George Chkiantz (born 1944), is an English recording engineer notable for his work with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Small Faces, and Led Zeppelin. He is credited with developing the use of 'phasing' in recordings, and extensively used in psychedelic music.
Based in London, Chkiantz studied engineering at the University of Surrey between 1962-1965, before starting work as a tape operator at Olympic Studios in Barnes. While working in the studio in 1966, Chkiantz experimented and developed a technique of playing the same recording on two synchronized tape recorders with the output of one machine out of phase, and then mixing the two output signals together, creating an audible 'swirling' or 'swooshing' effect, commonly called phasing or controlled flanging. As Jimi Hendrix's manager Chas Chandler later explained:
|‘||George Chkiantz was basically a tape op, and he was really into thinking up sounds. There was another young lad [Roger Mayer] and it ended up where he would turn up in the studio and he and George Chkiantz would sit huddled in the corner thinking up ideas about sound and how you could misuse the equipment ...||’|
While working on Hendrix's album Axis: Bold as Love (1967), Chkiantz suggested using phasing in stereo for the final seconds of the title track. Hendrix is reported to have exclaimed 'That’s the sound I’ve been hearing in my dreams!' Chkiantz later repeated the technique on 'Little Wing'. He also worked on the Small Faces album There Are but Four Small Faces during the same period as the Hendrix sessions, applying mono phasing on the recording 'Green Circles', followed by the first commercial use of it with their hit single 'Itchycoo Park', engineered by Glyn Johns, in 1967. Chkiantz was also employed as second engineer on the Beatles landmark recording All You Need Is Love on 14 June 1967. He assisted in a number of notable Rolling Stones recordings including 'We Love You', the albums Let It Bleed (1969) and It's Only Rock and Roll (1974). On 29 July 1968, he recorded Brian Jones' The Pipes of Pan at Joujouka on location in Morocco, later adding layered phasing effects and EQ on the recordings back at Olympic Studio. The idea was to imitate the trance-like procession of the dancers in aural form, set to the music, which Jones approved.
Chkiantz also closely worked with British rock groups Family, Man, Heavy Horses, Hawkwind, Fat Mattress, Chicken Shack, the Soft Machine, Ten Years After, and King Crimson. With Led Zeppelin, he was employed mostly in the capacity of a tape operator and assistant engineer on many of their releases including Led Zeppelin II (1969), Led Zeppelin IV (1971), Houses of the Holy (1973), and Physical Graffiti (1975). He was later responsible for recording their 1979 Knebworth Festival concerts with the Rolling Stones' mobile studio. Since the late 1980s, Chkiantz's workload has reduced and he only sporadically records select independent music artists.
- Sound Definitions: Flanging/Flanger. 3345.com.au. Retrieved on 20 April 2009.
- Axis: Bold as Love. Jimi Hendrix discography. Retrieved on 20 April 2009.
- Revereb, Phasing, History, & Memory. Swarthmore College. Retrieved on 20 April 2009.
- George Chkiantz. IUPUI. Retrieved on 20 April 2009.
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