A veteran musician in Iowa’s capital city has produced a unique new album that features 13 bands recorded on a somewhat vintage machine. The Des Moines 4 Track Compilation, Volume One was recorded almost entirely in Dan Hutchison’s home studio using a Tascam 414 MKII 4 Track cassette recorder. “By only having four tracks, it was giving everybody the same options and the same limitations,” Hutchison says.
The Tascam 414 MKII became a popular portable tool for musicians in the late 1990s. The 13 Des Moines-based bands were recorded on the machine between April 2013 and February 2014, primarily in Hutchison’s basement.
The digital technology available today allows most any band to record songs that can sound like they were done in a big-budget studio. But, Hutchison enjoys the challenge of the “old school” method of analog recording with a 4 track. “Every song that came to me…knowing the lineup of the instruments that were going to be used, trying to figure out how I was going to mix it in my head before I ever recorded the song, so I could try to figure out what order I needed to record everything in,” Hutchison explained.
The 13 previously unreleased songs are being presented on a vinyl record, limited to 500 copies. The packaging includes a screen printed sleeve and a card allowing access to the full digital download of the album.
Hutchison hopes to feature more Des Moines bands and start working on another 4 track compilation soon. “I’ve been in this music scene for 25 years at this point and to me, it seems like the strongest music scene that we’ve had,” Hutchison said.
A record release show for the 4 track compilation, featuring performances by many of the bands involved in the project, will be held tonight at the Vaudeville Mews in downtown Des Moines.