Profiles

Amen Dunes Have ‘Cowboy Worship’

Photo by Tuomas Kopijaako

The Cowboy Worship EP from psychedelic-ambient-folk project Amen Dunes—led by Damon McMahon—is being released as a sort of “companion” piece to the Amen Dunes album Love.

“With the Love LP, we had these orchestral instruments like French horns and celli—all these beautiful instruments—but during the mix, a lot of those things got left on the editing room floor,” explains engineer Daniel Schlett, who recorded parts of Cowboy Worship in his studio, Strange Weather (Brooklyn). “When we did the EP, we wanted a second chance to say, ‘Here are some ideas that didn’t quite make the album, but they’re still beautiful and deserve a little bit of light.’”

Sounds on Cowboy Worship are airy with judiciously placed piano, synth and percussion moments, but the EP’s strongest impact comes from complex room sounds, realized with a combination of room miking and external reverb. For example, guitars were miked with an RCA 77 on Ben Greenberg’s amp, but there was also a Neumann U 67 two feet in front of the amp, pointed away from it. “That’s really heavily compressed, with a quick attack and release time,” Schlett says.

“We also used a lot of Sound Workshop’s spring [reverb] and an EMT140. Those are a huge part of getting him to get the right vocal take. I think we also had a Bricasti on there. There’s usually two or three reverb units blended all together.”

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