sen_no_ongaku: (mike)
(Fits the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth.)

About damn time. After about five months of playing spin-the-schedule, Colin, Terry ([ profile] wavyarms's dad), and I finally got into Rear Window to record my Three Sketches. It's in the basement of a multi-story house in Brookline, quite cheap, and with excellent equipment. The house engineer, Nate, was kind of a nutcase, twitchy and talky, like an addict without (I think) the drugs -- Colin was reminded of Brad Pitt's character from Twelve Monkeys -- but he was quite competent, and Colin was up in the control room keeping an eye on him[1].

As always, the first hour of the session was basically completely taken up by mike setup, EQ adjustment, tweaking inputs, etc., etc., leaving two hours for the actual recording. No problem.

We laid down our tracks, and all was good. I'm mildly concerned about how the piano sounded -- it was somewhat dead in the high register, so controlling the dynamics took some extra concentration; I had to remember to play different parts of the keyboard with different amounts of force to get the same volume, which is difficult to balance, and another way to screw up the recording. I think I managed.

I was also reminded that I have a knack for writing music that sounds easy but is really hard.

Colin and I will start the splicing process at the end of next week, and hopefully have a CD ready to be mastered by...the end of the year? Though, given how wildly incorrect my initial timeline for this project was, it may not actually come together until 2010.

(1) Some folks might not know how a recording studio is laid out -- the musicians are isolated in a heavily soundproofed room where they do their thing. The engineer(s) and producer hang out in the control room, which looks out through a soundproofed window (or two, or three, just in case) into the musicians' room.

What's sometimes disconcerting is that the musicians talk to the engineers through the mikes that are already set up and recording, while the engineers talk to the musicians by pushing a button on their mixing console and speak over monitors hidden in the studio. I'm not sure the strangeness of it is communicable without you being there.
sen_no_ongaku: (mike)
(Fits the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth.)

After over a year and a half since those initial sessions at Q Division, I've finally spliced together tracks for Arrhythmia, Duo, and Kae, with Colin's expertise yesterday. We still need to fine-tune EQ and reverb, but things are much closer to done.

It's really nice to have heard Duo for the first time. The cellists at K&U's wedding did an execrable job, and I didn't have much of an idea of what it sounded like until the Q Sessions -- during which I was spending more energy on correcting and adjusting than listening and enjoying. I am pleased; the first movement is lovely and elegant, the second bouncy, angular, and, I hope, fun. It occurs to me now -- I don't remember if this was intentional -- that in the first movement, one cello seems male, the other female. Hm.

Kae many of you heard at [ profile] cybersattva and [ profile] lauramd's wedding. Only well after the fact do I realize it owes a lot to Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time; or if I had that piece in mind, I'd since forgotten. It's really pretty.

We've decided to try to get a new batch of recordings for Three Sketches (for trumpet and piano), so we have more control over the sound; while the performance I have of it is excellent, the recording is lacking in some respects, and the piece has enough unusual aural effects that a more tailored miking profile would greatly help. [ profile] wavyarms's father has agreed to play the trumpet part, so we just need to find a time and a big, wet space. If the church in which [ profile] thomascantor premiered Transmigration works acoustically (and the piano is acceptable), I'm going to try to grab both pieces in one session, hopefully by mid-June.

Once the tracks are set and finalized, we need to contact the musicans again and get in writing that they're cool with our plans for this CD. I hope that will be nothing but boring.

So it looks like having a Master by March was...optimistic. But progress continues to be made.
sen_no_ongaku: (mike)
(Fits the First, Second, Third, and Fourth.)

I met with my saxophone quartet for the first time on Sunday night. They had been rehearsing Honey Glazed and going over it with their teacher -- oddly, enough, Ken Radnofsky -- but I figured it would be a good idea to meet with them before the actual session. They had little technical difficulty, but there were a few pointers I was able to give them in preparation for Tuesday.

Also, a couple of them said that they find themselves humming bits of it. Word.

I used the skills and resorces of Colin Owens, a friend of Surj's, who has built a cozy but servicable studio in the basement of his house. It's a far sight from Q Division, but far cheaper, and solid nevertheless. There were a few things that were a bit makeshift and ad hoc which made me a bit concerned, but everything turned out fine.

We got three takes of each movement, and a few chunks of places where they were a bit shaky. The 4tet members themselves were all pretty cool, and I think they had a good time. I may try to use them for an actual concert of my music someday.

I have all the takes on my iPod now, so I can listen to them whenever, weigh each take, and make notes on how I think they should be assembled. Early next year, Colin and I will actually get together to splice a satisfying recording together; and hopefully he'll be getting the tapes from Q Division soon as well, and going over those, which have Arrhythmia, Kae, and Duo.

I'm trying to figure out whether we can just use the live recording of Three Sketches, which would be much more convenient, but far less flexible. We'll see how Surj and Colin feel about it.

I think we can have a CD Master ready by March.




March 2015

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