Studio Sweet Spot: The Isokon

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Facility Name: The Isokon


The Isokon

Website: /

Location: Woodstock, NY

Neighborhood Advantages: Woodstock is a vibe place. It’s surrounded by mountains and trees, and lots of waterways, so you just get this feeling that you’re among some pretty deep juju up here. It’s also a cute town with an obvious history. And there’s a reason that a lot of heavyweight free thinkers end up here…

Date of Birth: March 2010

Facility Focus: I mainly produce records from start to finish, or I am brought on to mix. Tracking and mixing are the two primary focuses here.

Mission Statement: Working here is intended to be a distinctly “non-studio” experience. We work under our own rules, and no clock. We use the word isolation very loosely. In fact, The Isokon is more like a lodge in the woods; a retreat built on the side of a mountain that just so happens to house an immense collection of rare and specialized recording gear. It’s a home-away-from-home, where we work without boundaries, at a pace worthy of kings.

Clients/Credits: Yellowbirds, Thieving Irons, Bobby, Kelli Scarr, Matt White, The Bravery, Nova Social, New London Fire, Partisan Records, Rykodisk, Warner Music.

Key Personnel: D. James Goodwin

System Highlights: MCI 416a console; MCI JH24/16 2″ analogue deck; Barefoot MM27 monitors; Pro Tools HD3 (full UAD suite, SoundToys, Waves) w/ Lynx AD/DA; collection of Lomo valve mics; a huge collection of keyboard instruments (Baldwin Piano, Pump Organ, Optigan, Hammond, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, Polivoks, etc); a great collection of vintage drums; and tons of oddities.

Distinguishing Characteristics: This place feels so different from a typical studio – it distinguishes itself easily as a creative refuge. Even though the control room is a serious dedicated space, it feels as though it’s part of a relaxed and extremely comfortable vacation home. We’re surrounded by trees and open sky, not the typical concrete doldrums of the city. That’s enough for me. And it sounds amazing here. Period.

The building is on fire, you only have time to grab ONE thing to save, what is it? All kidding aside, I’d save my mic cabinet, and I’d throw my Lucas limiter in there for good measure.

Rave Reviews: People love the fact that this becomes their home while they’re here. They love the way the place feels. They also love the sounds…. there’s so much here to explore sonically, everyone comes away feeling creatively invigorated.

Oh, and they LOVE my sofa in the control room…. red velvet… need I say more?

Most Memorable Session Ever: My most memorable session here was most likely the BOBBY sessions. 7 people, all living here for a month, making the most incredible music, tweaking and experimenting. It was the moment I said, “Yes. I love my studio.”

Session You’d Like to Forget: I can’t go there… not enough space…

Dream Session (if you could host ANY session with any client, living or dead, what would it be?): Miles Davis. Electric period…. then again, I love those records, so they obviously didn’t need me. More modern would be Jaga Jazzist or Tortoise.

D. James Goodwin in The Isokan control center.

– D. James Goodwin, The Isokon

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  • Good to see D. James Goodwin and his studio on the Studio Sweet Spot this month.  Couple one of the sweetest spots on the east coast with the great musical and engineering talent and you have a recipe for an amazing recording experience.  Bobby is indeed one of those bands you never forget.  The Isokon and D. James provided them with the perfect environment for making that happen.  Big ups!

  • Ben Goldstein

    Just recorded their earlier this month with my group Vuvuzela. Fantastic experience. Could not complain, and would recommend to anybody who’s committed to making an album that, sonically, will blow your speakers up (in the best way possible.)