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Earwax Productions News Archive



San Francisco, CA, Sepetember 9th, 2009 , AKQA rock star producer Nancy Cardillo calls on the Earwax Productions team Andrew Roth and Jim McKee to create sounds and music for the launch and release of the new XBOX THE BEALTES: Rock Band. Take the magical mystery tour from begining through the end and all the classics in between. You’ll never hear Lucy like this again. 

Take the Fab Four Mystery Tour and learn more about THE BEATLES: Rock Band can be found at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/splash/b/beatlesrockband/.


CALEXICO: The True Story of Life in the California Borderlands 

San Francisco, CA, August 1st, 2009 , Earwax Productions team up with Washington Monthlys’ Markos Kounalakis and Peter Laufer to create this five one-hour series on the borderlands of the United States. Calexico: The True Story of Life in the California Borderlands” infuses new, poignant narratives into the stalled and vitriolic rhetoric of the national debate over immigration. As politicians at every level of government from city councils to presidential candidates attempt to address this pressing matter, the voices of those affected by immigration in their daily lives – those who live and work on the California-Mexico border – are too often co-opted and obscured. Through compelling, interview-driven documentary, “Calexico” will bring these voices forward to inform the public and provide a nuanced context for communities across the nation. Washington Monthly on the Radio, is a regular feature on XM Radio, The pieces were edited and mixed by Jim McKee of Earwax Productions. Music by Calexico and Cindy Cashdollar.

More information about Washington Monthly on the Radio and the Calexico Series can be found at http://www.washingtonmonthly.net.



San Francisco, CA, July 10, 2009 , The award-winning Kitchen Sisters continue to rule the air waves with two new programs “Stubb Stubblefield: Archangel of BBQ” and “The Breadbasket Blues: A Central California Kitchen Story”. The Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, are the creators of Hidden Kitchens, a regular feature on NPR’s Morning Edition, The pieces were mixed by Jim McKee of Earwax Productions.

On July 10th, NPR will broadcast the next installment of Hidden Kitchens, “Breadbasket Blues: A Central California Kitchen Story”, California’s Central Valley produces many of the fruits and vegetables consumed in America. It is also one of the poorest areas of the country. There are high rates of malnutrition and obesity, and residents have little access to fresh produce themselves. Environmental conditions such as a lack of sidewalks and streetlights, and packs of wild dogs that keep parents from letting their children go outside to play, discourage exercise and healthy living. Constant gang violence and drugs hamper the efforts of anyone hoping to improve things, but there are some who are trying. “After almost twenty years of mixing and editing with Davia and Nikk and it just gets better and better, said Mr. McKee, “The people and places these gals find are amazing”. The 8-minute pieces will be heard NPR’s Morning Edition.

More information about the Kitchen Sisters can be found at http://www.kitchensisters.org.



San Francisco, CA, April 27th, 2009 , Underground Advertising does good for the environment by teaming up with Earthjustice with their latest animation. Underground Ads Charlie Chardillo and Lindsay Meisel helped to create Stop Soot, part of the many on going efforts by  Earthjustice, The sound for this short was designed and mixed by Jim McKee of Earwax Productions. Special effects provided by his dog Smokey and his play toys.

Earthjustice contacted Underground in the spring of 2009 for help with a new campaign to raise awareness about the threat of black carbon, commonly known as soot. While the link between climate change and carbon dioxide emissions has been publicized for some time, black carbon’s contribution to the problem is not as widely known. Atmospheric currents carry soot from all over the world to the Arctic, where it coats the ice, causing it to melt more quickly. Earthjustice wanted our help explaining how taking on this tiny particle could have immediate benefits, not only for the health of the planet, but for the health of people around the world suffering from the respiratory illnesses and cancer it can cause. The goal of the campaign was to pressure the U.S. State Department and Environmental Protection Agency to take a lead role intightening domestic regulation of black carbon and to finance technology transfer to developing nations to help them address the problem.

More information about Undergound Advertising can be found at http://www.undergroundads.com.



