A classic cassette demo from John Lennon was recently archived at United Recording by head archivist, Dan Johnson. Retrieved by Lennon's producer/engineer Jack Douglas, the cassette was recorded by Lennon in Bermuda before his comeback in 1980.

"I was hanging out with Ringo and he said to me, 'I had a bunch of John's memorabilia in a box and when I moved the box disappeared. I don't have that cassette from Bermuda anymore,'" said Douglas, recalling a recent conversation with Ringo Starr.

Unbeknownst to Starr, Douglas had the cassette, which featured Lennon's demos for songs slated for Starr's album, including 'Real Love' that was later recorded by the three surviving Beatles for The Beatles Anthology Project in 1995.

Lennon recorded the demos after a treacherous sailing trip to Bermuda where several crew members fell ill and required him to steer the boat. The experience renewed his self-confidence, affording him opportunity to return to songwriting.

"I wanted to make a CD of the cassette for Ringo and came to United to work with archivist Dan Johnson. It's incredible to hear what Dan has done," Douglas said.

Johnson noted, "I didn't know what he was planning. Jack booked some time and explained he wanted to transfer a cassette. It was one of those 'Oh my God' moments, but you have to maintain a level of professionalism. I made sure everything was aligned properly and that the machine would accept the tape. The cassette was in great condition and played back perfectly."

United studio manager Rob Goodchild said, "We built our new archiving studio to accommodate analog and early digital recordings that are nearing the end of their shelf lives. We ensure recordings are properly preserved and archived."

Pictured in United's Archiving Suite are (L-R) Studio Manager Robin Goodchild, Archive Engineer Dan Johnson, and Producer Jack Douglas. Article & Photo by David Goggin


Hollywood, CA, November 2017 - Seal, the British soul legend who has sold more than 20 million records worldwide, has returned to the music scene with his new album, "Standards," which combines his unique voice with some of the greatest jazz cuts and swing classics ever written.

Working with producer Nick Patrick and recording engineer Don Murray, the acclaimed recording artist tracked songs in United Recording's Studio B and recorded vocals in Studio A.

Seal's tenth studio album breathes new life into iconic hits from music legends, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and more. The richness of "Standards" is the result of Seal's choice to collaborate with the same legendary musicians who performed with the famed artists.

Randy Waldman, a pianist, toured with Sinatra and Paul Anka; bass player Chuck Berghofer performed with Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles; and drummer Gregg Field worked with Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder. Additional album contributors include Grammy nominated British producer Nick Patrick, Grammy nominated arranger Chris Walden and legendary engineer Don Murray.

"This is the album I have always wanted to make," said Seal. "I grew up listening to music from the Rat Pack era, so recording these timeless classics was a lifelong dream. It was a true honor to collaborate with the same musicians who performed with Frank Sinatra and so many of my favorite artists."

"Standards" is available now on Republic Records.

Pictured in United's renowned Studio B are (L-R) Kevin Axt, bass; Dean Parks, guitar; Randy Walden, piano; Seal; Chris Walden, arranger; Nick Patrick, producer; Gregg Field, drums; Don Murray, recording engineer. Photo / Article by David Goggin


Frozen Strings and Microphone Create Haunting Film Score
Hollywood, CA, October 2017 – The haunting soundtrack of the recently released crime thriller The Snowman was mastered at United Recording by engineer Erick Labson and composer Marco Beltrami. Beltrami’s score producer, Buck Sanders, devised a novel way to create unique sound samples that combine evocative brass and strings.

“The film’s premise uses snowfall as the killer’s motive, and we were challenged to capture the sound of actual snow falling,” explained Beltrami. “Buck conceived the idea to use strings and a hydrophone suspended in ice, which took two days to freeze. As opposed to the normal resonance in the air, we recorded the new ‘frozen’ sound to create a very textural score.”

Labson said,“I listened to the entire score from beginning to end before I even touched a knob. I wanted it to sound natural, yet ominous, and true to the original mixes with details preserved, but elevated at times to enhance the listening experience.”

Beltrami said, “The beauty of a soundtrack is that it focuses solely on the music. In the theater, the music is equalized to fit in with the whole sound environment, which includes dialogue and sound effects. It's a different experience than listening to a well-mastered stereo album score.”

In addition to the frozen strings, Beltrami also employed a distinctive Norwegian instrument for the film’s opening scenes. “It’s a hybrid of a viola and a hurdy-gurdy called a nyckelharpa,” he explained. “It has resonant strings underneath where it's played with keys as opposed to fretting the strings. There's no vibrato. It has a very interesting, almost medieval sound that just works well in the film.”

The Snowman follows an elite crime squad’s lead detective, who investigates the disappearance of a victim on the first snow of winter and fears an elusive serial killer may be active again. With the help of a brilliant recruit, the cop must connect decades-old cold cases to this brutal new one, if he hopes to outwit unthinkable evil before the next snowfall. Based on Jo Nesbø’s global bestseller and directed by Tomas Alfredson, the film stars Michael Fassbender (X-Men), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Independence Day: Resurgence) and Academy Award® winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash).

