Experimental Sound Studio splashes to the surface to offer low cost services to indie filmmakers

The Experimental Sound Studio has been around for almost two decades, known mainly to avant garde artists, musicians and media arts organizations.

Now founder/engineer Lou Mallozzi is targeting ESS’ astonishingly low cost, sound post services to the indie film community. “It’s a natural extension for us,” he said.

ESS is basically a public access recording studio. “We also hold workshops, a residency program for artists and various other kinds of cultural projects,” Mallozzi said.

He was also modest when he breezed by “workshops.” In actuality, ESS holds 20 workshops a year on ProTools, mike technique, soundtrack mixing and design and multitrack recordings, attended by a wide range of people who want to hone their chops in the sound area.

Non-profit ESS has 200 members at a $35 annual membership fee, who pay $40 an hour for sound services.

Rates are low because “we wanted to keep the facility as widely available to as many people as possible,” said Mallozzi. He noted that foundations give ESS “some very good support.”

ESS is presently lodged in 1,500-sq. ft. temporary quarters at 406 N. Aberdeen. In October it will move to its own 3,500 sq. ft. building at 5925 N. Ravenswood.

The new facility will have two studios, one for live multi-track recording, one for mixing and mastering, both with isolation booths and ProTools systems. There will also be a 400-sq. ft. multi-use space for rent for screenings, workshops and other cultural activities.

Studio manager Jacob Ross is the staff engineer, augmented by the freelance engineering services of Pete Wenger and others.

Mallozzi, an arts educator with a background in visual arts and “lots of experience in the media arts,” formed ESS in 1986 with four artists and one administrator (only Mallozzi remains) at a time when no arts organizations served experimental musicians and only one or two media arts organizations existed.

ESS is not just a production facility, Mallozzi stated. “It’s a different kind of environment; its consciousness is directed towards artists and independent producers.”

Experimental Sound Studios’ phone is 312/850-9362. See www.ExSoSt.org.