San Francisco, CA, March 11, 2008 , Earwax completes design and mix for “This Dust of Words”

Thirty years after he last saw her, Stanford English professor John Felstiner finds mystery and wonder in the life of a former student, and in her death. This Dust of Words, whose title is taken from Elizabeth Wiltsee’s 1969 Stanford honors’ thesis, is the story of a life lived differently, strange, beautiful and haunting, right to the very end. Written, produced and directed by Bill Rose, based on a memoir by John Felstiner, Photography, Mickey Freeman and Bill Rose, Edited by Rick LeCompte, Sound Design and Mix by Jim McKee



San Francisco, CA, August 7th, 2007 , Emeryville-based Lifeflow and Earwax Productions, San Francisco were awarded a grant from the Walter and Elise Haas Creative Work Fund to produce “Shared Stories” a pilot radio program and online audio program featuring multicultural and diverse stories about innovative caregiving. Combining music, ambient sounds, interviews and real-life stories from caregivers, this series of five-minute audio compositions and radio series will be presented as an ongoing LifeFlow Internet program on elder care.

“Our target audience is the Boomer Generation, those 44 million Americans caring for an aging parent. “Shared Stories” offers an innovative way for companies and organizations to support families caring for an elder relative”, adds Deborah Erwin, LifeFlow Community Outreach Director and “Shared Stories” Project Director.

LifeFlow’s Radio Pilot Series “Care Give Radio” This series of radio programs collects and weaves together stories told by caregivers about their experiences helping people through the toughest ordeals of life, aging and death. Through sharing stories, people can learn how to prepare for unexpected and difficult times. Host, Peter Laufer, will invite callers to bring their own stories and questions on the air, with guest experts from the medical, legal, caregiving and financial points of view. The stories will be recorded and added to the archive for development into new audio compositions. These new audio compositions will be available one line at http://www.lifeflow.org from October 2007 until October 2008.



San Francisco, CA, August 7th, 2007 , A series of three hour-long programs featuring San Francisco’s first poet laureate, Lawrence ferlinghetti, in collaboration with Jim McKee of Earwax Productions, Maria Gilarddin of TUC Radio and Erik Bauersfeld, Director of Bay Area Radio Drama will be broadcast on KQED FM for three consecutive Saturdays begining April 7th – 21st. The project was funded by the Creative Work Fund of San Francisco.

Ferlinghetti’s involvement with radio and the audio medium goes back to the 1960s when he produced oral renditions and poetic sketches with Bauersfeld at Pacifica’s KPFA. The station at that time was a center for the audio arts, and other cultural broadcasting. As independent producers, Bauersfeld, Gilardin and McKee, along with Ferlinghetti, have had continuous active careers and awards for their contributions to the medium. About a decade ago, during our weekly meetings at a little café bordering San Francisco Farmer’s Market, we began to record conversations with Ferlinghetti.

The recordings were on widely diverse subjects but centered on the poet’s thoughts about the arts, politics, his experiences at sea during World War II, his now historic City Lights Books, his life as a publisher of local and international writers, and the themes and subjects of his own poetry. The tapes also documented chance meetings, unanticipated live happenings in the street locations, the people and events that came by and participated. 



San Francisco, CA, December 10, 2003 , Earwax composer Pat Farrell completes music track for an Adobe Systems corporate video.

Media Alchemy, Inc., a former Bay Area media production house recently moved to Seattle, where Executive Producer Erik Holsinger produced, directed, shot and edited a set of corporate videos for Adobe Systems. For the key video segment showcasing all the latest DV video products, he turned to Earwax Productions to provide a custom musical score.

“For our lead video segment, we needed music that went way beyond anything you’ll ever find in library music,” said Holsinger. “Yet we were also on a tight production schedule. Earwax and Pat Farrell came through with a brilliant score that the clients absolutely loved and was a joy to work with.”

Pat Farrell created a five-minute electronika melodic beat track, to which Mr.. Holsinger edited the lead video segment. Since Ms Farrell created and delivered the music using REASON, Holsinger was able to easily make small adjustments to fit the needs of images and interviews on the video. “Every musical project that we’ve ever done with Earwax has added an incredible level of sophistication to our productions,” notes Holsinger. “Whenever a media project calls for original music, they are the first people we call. ”




San Francisco, CA, September 10, 2003 Apple ComputerCruz Bustamante, No On Proposition 54, and the recycling whizzes at Alameda County Waste Management Authority have all come back to Earwax to get out their sound.

