ABOVE: AGM battery bank stores solar power for the
studio, while a banjo provides inspiration to visiting
cowboy poets. RIGHT: Power center contains all the
equipment needed for off-grid electrical generation.
Baldwin has a Tascam mixing board, JBL monitors, There it was again: symbi-
a MIDI keyboard, and a Dell dual-Pentium PC running Cakewalk Sonar Producer Edition as his primary otic catalysm at work. The
software. He runs Rode and Shure microphones universe was giving him
through an Aphex 107 preamp “which is obsolete but
produces a slightly warmer sound.” He can save onto exactly what he needed.
DAT (half-inch digital audiotape cassettes), although
this too is becoming obsolete.
The wilderness location provides a unique benefit: “I have a nice little campground at the bottom of
total silence outside, without even a twitter of bird- the hill,” he says. “They can do what they like out here.
song. Baldwin adjusts the resonance in his studio There are no neighbors and no law enforcement to tell
simply by opening the windows. Also, there’s the people to turn their amps down. I even have a perfect
aesthetic payoff. “When you’re trying to sing an natural amphitheater for live performances.”
inspiring song,” he says, “you can be looking at a Of course, people will have to do some driving to
beautiful view instead of facing a cloth drape with get there. The nearest town, population 1,000, is
a concrete wall behind it.” ten miles away. And Baldwin may be away on busi-
The entire project cost less than $50,000, ness for a while. He was recently named head coach
including construction materials (some of them of the U.S. floor hockey team for the 2009 Special
scrounged and salvaged), solar-electric equipment, Olympics World Winter Games in Idaho.
studio electronics, and the price of the land. But since symbiotic catalysm provided Baldwin
Although he pursued the project primarily for him- with his studio, he has no doubt that when the time
self, he’s willing to advise others on what he learned is right, visitors will be able to find it.
(email him at email@example.com) and one
day he may consider opening the studio to artists he
admires who would enjoy the beauty of the location. Charles Platt is a contributing editor to MAKE.