Every now and then we stop in our tracks and say, “How long has this been going on?” Well, it happens that 2022 is a big year for anniversaries and celebrations for the Blue Coast family!
40th Anniversary of OTR Studios
Hard to believe we opened the doors to the studio on January 1, 1982. It wasn’t called OTR Studios or Blue Coast, it was Out There Recording… named in honor of our band, Out There Orchestra. Cookie is looking to spend 2022 telling stories of the last 40 years and the artists we’ve had the great opportunity to work with. We’ll be presenting new services for the Reopening Celebration that include podcasting, audiobooks, livestreaming and Atmos – along with nostalgic features on recording to tape, digitizing old reels and (of course) our commitment to recording, mixing and mastering to DSD and HD. Did you know ALL of the Blue Coast Records were recorded in OTR Studios?
20th Anniversary of E.S.E.
2022 is the 20th anniversary of the discovery and development of our trademarked proprietary sound recording called Extended Sound Environment or E.S.E. What is E.S.E. and why is it so important to us?
It started more than 20 years ago when the beginning of audio decay in the studio was happening at a faster pace. The 90’s saw some of the beginning of audio decay and by 2000, digital recording and “fix it” techniques had begun to take over. It was expected by musicians that ‘fixing the vocals” and correcting the rhythms were commonplace. There was a push for me to follow along in a style of recording that made me feel like a janitor.
What’s interesting is that most studios followed that path of plugin fix-its because the artists were vulnerable to mistakes. The artists wanted everything perfect and would spend way beyond a reasonable or recoupable amount of money for this plugin perfection. By 2002 I needed a break to figure out what was next because I didn’t enjoy the janitor role and I took some time off.
It was in France at a friend’s wedding that I met Jean Claude Reynaud, who was an engineer experiencing the same lack of passion in the music. As we commiserated we came up with a dream to change things. We wanted the passion back in the music.
The short version of the story is we booked the most expensive studio at the time, took 12 musicians there. They were musicians chosen because we knew they could perform live while we experimented with surround recording techniques. We also experimented with DSD. The results of that one week of test recording later became Blue Coast Records. The musicians weren’t famous, they were great performers we had worked with in the past.
It was such a success for all of us, that we wanted to give this way of recording a name. It would trigger the sound and expectations in the listener’s mind. Our goal was to bring life back to the music and allow the listener to experience what we FELT not just what we heard. We wanted you to have the musicians in your room as you listen, every breath, a bit of laughter, and some extraneous noise from the surroundings.
We gave it a name, Extended Sound Environment (E.S.E.), and a logo so that the listeners know when they get the E.S.E. experience. Artists now come to us to record in the E.S.E. style beyond just Blue Coast Records.