Listen here:

Pictured at United Recording are composer Marco Beltrami, United Recording manager Rob Goodchild, and mastering engineer Erick Labson. Article / Photo by David Goggin.


Legendary recording artist Brian Wilson completed a new song, "Run, James, Run," at United Recording. The song is included in his new "Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology" compilation album.
"Brian is at the top of his game," said Wesley Seidman, a United staff engineer who has worked with Wilson for the past 10 years. "Brian is the consummate artist. His passion and artistic genius shine through in this up-beat track, which is reminiscent of the good times in his past. Brian's trademark flair for great harmony works magically in this song."
Wilson's eponymous solo debut for Sire in 1988 launched an extended period of renewal for the iconic Beach Boys co-founder and songwriter. Rhino revisits Wilson's solo career with a new 18-song collection that mixes studio and live recordings with two previously unreleased tracks: "Run, James, Run" and "Some Sweet Day," an unreleased gem he wrote with Andy Paley in the early 1990s for an unfinished recording project.

Explaining the vocal signal chain he employed for Wilson, Seidman said, "I usually use a vintage Neumann U-47 for Brian's vocals with a Soursound API 2312 customized mic-pre and a vintage Urei 1176 limiter. We do most of the processing on the way in while Brian is singing."

Matt Jardine, son of Beach Boys' co-founder Al Jardine, tours with Wilson and sings many harmony tracks on the new song.

"Because Matt sings so many different parts, I didn't want everything to sound the same," Seidman said. "We had a couple of different chains for him. One was an AKG C-12 with a Neve 1073 mic-pre and a Urei Blackface 1176 compressor/limiter. We also had the new Sanken CU-51 dual-diaphragm mic and that went through a channel of Soursound mic-pre and an 1176 limiter. Matt also used a Telefunken 251 with the Soursound and the Neve, depending on the part."

More than 30 vocal tracks were recorded for "Run, James, Run" and the harmony parts were all created by Wilson on the spot in the studio.

"Brian usually has an idea for a few parts before he goes to sing. He'll sing a part, do a couple of takes and change it, and then do another part or a few more parts to complement that particular track," Seidman said. "Later, he'll come up with additional parts for Matt to sing and he may also go back and create more parts for himself. I've never worked with anyone who works like Brian. He's pretty unique in the way he creates all these harmonies out of nowhere."

"Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology" covers more than 30 years of music with selections from nine of Wilson's solo albums and is available on CD ($13.98), double-LP ($31.98) and on digital download and streaming services.

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Photo and article by David Goggin.


The captivating trio, I’m With Her, recently recorded and filmed their first original song, “Little Lies,” in United Recording’s renowned Studio B. The group is comprised of three singers: Sara Watkins, violin; Sarah Jarosz, banjo, mandolin and guitar; and Aoife O’Donovan, guitar.


The Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra recently completed their new album, “See Without Looking,” at United Recording, featuring Chinese traditional instruments and music in context with contemporary classical compositions. Multiple Grammy-winning producer/engineer Brian Vibberts helmed the project alongside producer/composer Daniel Walker and orchestra conductor Liu Shun.


It’s been four years since Queens of the Stone Age released “...Like Clockwork,” which featured Elton John, Alex Turner, Trent Reznor, Mark Lanegan, and Dave Grohl in the band’s most star-studded record to date. In this new album, “Villains,” the band returned to their stripped-down roots and camped out at United Recording in Hollywood for nearly two months.


Cavalcade of Stars Performing Their Hits with Producer Gregg Field. Stevie Wonder joined trumpet legend Arturo Sandoval for a new track at United Recording for Sandoval’s upcoming duets album. At the helm of the project is multi-Grammy winner and 2010 “Producer of the Year” Gregg Field, who says, “The genesis of the album is that after having worked with Arturo on two very successful previous albums, we were searching for something to take it even further.”


The soundtrack album for “Logan,” the new hit film finale of the Marvel Comics Wolverine franchise, was recently mastered at United Recording’s new mastering studio in Hollywood. On hand for the sessions was Academy Award® nominee Marco Beltrami (Scream, World War Z, Hellboy), who also composed the music for director James Mangold’s previous Wolverine film. Joining in the sessions were music producer and longtime Beltrami collaborator Buck Sanders, music mixer John Kurlander, and Grammy®-winning United mastering engineer Erick Labson.


John Beasley‘s MONK’estra Vol. 2 was recently in session at United Recording in Hollywood with conductor/arranger Beasley and co-producers Gavin Lurssen and Ran Pink. Vol.1, which was released in August 2016, has been nominated for two 2017 Grammys: Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album and Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella on “Ask Me Now”.