Songs and Stories #83 and #84: Bay Area Producer Cookie Marenco and the Praises of Analog Recording

In “Songs and Stories” #82, we talked to Houston Jones about their latest release and why they love working with bay area producer Cookie Marenco. In these next two episodes, we talk with Cookie herself. She’s worked with events as varied as The Monterey Jazz Festival and The Telluride Bluegrass Festival, spent many years with Windham Hill Records (where she perfected her knack for recording acoustic instruments), and has worked on five Grammy-nominated records. Cookie was an early adopter of many digital recording advancements including hard disk recording (back in the early ’80s) and posting music on the Internet for download (back in the days of dialup).

These days, she works exclusively on two-inch analog tape and has successfully marketed her artist’s music as high-quality wav files (not compressed MP3s) through her Blue Coast Records web site. Whether you’re an artist who might be interested in recording with Cookie (you can contact her through her OTR Studios web site), an engineering student who might like to learn from her (see otrstudios.com/interns) or just a listener who appreciates well-recorded music, there’s something of interest for everyone in these next two episodes.

In episode #83, Cookie talks about her history in the music industry, why she never left analog tape, and why she loves working with acoustic artists. This episode includes two examples of Cookie’s work: A cover of Warren Zevon’s “Mutineer” recorded by Jenna Mammina and Matt Rallings and “Make It Rain”, the title track to the new release from Keith Greeninger and Dayan Kai. (Not uncoincidentally, Keith and Dayan will be the guests on the next episodes of “Songs and Stories.”)

Click to hear Songs and Stories #83 (time = 33:40, size = 30.9 mb)

Episode #84 is an audio tour of Cookie’s Belmont, California studio. I’ve learned to just hit RECORD as soon as I start talking to someone, which I have to admit was a very good idea in this case. With the tour, we get even more insight into Cookie’s approach to music, recording, and her engineering intern program.

Click to hear Songs and Stories #84 (time = 29:00, size = 26.6 mb)

Editorial correction: In these two episodes, I mistakenly referred to the Cookie’s intern program as “otrstudios.com/intern”. The correct address is “otrstudios.com/interns” (with an “s”).

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