On the Cover: Jungle City Studios
Jun 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Tom Kenny
We’re taught from a very young age that hard work pays off, that if we practice, put in the hours and hone a skill, we will find success. Parents tell us this almost before we can talk, then teachers, Little League coaches, instructors of private music lessons. Then later we hear it from college professors, who tell us that with good grades we will get a good job, if we do the work and do it well, we will be rewarded.
Well, sometimes our parents are right, and nowhere is that more evident than on this month’s cover, Jungle City Studios, opened in January of this year on West 27th Street in New York City’s up-and-coming High Line district. It’s owned and operated by engineer Ann Mincieli, who for more than 20 years has been a fixture in the local recording community, assisting all around town, engineering big records and earning the respect of her peers across the country. She learned how to take apart an SSL and made modifications on a 9000 J Series when Quad got the first three. She has taken guitar lessons from Carlos Alomar and can deconstruct a fretboard. About a dozen years ago, she began working with Alicia Keys and was instrumental in building out The Oven Studios, where she became enamored of the design process. So she took up physics and acoustics. She’s wanted her own place for a while, and now she has a real jewel.
“This is Annie’s moment,” says John Storyk, principal designer on the project and the head of Walters-Storyk Design Group. “She’s been doing this for 20 years and has world-class clients. She is a consummate professional, and she surrounds herself with real pros. Everywhere you turn, in every aspect of the studio, she has gone the full distance. To borrow a phrase from Buckminster Fuller, this studio is ‘the bare maximum.’ The studio is exactly what’s required—architecturally, acoustically, electrically and creature comfort-wise—for her marketplace. No more, no less. But always just a little bit more.”
“I really wanted to do something incredible for New York,” Mincieli says. “I am from here, I do most of my work here, but I felt like New York had fallen a few notches over the past couple of years. This is where the music industry lives and breathes. This is the center of art and culture. I wanted to give the city a shot in the arm and remind everyone that, ‘Hey, there is still a music community, there are still artists based out of here.’ I believe Troy Germano and his family are a major reason there is a recording community in New York. They pushed us to be better. They were the example and they raised the bar. We want to raise it back up. The work is still there, and I’m getting incredible gigs.”
Since January, Keys has been in, Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson, too. Bono stopped by to take a look and by all accounts loved it. A band flew in from Japan, indicating that New York can become a destination again. It’s a studio with the style and service of what Mincieli calls a seven-star hotel, from the Louis Vitton fabric on the monitor wall in the Euphonix room, to the 2,400 square feet of rooftop space with panoramic views of Manhattan, to real silverware and table service. “I want it to be a Record Plant of the East Coast,” Mincieli says. “You give the artists the service, and it pays off.”
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