Audio Recording Studio

Selected Reviews of Albums Recorded at GilderSound


Recent press on GilderSound

Laying down the tracks: Local talent can make professional recordings at GilderSound recording studio

by Michelle Miron
Managing Editor
Forest Lake Press

In a basement at an unassuming house near Target and Wal-Mart, a jam session might be kicking even as you read this.

Randy Gildersleeve opened his own recording studio on Fourth Street eight years ago, and now it attracts a myriad of musicians who pay him to professionally record their tunes and voices. GilderSound Audio Recording Studio has produced some 150 different CDs, several of which have won or been nominated for Minnesota Music Awards.

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Swallows: Witching & Divining

One of the Top Local Albums of 2012
"A little prog rock, a little classical, a little old Sabbath-type metal, a little Old World folk. Here’s an album with the same feeling as a 70s classic and the same sound as a 90s epic.... The album is an amazing alchemy of roots music, often dark but never depressing and consistently exciting. Swallows produced the album themselves (with assistance from Randy Gildersleeve at GilderSound in Forest Lake) – capturing their unconventional instrumentation very smoothly. Throughout the album cellos and guitars work together, rather than playing over each other; you really get a sense of the collaborative sound in ‘Roam.’ Drummer Justin DeLeon’s integral performance is captured perfectly, and it is often the drums that make the arrangements so exciting. This is an album that sounds great on vinyl and on a big stereo.” - Dave Hoenack - Hymie’s Vintage Records

City Pages’ Best Local Albums of 2012 (Staff Picks) - “[Swallows] new LP, Witching & Divining, captures them like a firefly trapped in a jar. Each song is steeped in folklore, feeling at times like an interpretation of John Lomax’s legendary field recordings. Throughout the album, the band introduces innovative percussion - featuring a metal pipe and a trashcan - as well as drawing on traditional instruments from around the world, including two cellos and a marimba. The result is alternately reminiscent of Tom Waits and of contemporary revivalists Mumford & Sons, while retaining a dense, organic sound entirely unique to Swallows.” - City Pages (Minneapolis/St. Paul)

“A record that sounds like autumnal weather, the Swallows’ Witching & Divining blends raspy-voiced frontman Jeff Crandall’s dark story songs with hard, cold blasts of cello, accordion and guitar that fall somewhere between rootsy punk and Celtic folk.” - Chris Riemenschneider, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"A sinister seriousness casts a shadow over this expansive collection of American roots, blues and folk tunes. Lead singer Jeff Crandall's confident growl is the driving force behind the sophomore LP from this Minneapolis five-piece. Recorded by Randy Gildersleeve and mastered by JJ Golden, [Witching & Divining] features a very nice production. The instrumentals are rich, crisp, and maintain an evenhanded balance regardless of which creative direction Swallows decides to venture. The vinyl adds warmth to the low end of the cello and upright bass. The vocals are up front throughout. Overall sound: 8/10." - Rob Peoni, Record Geeks


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Metaphor: Judson Bridge

"A wonderful find...." - National Public Radio

"Atmospheric and often enthralling, the music of metaphor lies somewhere between world folk and ambient techno, in a place where synthesizers, sitars, and hammer dulcimers all are welcome. The brain-child of Mike Croswell, Metaphor sometimes sounds like a bucolic cousin of the revered German band Can on its fine new CD, Judson Bridge." - Tom Surrowics, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"This is easily one of the most interesting albums I have reviewed for Demorama this year." - Mike Mitchelson, Demorama


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Swallows: Clear Sky Relapse

RATING: ***** (5 out of five stars)
"A stunning surprise. The title track ('Clear Sky Relapse') has to make it onto people's Top Ten tracks of the year lists… it is amazing and really shows what a vocal talent Jeff Crandall is… why this track isn't being played on more radio stations is beyond me. Crandall gets gruffer on 'Rattle Them Bones' and the music flows taking the listener along on a journey. The very slow 'I Will Not Burn' allows the listener to really realise just how much emotion Crandall gets from his voice (honestly you have to hear it to believe it) while Aaron Kerr's cello playing on 'Ballad Of Charon' really gives the track an amazing mood. The beautiful 'High Water' then closes an EP that is truly a great listen. Swallows make folk-rock sound heavenly… and Clear Sky Release is one of the EPs of the year!" - Buzz Magazine (Australia)


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Metaphor: Strange Lives

"Strange Lives is chill-out meets Peter Gabriel's definition of worldbeat meets Fripp's ambient music. And no, it is not that far-fetched a fusion. Metaphor integrates all these influences very well, in a way reminiscent of the Freight Elevator Quartet." - François Couture, All Music Guide


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The Fantastic Merlins: Live

"One of the Top Ten CDs of 2005" by Steve McPherson, Pulse

"Bringing together an unconventional mix of instruments and a shared penchant for experimentation, New York and Minneapolis based combo the Fantastic Merlins make music that's unpredictable and steeped in emotion. Alternately upbeat and meditative, the cello, bass, sax and drum interplay make for a sound that's part avant-garde jazz, part chamber music, part boundary-breaking sonic journey." - Milwaukee Shepherd Express


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Heather Murphy: Another Way

"There are two things that those who hear Heather Murphy's music express words of praise on right away: her voice and her lyrics. Her voice's gentle beauty is a perfect match for her heartfelt songs about relationships, inner peace and the sweetness of life despite its ups and downs. Those who have been waiting for this CD won't be disappointed." - Wendy Vickers, Music Critic


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Lisa Kane: Surroundings

Nominated for Acoustic Album of the Year by the Minnesota Music awards in 2003.

