a catalyst for our compositions because for us it is rather transparent. We’ve become very comfortable with all the tools available in our studio, so the workspace is just a vehicle to get from point A to point B in a composition. Early on, a composition already speaks pretty clearly as to wear it wants to go and what elements should be included. From there, we just move from instrument to instrument and press record.

Extra Curricular
We have an audio company called Landau Audio Design (www.landau- where we have released music on soundtracks for the likes of the Pan’s Labyrinth Soundtrack (Extended), the 4400 Soundtrack and done commercials and corporate videos for the likes of Amcomm/Verizon and Symantec. We also produce other bands and do remote recordings
from time to time.

First Hardware
Matt got a Roland MC-303 I believe when he was in highschool. I got a Casio keyboard when I was like 7 to learn piano. It was one of the classic Casio tone ones with a great Bossa Nova groove.

Mobile and Live Setup
Laptop, sytek Mpx4aii, toft atc-2 and a Motu Traveler Landau Orchestra preforms as a 7 piece – rhodes, upright bass, drums,
turntables computer, melodica, glockenspiel and a horn trio. The live performance consists of a seven piece band with myself on turntables/keys/computer, Matt on Rhodes/computer, Jacob Cohen on bass, Mike Birnbaum on drums, Dan Hendrix on Trombone, Josh Bruno on trumpet, and John-Philips Sandy on Tenor sax.

Studio Evolution
We originally were in a dormitory in college with bunk beds and all this shit crammed into a miniature room with 2 PC’s that crashed all the time. We wrote most of thepicompromise in that room on those shitty PC’s which nearly swallowed the entire project one time…somebody had to rescue our harddrive. We were very glad to get out. Then we moved into an even smaller room in an attic in our house where we did half of Janus and then moved into a temporary room at my friends studio apt. – like 3 people in one room. Finally we ended in a nice house where you see the pictures we’ve taken. But we’re moving out soon – so much for stability!!

Hamptone Preamp
Clav D6
Orange Tiny-terror Amplifier

Landau Orchestra has lived in Hartford for 6 years but are moving to Brooklyn in April. They can be found here:

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