Saturday, 18 January 2014

Studio musings...

I promised myself that I wasn't going to blog anything yet.. But I'm bursting to tell you how excited I am about the CD.
We spent last night (17/01/14) Mixing again at Tremolo Studios. Going through each song, tweaking things like reverb and volume levels and generally scrutinising it to find any slight blips that can be ironed out (or erased).. It really is something watching Dan work, he listens intently with a very fine tuned ear if you suggest "this doesn't sound right".. .or"There's an extra note there"... and will swiftly, like a bird of prey swoop into the mix and pull it out and work his magic. With a light touch he tweaks levels..and we discussed amongst ourselves as to whether we (by that I mean Graeme and myself), find it suitable. "No, needs little less reverb".. "Oh now the volume needs dropping".. "No, that's too much, you can't hear the.... (insert whatever can't be heard)". So we discussed, decided and now have a load of tracks to listen to again, to see if we've managed to iron out the wrinkles.

One song, we really thought we would have to spend all night on, re-recording vocals and adding flourishes and.. well, pretty much everything too, was listened to in isolation. The recording booth was set up for the vocals, Dan played the first few bars... and... "Hold on, do you want to come and listen to this in here first?".. The words came through my headphones from Dan. "Yeah, its sounding OK to me".. I uttered as I slid off the headphones and sloped back into the control room. We listened to the whole song, there were gorgeously presented vocal lines with lovely harmonies where I was expecting some snot fueled gobbledegook. I was certain I'd had the sniffles when I'd recorded the vocal lines.. yet, hearing it last night, I realised that it didn't need doing.. It was perfect just the way it was... How very strange. So as to make full use of the time we set to adding in the rest of the instrumentation. Building it up from the bottom.. "It needs something, its too.. samey" suggested Graeme, "Maybe remove the guitars and bass from the start"... Suddenly it was taking shape.. half way through I suggested "Tympani"... Dan set to work adding in some Tympani (I know, I know... using digitised sounds.. But it was all played in, as if we'd had real Tympani... Just without the struggle of getting a set from somewhere and struggling to get it into the studio!).. "Put some more of the oboe here".. "Yeah, now drop the bass in".. The song was taking on its own life, as each of them do. "I'm going to do this effect".. "I don't think it'll work".. a stalemate.."Trust me, its going to sound great".. "Hmm, not sure"... levels were balanced and yes.. I could see what was happening.

I'm not going to name any of the tracks and what we've worked on now, because I want to wait until the final versions are ready. Some people will love it, some people will no doubt hate it.. But you know, it doesn't matter, because its the work of everyone who is a part of it, in whatever way. How I look at it, you can go into the studio and record the songs as they're played, and that works for many bands and many people and I think they're brilliant. Then there are some songs that come to life and come into their own when they have studio production and extra instruments can be added, they become more than what they start out as and develop little lives of their own. With different producers, you get different sounds. With different musicians you get different music. I'm not saying every song has to have heaps of production, some stay simple, but when you have the toolbox of a studio at your disposal, why not pull out a few toys and have a play with the sound, its how albums like Seargent Pepper developed. I'm not suggesting we're anything like the Beatles, cos we're not, but that the toys are there to be played with, if you like, there's no pressure to use them, but its nice to know they're there.

Right, better get listening to the rushes.. and see what it all sounds like now.
Hopefully its sounding good.

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