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Return to Funkytown

test 6 May 2008

US: Lipps Inc’s classic disco hit Funkytown has been restored and transferred to digital from fragile 24-track, 2-inch tape masters. The project was undertaken at Santa Monica’s Cups ‘N Strings studios by owner/engineer Bruce Maddocks, with supervision from the song’s writer/producer, Steven Greenberg, reports David Davies.

Recorded at Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis in 1980, the song features a Moog Vocoder effect that proved to be its major calling card. Licensed for use in countless TV shows, video games and sporting events, Funkytown has also featured in more than 20 films, including Shrek 2 and History of the World.

“Funkytown was a #1 record in over 40 countries, and 28 years later not a day goes by that I don’t get a request to licence the tracks for some sort of use somewhere around the world,” said Greenberg (pictured here to the right of Bruce Maddocks).

Contemplating the restoration process, Greenberg added: “The tapes were very finicky, but Bruce works with just about every tape configuration ever made. He’s got all the different analogue head stacks, speed controls, and the means to bake the tapes before archiving and preserving to hi-res digital. We’ve been renaming and organising the individual elements so that remixers and soundtrack producers can easily work with the material for their own projects.”

In addition to a dedicated space for analogue tape baking and archival restoration, Cups ‘N Strings – which was launched in 2002 – is also home to the Cobaltt Mastering facility, based around a Pro Tools HD2 Accel system and custom-built loudspeakers.



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