Session Notes: In the Studio with Cotton

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

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For you enjoyment some Session Notes from studio intern Shannen.

Early June 2014, Dub Narcotic was set on a mission to record 12 songs with Cotton, a band from PDX comprised of only one member, Jim Han.


Cotton’s songs are minimal instrumentation, using only his voice and a guitar, keyboard or organ. The lyrics have a poetic quality to them; they rhyme and tell anecdotes that point to something hidden.

Calvin Johnson was pushing all the buttons and twiddling all the knobs on this session and when he’s around tea and cookies is the standard engineer’s snack. I think he would agree that a healthy lunch is important. Always wear a bike helmet while cycling. Don’t park at the library if you’re not going in.


We recorded 14 songs onto the 2″ 16 track MM-1100. Calvin broke out an ancient Hilton amplifier for fun. It was used to pick up lower tones from Han’s Casio 403 keyboard while it was also being sent to a Randall Commander for the melody.

The speed and depth adjustment knobs on the Randall are BOSS! It’s like having a built in wah pedal and a controlled amount of echo and sustain. Calvin tuned both amps into a divergent blend of sounds. The Hilton was manufactured for square dance calls and while it’s sound can be quaint and clear it distorts easily, like many small and old amplifiers; a very cute amp, complete with figures of a man and woman dosey doe-ing together. Calvin picked up the Hilton using the Electro-Voice RE20, which is a magic wand if you’re looking for bass notes.

Calvin and the Hilton 

We added cabasa to a track, backing vocals, tenor sax and a single tom drum. It was incredibly fun to take simplistic songs and come up with ideas on the spot. Working with Jim was a super treat and I hope he comes back soon!


Here are two of my fav tracks, Green and Darkness I Have Known. If you like what you hear contact Jim.


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