Lisa Kane's most recent cd, Surroundings is a triumph of poetic sentiment and musical diversity. Lisa has a lot to say, and she says it well. In doing so, she takes great care to match the instrumentation to the message. Her selection and use of supporting musicians, and her collaboration with co-producer, Randy Gildersleeve, are consistently effective.... Good writing, astute arrangements and production, some articulate social commentary, a strong sense of heritage, supported by expert and diverse musicianship, and fronted by warm, conversational vocals. That covers a lot of what I buy records for. Probably you too. - Pierce Foxe, Collected Sounds

"If you relate best to performers whose appeal lies in brave, yet serene, delivery and sonic texturing that is subtle rather than flash, Lisa Kane warrants a high place on your mustsee/ must-hear list." - T. Alexander, Pulse of the Twin Cities


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Swallows: Songs for Strippers (and other professions)

One of the top CDs of 2008 - Consequence of Sound

"It is seldom that one gets to enthusiastically introduce new bands with raw talent, but this is one of those moments. Swallows, an alternative band out of Minnesota, has invoked what people are calling 'rock and roll, ugly and beautiful, profane and spiritual.'

Trust me, get yourself a copy of "Songs for Strippers" and just play it for background sound - you will wonder why you had not done so sooner. Also of note, the band’s cellist Aaron Kerr has just recently finished mastering a collection of 10 coffee shop mood instrumentals titled "Dissonant Creatures." There you have it, and coming highly recommended I might add." - David Buchanan - Consequence of Sound


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Aaron Kerr: Arco 71

McKnight Foundation Fellowship, 2006 recipient




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Metaphor: Seeder

Pulse Magazine Artist of the Week, May 10, 2000

"Metaphor is a six-piece ensemble that creates an eclectic mix of futuristic ambience and exotic world music.... The mixture of synthesizers with odd foreign instruments such as the didjeridu and the Punjabi snake charmer transports the listener from vaguely remembered dreams to the surreal bazaars of the streets of India or Turkey. Haunting vocals occasionally wash over the mix of the vein of the most recent material from Dead Can Dance.... Metaphor sets a unique mood in their journey into the subconscious." - David Rangel, Pulse of the Twin Cities

"Moody and meditative, Metaphor's Seeder is an interesting blend of various cultures with contemporary sounds. These guys are exceedingly proficient, reaching for instruments ranging from the didjeridu to the French horn and creating intricate music that envelops the listener. Metaphor can both relax and energize, and also sound downright haunting." - Mike Mitchelson, Demorama


Metaphor: Serene Traveler

"Serene Traveler, is an uncommon mix of foreign instruments, synth-pop sound-track music, cool jazz saxophone, spoken word snippets and electronic effects, all reminiscent if Mike Oldfields classic Tubular Bells or British sound master Brian Eno....The groundbreaking disc is one of the most pop-oriented releases on Innova; the label of the St. Paul based American Composers Forum. Innova poobah Homer Lambrecht, a local trombonist-composer came up with the term 'contemporary world/ambient' to categorize Metaphor's fusion." - Jim Meyer, Minneapolis Star Tribune


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Thinland: Tracing the Cracks

"Intelligent, luxuriant & compelling indie rock/pop/folk. Falls somewhere between Elliot Smith, R.E.M., Radiohead, Nick Drake, The Eels, U2, etc. New album Tracing The Cracks is an album that NEEDS to be heard. It's dreamy, imaginative and inspiring. Listen to it again & again & again." - Kings of A & R, New York

"Sometimes you come across 'great music' that just does not conform the way you usually listen to music and which demands a bit more of your focus and attention.... We could compare [Thinland] to the very best of moving R.E.M., the beatific landscapes of David Sylvian's solo material, Leonard Cohen and The Eels. Extremely Highly Recommended." - Not Lame Records, Denver

"Earnest vocals round some infectious folk rock songs with violins. Sounds very interesting on first hearing!" - Minus Zero Records, London, UK

"Lush arrangements and arresting harmonies highlight Tracing The Cracks, the debut full-length from St. Paul, Minn., quartet Thinland.... Reminiscent of both R.E.M. and U2, Tracing The Cracks finds the band alternating from acoustic folk songs to electric rockers, all the while enhancing their material with well-produced string arrangements." - The Reader, Omaha, NE

"For a group called Thinland, the band sure has a huge sound.... a mix of dreamy, atmospheric pop and high-intensity rock." - Omaha World-Herald

"An ethereal, lush and dreamy expedition into the dark, deep and blue crystal crevasses of David Sylvian, R.E.M., Nick Drake, and Elliot Smith, among others, tumbling their listeners into an emotionally exposed and beautifully melancholy existence. If and when you picture yourself floating through the expanses of space, moving stars and planets with a sweep of the hand, feeling the glows of the galaxy imprint your heart, Thinland will be the soundtrack...." - Tamara Turner,, featured CD review