Buena Park, CA (December 1, 2003)–Now in its second season on the Showtime network, Penn & Teller: Bulls-t! is an entertaining journey in debunking various bizarre topics. For composer Gary Stockdale, it’s an exercise in various musical genres that calls for a large number of cues, changes in mix configurations, and a combination of new and vintage gear. Stockdale’s composition tools include a recently acquired Yamaha 02R96 digital mixing console and a hard disk recording system, along with a number of vintage keyboards and effects.
“Penn & Teller never go for the easy trick,” explains Stockdale, who has been associated with the duo for more than 15 years. “For this show, most of the scoring is done in post production. Since it’s documentary format, they’ll shoot a bunch of footage and edit it down, and then I’ll write the type of music that best helps get the message across. As the composer, I’m simply adding an extra level of editorializing to the show.”
Since meeting the duo in 1989, Stockdale has written and performed original music for their NBC TV special, Don’t Try This At Home, the Broadway show Penn & Teller Rot In Hell, the ABC prime-time special Home Invasions, and the television variety series Penn & Teller’s Sin City Spectacular.
“Going to hard drive video and adding the 02R96 has really simplified things,” assures Stockdale. “The weak link in my digital audio chain was working with an analog mixer, as well as locking up a VTR with my sequencer by SMPTE. I really like the fact that with the 02R96, you can instantly save any setup that you’re working on and download or upload it. We’re using our Apogee Rosetta AD/DA converters less now that we have the 02R96, and we’re also using the console’s onboard effects. We’re running everything off Word Clock from the Rosettas and everything seems to be working perfectly.”
The MOTU Audio System/Digital Performer combo is Stockdale’s main hard disk recording system. “And there are a number of different digital sources like SPDIF and AES going right into his 02R96-almost all the connections are lightpipe, and it handles everything smoothly,” Stockdale adds. “The sonic quality has definitely increased. Everything seems bigger and crisper sounding.”
Stockdale’s facility in Los Angeles includes a live room and an electronics room housing two Tascam Gigastudios which are plugged directly into the 02R96, plus various Macintosh G Series computers (“CPU’s everywhere,” he says), Genelec 1029A nearfield monitors and a 1091A subwoofer.
“Besides all the different plug-ins I have,” he notes, “I also use a lot of more ‘vintage’ gear. Since we’re using a Gigastudio and plug-ins, we’ve been able to sell off a lot of chip-based synths, since everything is being duplicated so well on the computers these days. Most of my keyboard modules are now in the Mac, but I have (and still use) an 88-key Fender Rhodes.”
Yamaha Corporation of America