Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cairo - "Silent Winter" video


• Mark Robertson: Keyboards
•  Jeff Brockman: Drums
•  Bret Douglas: Lead Vocals
•  Alec Fuhrman: Guitars
•  Rob Fordyce: Bass

Jeff Brockman has been living with the music of Cairo, performing live drum tracks to the studio tracks of the albums, as well as editing archival video footage of the band with real time video of his performances.  "Silent Winter" is the first of many videos he is putting together to keep Cairo's music alive.

View the "Silent Winter" video on YouTube: HERE

Cairo in 1994

Fans of Yes, ELP, Genesis and the other great keyboard-centric bands of the first golden age will fall instantly in love with Cairo. Driven by virtuoso musicianship and conceptual songs, Cairo’s lush arrangements, soaring melodies and sweet harmonies are as cinematic as they are evocative.

Mark Robertson’s stellar keyboard work is truly a highlight and he proves over and over again that he is one of the more remarkable keyboard players in the music world today. Melodic and expressive guitar work from Alec Fuhrman transform textures throughout the compositions as well as shifting the emotional range of the soundscape throughout the album. Jeff Brockman’s powerful, yet tasteful, drumming propels the tracks while acting to hold the band together. Singer Bret Douglas has a vocal purity matched only by its power.

Jeff answered a few questions about the performances (both Archival and Recent); and about his memories of Cairo.

"Cairo: Double Feature"

The original footage for Silent Winter was shot in the spring of 1995 at a studio in Northern California on a white soundstage. We shot the footage in super 16mm film in sync with the audio from our recorded studio sessions on ADAT tape. The film and processing was expensive and at that time there was really no outlet for it, so it went into our archive for future use. The tools I have now for editing are highly technical and make it much easier. It was a blast editing the archive footage into the current live performance. There is more to come...

I have great memories from recording all three Cairo albums. I was the main engineer/co-producer on every album so I got to work with each band member one on one through the recording process. The first album was a blast because we just got the "record deal", and we were super excited to work and get the music out. The first album was more of a band/team effort as we really got together, learned and played all the material before recording it. Plus it was the beginning of the digital recording era. We had two black face ADATS with two Mackie 1604 mixing boards all linked together. It was learning and discovery at the same time as we managed the process with the new technology.

Every song on that album started with my own original concepts from material I composed on keyboards. At first I would sit in the studio with Mark with all my keyboards set up and all his keyboards set up and I would show him all the basic tracks and ideas. I was really into MIDI at the time and was able to knock a ton of material out very quickly. Once Mark got a hold of the concepts and started adding his input the songs really excelled. Mark is an unbelievable keyboard player and composer, his skill level is off the chart. Mark seriously is one of the best prog rock keyboardists ever! It was unreal that he would take the time to learn my material and work it to what you hear on the CD's. I can't say enough about how skilled and talented Mark is! This was pretty much the process for all three Cairo albums except we had a different bass player for each one. Mark and I would get together at the beginning of every album, work the material and then show it to the rest of the band.

As far as lyrics go, Brett wrote all of the lyrics for every song after we finished composing the music. We would give the finished recordings of each song and he would work it out on his own and bring it back ready to perform and record. Brett was very talented as well, super smart, an incredible loving person with no ego and the best person to be around when in the studio as he had a fantastic sense of humor. We would often play "stump the Brett" with any song from any band and he would instantly sing the song with the best imitation of that particularity singer. He knew every Beatles song in the book and could sing them all. He was a huge fan of Genesis. Brett also could play drums, bass, guitar and keyboards all really well. Brett was one of the nicest guys I've ever met in my entire life, I truly love the guy and really miss him.

Over the years I’ve worked very hard to be able to play all the songs from the three Cairo albums live. The videos that you are currently seeing are all recent live drum performances shot in HD and are all single take performances with multi-camera editing. I use up to 13 drum mics depending on which drum kit I’m performing with at the time as I have a couple nice DW kits that are slightly different. The mix is live and sweetened up in post using ProTools and/or Sonar. I use several cameras and edited it all together at my home studio with an AVID Symphony editing system.

In 2006 I developed a show called “Virtual Live Show”, I re-recorded and remixed most of the Cairo song parts and put it all back together with no drums and all the other instruments on separate tracks for playback. I then searched for a few years to find the perfect combination of software and hardware to be able to make a control system that allows me to synchronize the audio with, lights, lasers, video projection
and effects. I’m now on the seventh generation of my “Virtual Live Show” control system called “Show Grinder” and it works flawlessly. Some of the next videos that I will be uploading will be full-on using the show control system, incorporating the lights, lasers and effects which really make the performances exciting to watch. I’ve included a link to which has a few shots from the show.