It’s time to recycle that old computer; the Power Mac G5 is now available. Albert MacFarland of Apple Computer came back to Earwax to create the soundtrack for the two-minute launch video that will be playing in Apple Retail stores, in their theatres, as well as in CompUSA as a point-of-purchase attract loop. Created by Apple designers Adam Connelly and Barry Munsterteiger, with creative director Sam Davy, the piece feels like a gritty low-down rock and roll music video. It features the amazing 64-bit processor and its applications in music and motion graphics with images of Coldpla and The Incredible Hulk. The throbbing rock score was made by Earwax composers Kevin Gerzevitz and Rama Kolesnikow. Mr. McKee finished the score, built the sound design and mixed. He commented, “It’s kind of a perfect place to use the sound artifacts from some past digital meltdowns.” Earwax has been working with Apple Computer now for more than fifteen years.

Helping to spread the word about recycling, Bruce Goddard of Alameda County Waste Management decided to give Earwax free reign to create the latest two radio spots in their ongoing series. With composer Pat Farrell, Mr. McKee and Mr. Jones created the spots in their own signature audiograph style, setting edited on-the-street interview material into musical poetic constructions. One spot features kids and the other has adults, all talking about the importance of recycling.

Ross Communications of Sacramento is managing two campaigns for this tumultuous October 7th Statewide Special Election, otherwise known as the Recall. Two television spots are being broadcast this week, “No On Prop 54” and “Cruz Bustamante, Democrat for Governor” both created by the video magicians at Twenty2ProductJim McKeedesigned the sound and mixed, while Barney Jones provided musical touches and also voiced the gubernatorial spot. “It’s great to work on messages that I actually feel strongly about”, said Mr. Jones, “it helps strengthen the illusion of being helpful.”




San Francisco, CA, June 12, 2003 , Earwax is all over the place this Spring and Summer. From Finnish Broadcasting to the California Science Center in Los Angeles to cineplexes all over the country, the work of Earwax Productions is being heard.

Earwax is celebrating it’s 10th year working with Harri Huhtamäki from Finnish Broadcasting’s Radio Altelier. In early May, Jim McKee worked with Harri to produce three 45-minute radio features for broadcast this Summer and Fall. “Yrtit” is a two-part monologue that tells the story of Finland’s celebrated poet Onervasta, who was imprisoned in a mental institution for five years. The third work entitled “Paradiso of the Ears” examines the way we hear things. The listener is taken on a journey through earth, water, and wind, with music provided by San Francisco’s own Ralph Carney. While in Finland, Mr. McKee was a guest (along with former Earwaxer Andy Murdock of lotsofrobots.com) in this year’s Clone Festival, Finland¹s premiere digital film festival.

Barney Jones mixed up some sounds for a new exhibit on energy which opens this summer at The California Science Center in L.A., and travels throughout California The exhibit includes several pieces of video and animation which explain some of the mysteries around the delivery of power and give tips about how to conserve energy. The pieces were produced by Julie Mirocha and Kirk Bergstrom of Worldlink, and edited by Andy Gersh.

Mr. Jones was also part of the editorial team on this year’s summer blockbuster from Pixar, Finding Nemo.




San Francisco, CA, April 8, 2003 , This spring, the Peabody Awards and the European Broadcasting Union chose to honor works mixed or created by Earwax Productions.

On April 2nd, Lost & Found Sound, created by the Kitchen Sisters Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, was given a Peabody award for its Sonic Memorial project, “A program capturing the voices of those whose memories of the World Trade Center present the September 11 losses in a new perspective.” The programs were regularly featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, and were mixed at Earwax Productions by Jim McKee and Barney Jones. Also honored was the website, Sonicmemorial.org. The George Foster Peabody Awards were first awarded in 1941 for radio programs broadcast in 1940. The awards recognize distinguished achievement and meritorious service by radio and television networks, stations, producing organizations, cable television organizations and individuals.

