Monday, November 21, 2011
Bill Roberts, Raw Panda and the Pensacola Music Scene
A few days ago I mentioned that I spoke for quite some time with well-known mastering engineer Bill Roberts. During the course of our phone conversation, Bill mentioned a local record label in Pensacola, Raw Panda, that was really putting out some great-sounding recordings. Bill's pretty excited about Raw Panda and has been spreading the news throughout the music industry.
What's so special about Raw Panda? First of all, Bill sent me some music files of recordings from such artists as Damien Louviere and Paloma, and yes, it's really good stuff. I'm not just talking about sound quality; Paloma, for instance, is a moody straightforward sounding band that is elevated by stunning musicianship and the rare ability (for new bands, anyway) to make every song different. Damien Louviere is more dreamy and relaxed than Paloma, but there's still plenty of details between the notes. The outstanding recording quality adds loads of depth to the overall sound as well, making these two bands stand out considerably from the majority of new music out there. As an audiophile, I listen to a lot of classical and jazz. As a music lover, however, I'm more drawn to alternative and indie rock, and I get excited when the worlds of great music and great sound collide within the more contemporary genres.
Second, Raw Panda is deeply connected to the historic Pensacola music scene. This article from The Voyager discusses how Sean Peterson, the owner and primary sound engineer of Raw Panda, opens his studios to all types of bands so they can get recorded both well and affordably. His new project, a self-described "artist collective," sounds like it could turn his little Florida town into a mecca for honest, hard-working musicians.
Bill's trying to hook me up with Sean so I can listen to more of the Raw Panda catalog. He's been sending me files and photos of Paloma and Damien Louviere, as well as a third band named Imaginary Airshow (which I haven't listened to yet). I'll share everything as soon as I get more info. The mere fact that someone of Bill Roberts' stature is thrilled and excited about a small studio in Pensacola speaks volumes about the quality work being done there. I'm excited to hear more from Raw Panda.