Jack White chose eight AEA ribbon mics to debut his new album, “Lazaretto,” on the Conan showThursday night. Two R44CXs graced the vocals, a KU4 was positioned in front of the double bass, and four N22s were used for acoustic guitar, fiddle, ukulele and lap steel.
White performed “Temporary Ground” and “Alone in My Home” off his new record. Jack’s dark country aesthetic was ideal for the warm tone of the ribbons, which complemented his bluesy sound. The look of the AEA vintage microphones lent a nostalgic melancholy to the set, a somber parlor room imbued with Southern Gothic decadence.
The AEA R44CX is typically chosen by vocalists for its smooth bottom end and its articulate midrange, while the KU4 is often the mic of choice for bass players, as its supercardioid pattern focuses well on detail. The N22s are a perfect up-close mic, maintaining clarity and a sense of realism.
Jack White’s music has spanned a multitude of styles and sounds. In 1997 Jack formed The White Stripes, a garage punk rock band, which produced such hits as Seven Nation Army. Later, with The Raconteurs, his sound progressed to a more folk rock sound. With The Dead Weather, Jack returned to his punk rock roots with such songs as I Cut Like a Buffalo. Since departing from The Dead Weather, his solo work emanates an eclectic mix of styles with a country-folk undertone.
Jack White and Conan O’Brien have been friends for years, with White even honoring Conan by being his first musical guest on the TBS Conan Show. On Thursday, Jack shared much of his philosophy about being present and keeping things in perspective: he feels that cell phones get in the way of having a genuine experience. “No one’s in the moment,” he said, “Everyone’s documenting the moment.”
AEA ribbon mics may have documented these particular moments, but we, who make them, were all ears.