The Radio Documentary Group of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has selected Sound of the Rose, created by Jim McKee, Rob Wasserman, Harri Huhtamäki at Radio Atelier YLE in Finland and Earwax Productions, USA, to be featured at its International Features Conference. “When you make something personal like this, it¹s nice to find out that somebody¹s listening.” Said Mr. McKee. The conference will take place in Toronto in early May.




San Francisco, CA, March 11, 2003 , Barney Jones and Jim McKee have lately been making their noises in classrooms, for classrooms and about classrooms.

Earwax Productions recently completed the sound design and mix for a 10 minute video about the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, North Carolina, the first and only Jewish secular boarding school in the country. Frank Green of Green TV produced the video. According to Mr. Green, “They have the highest standards of excellence in teaching, in curriculum, and in their facilities. The video production we did had to meet and exceed their high standards, which is why, of course, I went to Earwax again for the audio post. I’ve worked with Jim and Barney since the early days of Earwax. Very skilled and professional, of course . . . but the best part is their great attitude about the work. They love what they do and it shows.”

Working with producer Erik Holsinger of Media Alchemy, Mr. Jones recently cast, directed and edited an elaborate set of prompts for Brisbane company, Classroom Connect. The prompts are for a series of online courses geared to kindergarten through second grade, and designed to teach little kids how to use technology. “I’ve worked with Earwax productions for years, and they’ve consistently delivered the highest quality of both audio production quality and professionalism,” said Holsinger. “On the Classroom Connect project, Earwax was critical to bringing the project in ahead of schedule and on budget. Earwax is simply the best audio production company I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.”

Finally, Mr. Jones has been in the classroom, teaching electronic music workshops at the Communications Academy of Drake High in Marin County. Both Mr. McKee and Mr. Jones were invited to spin tales of audio production in the last century as part of “Insiders Day” at Expression Center for New Media, a phenomenally well equipped school of digital arts in Emeryville, California.




San Francisco, CA, November 12, 2002 , Earwax Productions’ team of composers and sound designers jazzes up a Macy’s television spot.

Once again, the advertising department at Macy’s turned to Earwax to create the soundtrack for a new commercial: “Anniversary”. A husband sees a note in his wife’s hand about an anniversary today. Thinking he has forgotten the special day, he scurries about creating a candlelight dinner before she returns home. Arriving home, the wife explains that the note is not about their anniversary, but the Macy’s Anniversary Sale.

Out of the six music sketches, Macy’s chose one by Rama Kolesnikow for it’s hip combination of fun and serious intention. Jim McKee did the sound design and mix, asissted by Jeff Darby.




San Francisco, CA, November 2, 2002 , Jim McKee recently finished the sound mix for “Unlocking the Heart of Adoption”, the new documentary by Sheila Ganz, which will be screened at the 18th Annual Film Arts Festival.

Fifteen years in the making, this film chronicles the journey of a rape victim who “unwillingly relinquished her newborn daughter for adoption” The film chronicles the chilling, first person stories of adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents in same race and transracial adoptions. These stories run the emotional gamut, from Hollywood-style “happy endings” to heart breaking tragedy, with bittersweet personal stories and fascinating historical background in between.”

The Earwax team, with Andrew Roth and Ethan, restored a variety of audio sources, sweetening and transforming them into a polished sound mix led by Jim McKee. The 58 minute film will be screened Thursday, November 14th at 6pm in the BRAVA Theatre Center, 2781 24th Street in San Francisco.





San Francisco, CA, September 3, 2002 The Getty Museum in Los Angeles has opened “The Danube Exodus” with sound design mix by Jim McKee of Earwax Productions.

Mr. McKee has been collaborating on an immersive interactive DVD installation that is running through September 29th at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Visitors to “The Danube Exodus: The Rippling Currents of the River” encounter three historical narratives through the innovative combination of early personal film footage and the latest DVD-ROM technologies. Down the Danube came Jews fleeing from Nazi oppression and a year later émigré Germans escaping Soviet oppression. These two stories and the story of Captain Nándor Andrásovits, who shot the footage while he transported the people, are interactively intertwined using five DVD projectors.

