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December 14th, 2016

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Carroll - Private Moon

As the summer wound down, Carroll, a four-piece indie band who recently relocated from Minneapolis to Philadelphia, recorded Private Moon, a song that combines their modern psych sensibilities with 80’s synths and a little bit of blue-eyed soul.

       Carroll is Brian Hurlow, Max Kulicke, Charles McClung, and Charlie Rudoy. The group started in 2013 during their time in college in Minneapolis, where they were part of a supportive independent music scene. In 2014 they came to record their first full-length record, Bad Water, over 18 days at Miner Street Recordings with producer and engineer Jonathan Low. It was this experience that ultimately influenced their decision to relocate to Philadelphia in 2015.

       It was much more than a simple change of location. When they arrived in Philadelphia, the band began to change their outlook dramatically. They resolved to control of all elements of their professional output - not only their creative direction but their business ambitions as well. They settled in West Philly and started the long process of making their next record, As Far as Gardens Go.

       The song Private Moon was a latecomer from this transitional period, but they were never able to finish it for the record. The band started the day by performing the song where they had previously left it. It only took a single rough pass, before each member had a list of changes -  from the drum beat, to the bass lines (plural) and then some. Private Moon needed work (just like we like it).

              “To make long songs work,” says producer Brian McTear, “they need to be in a constant state of ‘forward progress’. So we rearranged the drums to begin with a Rhythm Ace drum machine pattern, which would slowly progress to incorporate an interwoven acoustic drum beat.”

       Stylistically, Private Moon leaned heavily on two vintage synthesizers, the Yamaha DX7 and Roland Juno 106. In a great demonstration of their collaborative flexibility, Max even played the keyboard while Brian manually adjusted the filters.  “Resonant sweeps, frequency sweeps, bringing up an LFO,” says Kulicke, “all those things can take an otherwise static pedal tone and make it have a lot of energy and movement and have a narrative quality to it.”

       Brian’s and Charles’ vocals were recorded with the Rode K2, a brighter mic that seemed to suit both of them quite well. Brian’s vocals were typically single-tracked with the intention of assigning them to the center channel of the mix, while Charles’ vocals were double, and hard-panned to the sides.

       The day blew by. Recording Private Moon showed us a band that  was about as creatively and intellectually thoughtful as a band can be. As players they have an incredible feel and excellent sonic instincts. Since making As Far as Gardens Go, it’s clear they have taken a big step forward.

              “As we develop as a band, what I find most rewarding is the collaborative process,” says Kulicke. “I had a lot of hope for ‘being in a big band’... but the best times I have now are when we are together as a group… This kind of stuff will always keep me just completely fanatical about making, listening to and playing music.”

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