Hipper than thou. Walter Sear didn’t have to try to be cooler than most everyone else on the planet – he just was.
All of us at SonicScoop were deeply saddened to learn that Walter, the founder of NYC’s Sear Sound, passed away on Thursday. We knew that he had been in the hospital for five weeks due to complications suffered after an accidental fall, but still the news of his passing came as no small surprise.
Why? Because anyone who had the privilege of spending time with Walter Sear believed almost immediately that he was indestructible. There were so many things he did that required true passion – classical tuba player, inventor, Air Force veteran, chemist, longtime Moog collaborator, composer – that it seemed an undying spirit had to be driving it all.
Besides, when Walter was in Sear Sound, that amazing 48th Street facility which stands as the oldest recording studio in NYC, he seemed to have the gentle strength of 10 men. His character and commitment to perfection were everywhere: in the sun-filled live room of Studio C with its hand-built Avalon custom console, the Neve 8038-endowed Studio A, and the Moog-equipped Studio D. No wonder the music icons of the world chose to record there, from Sir Paul McCartney to Thelonious Monk to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and scores and scores more.
Hipper than thou. Even better than seeing and hearing the fruit of his labors was talking with the man. For me, a conversation with Walter Sear held a series of little thrills, with the possibility of the most lucid/worldly/witty observation yet always in store. He’d light a cigarette and cut right through the you-know-what with suave precision.
When a pioneer like Walter Sear passes on, it’s hard not to wonder if anyone will fill their shoes. No question he was irreplaceable, but it’s actually simple for us all to continue his mission: Care about music and the quality of your recording. Care about family. Care about enjoying life.
The NYC recording scene may be incredibly competitive, but it’s also very close-knit. For the days and weeks to come, I expect many in the five boroughs will have something special to share about this sonic legend, but the bottom line about him will be the same: Sear. Sound. Wow. Hipper than thou.
– David Weiss
Article courtesy of sonicscoop.com