The mesmerizing power and impact of the experience in the central space relies heavily on the immersive 5:1 sound track created by sound designer Jim McKee of Earwax Productions. The audio mix includes ambient sounds of the river and harbor, the mechanical rhythms of ships’ engines, regional music from the period, songs and prayers of the refugees, voice-overs of the Captain and his passengers and the haunting minimalist music of composer Tibor Szemzo.

The Labyrinth Project is a research initiative on interactive narrative that was founded in 1997 by Marsha Kinder at the Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California.




San Francisco, CA, June 14, 2002 TechTV producer Mark DeVito hired earwax composer/sound design Jim McKee to create theme music and sound design for TechTV’s newest edition Eye Drops. Mr. McKee collaborated with Kevin Gerzevitz and musicians Ralph Carney and Andrew Higgins to create this hot and wacky show opener.

According to Tech TV themselves, “This half-hour weekly program showcases today’s best computer-generated animated shorts. From highly skilled amateurs to the most high-end professionals, these brilliant pieces demonstrate the power and beauty of technology when placed in the hands of contemporary artists.

“TechTV is the world’s largest producer and distributor of television about computing, technology, and the Internet. Our programming can be seen in over 55 million homes worldwide. It is available in 64 countries, ranging from France to Mexico to China to Australia. Also, we provide the world’s only satellite-delivered technology news feed, which is available over the Associated Press Television Network’s satellite video news service or via tape delivery.”

Fantasy DVD: Sony Pictures recent release of FINAL FANTASY on a special edition 2-disc DVD features sound design and effects editing by Jim McKee and Jeff Darby. Mr. McKee was hired by Skywalker Sound to design a track for the theatrical trailer (included on the DVD release) and to cut effects for the feature film. “The DVD sounds cool and contains some awesome graphics, interactive documentaries and animation workshops.” Says Mr. Darby’s seventeen-year-old nephew Todd.

GONE BAD done good: The second episode of Marco Bertoldo’s short animation series GONE BAD took first place for animation in ALICE’s 3-Minute Film Festival. Barney Jones spent an enormous amount of time scoring this short “Spaghetti Horror” cartoon.




San Francisco, CA, June 1st, 2002 , Earwax Productions is setting up shop in the historic Sentinel Building in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. Headquarters for American Zoetrope, and home for NPR’s Lost and Found Sound and “The Kitchen Sisters,” the building has long been a haven for creative energy and countless film and sound productions.

“The move brings us closer to our relations with many film, radio projects, advertising agencies and our more recent spoken word recordings with Bay Area Radio Drama and City Light’s Lawrence Ferlinghetti,” said earwax founder, Jim McKee. “And the coffee’s a whole lot better,” added his longtime partner, Barney Jones.

Mr. McKee continues to produce, mix and edit radio projects from San Francisco to Helsinki, Finland and Tonga. Now in its third season, NPR’s Peobody Award winning “Lost and Found Sound” will be working with Jim to produce a series of radio pieces focusing on the theme of a Sonic Memorial to commemorate and chronicle the people, places and endeavors that made up the life and history of the World Trade Center.

Founding member, Barney Jones continues to provide his expertise as composer and music editor to many Bay Area film projects. He’s helped create temporary music tracks for Francis Coppola, Chris Columbus, Wayne Wang and Pixar, working closely with the editors and directors to shape their  story. He has composed and produced the music for several independent documentaries. “The music made it feel like a real movie.” said Judy Erlich, director of THE GOOD WAR (And Those Who Refused to Fight It).

Earwax has long been involved with the creative use of sound and music for many independent and feature film projects (from Bram Stoker’s Dracula and IMAX films, to many others mixed at The Bay Area’s Skywalker Sound). The group has enjoyed over fifteen years of collaboration with local directors and media visionaries such as Chip Lord, Michael Naimark, Pam Rorke Levy, Lisa Moncure, and Rick Tejada-Flores as well as foreign projects with Finnish directors Ilppo Pohjola and Harri Huhtam”ki. Current projects include the development of new film post techniques with Fox Searchlab and interactive DVD projects with the Labyrinth Project at USC and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Founded in 1984, earwax productions continues to offer innovative solutions and state of the art technologies to produce sound design, music, and recording services for anything imaginable.