Singer-composer Juliette Commagére is best known for her vocalizing and Keytar-slinging with Foo Fighters, Avenged Sevenfold, Puscifer, and her own Hello Stranger band alongside her husband, drummer Joachim Cooder. Commagére’s new album The Procession (Manimal Vinyl), the follow-up to 2008’s achingly gorgeous solo debut Queens Die Proudly, is another luminously orchestrated pop jewel built on classically designed song structures and sensual ’70s synth stylings.
Commagére’s albums are an immersive dip into a yearning reverie, given a tasteful opulence with the aid of producer Martin Pradler, the man whose home studio in Los Angeles not only recorded, but also virtually painted with sound, both records.
Pradler’s studio is “just a room with all the junk in it, and no control room,” the engineer says. “There’s no board; Pro Tools will always be the mixer, and at the front end there are just pre’s from all over the place, a few Neves, ATIs, and Siemen stuff, along with some outboard gear. That’s pretty much it.”
But then there’s Pradler’s Eventide H8000FW outboard effects processor, whose 230 effects modules and 24-bit analog I/O is most responsible for the album’s entrancing sonorities. “What I like about [the processor] is that I have no idea how to work the thing at all,” he says with a laugh. “It’s way too complex, but you just put something through it and it makes a big deal out of something very little. A lot of the vocal reverbs were done through the Eventide. I would just print sections with a certain reverb, and then do something slightly different in the chorus, keep printing them, and have tons of stereo tracks to work with.”
You’ll hear the power and glory of the H8000 on “Procession,” a chillingly beautiful song in which Commagére’s soaring voice builds atop enormous, hugely satisfying waves of 12-string guitar and synth tracked through the Eventide. According to Commagére, the track’s sweeping ssssshhhhs are created as a result of the unit’s tendency to add “extra creepy frequencies.”
“It creates something interesting harmonically, not chords so much, but octaves and delays and probably a million processes going on at the same time,” adds bandmate Cooder.
While the resonantly rich textures of The Procession are the result of a million post-recording processes as well, another key ingredient was Commagére’s Sequential Circuits Prophet T8, as heard on the electronically pulsating “Glass.”
“The Prophet is my favorite keyboard in the world,” she says. “There’s something so rich and melancholy about that tone. It has a wailing quality to it—and sometimes you want that sound.”