Feb update

Sporadic blogging, as ever… Not through lack of good stuff to write about, but through a lack of time and it not being on my list of things to do.

So, I finished mixing an EP by the Daydream Club. That was a real treat…… Adam from the band is quite the organised creative! : excellent to mix as everything was so well recorded and edited , it felt very much like old fashioned mixing where you’re not spending time tuning and cleaning up timing , you’re just balancing.
The mix head I had on was very much about balance and light compression/dynamic control…..kind of a 70s feel. I used the newish Waves tape simulator a fair few times…. Sounded especially good on the drum buss, fact fans.
Lots of tweaks later via email lists , the 5 tracks were completed and they’ve gone to U2’s mastering engineer … Really can’t wait for that result. The EP should take the band a long way….. Ace songs and brilliant arrangements, and lovely people.

Studio: desks now in place. Blanking plate sprayed… I went through 3 different greys… still cant get one the same grey as the other channels but it looks good as is.

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Holds my Macbook, control interface and MIDI keyboard, with space to spare. Wired everything up last night…. Now need to label and test it all and have a big tidy up! Had to adapt layout of studio to get patch bays in…. Space is at a premium already!

Other news, I went to the Apple trainers conference. It’s been in Barcelona, Paris , Munich, Media City before… This one was in London….. I love going to this as its a great chance to talk to others from all round the world about problems they all face… And I learn loads. Highlight (other than the free bar!) was a Logic geek Toby Pitman ….. Dead interesting : he was on the music team for the closing ceremony for the Olympics ( with David Arnold) … Went through some advanced Logic stuff and told us what happened with Paul McCartneys fluffed intro!

The ‘big project’ is trickling along nicely… 6 months off to get into it would nice…..

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Grim up North

I studied at the School of Sound in Manchester after my A Levels and loved living in the city some of my favourite bands were from.. I remember queuing up to meet Moz at a HMV signing.. 8 hours.. god bless me.

Anyhow, after leaving Manchester in the mid 90s I didn’t return til I played at In The City  in , I think, 2001.. Maximo Park were the success story of that year, and we….. weren’t (tho the NME reviewed us as ‘ a pleasing set’ , whatever that means). So for a decade I haven’t ended up back there, then like waiting for a bus, I ended up there twice in a week.

Monday, I went to see the rescheduled Lykke Li show at the Academy 2. She was pretty ace: I mean, what a foxy sultry lovely, but beyond that, her voice was amazing and the band were equally groovy.. all Phil Spectre-ey.

Then yesterday was the Apple Trainers conference at the Media City in Salford: purpose built rehousing of ITV and BBC and a load of other Media stuff. Best in the world apparently.

As usual, the best thing about the conference was the people: both employees of Apple and other trainers and centre managers…. they all just tickle your brain into thinking about stuff you wouldn’t normally have done: super clever. There were some professors for Salford Uni (also in Media City) and BBC bods….. amazing insights.

They really look after you: astoundingly well: the food was unbelievable and the wine wasn’t your usual fiver a bottle stuff, I can tell you! Last night’s dinner was in the Imperial War Museum : Apple hired the whole place out so we had the run of the venue… like a private tour.Very surreal.

Will post some thoughts form the chats I had soon.

When I go away for a couple of days, it’s a rare chance to listed to albums all the way through.. very very unusual but missed. I downloaded Florence and the Machine’s new one.. I liked the first but got sick of the sight of her. This new one’s pretty much the same as ‘Lungs’ : great production (Paul Epworth I think) and the mix is good too: lots of massive sounds each with a place: hard to do. Pretty much came away with the same impression : one trick pony…. but theres a couple of non formula ones. I  think she’s around to stay for a while.

Now, I feel very embarrassed to say I have never ever listened to ‘Loveless’ by My Bloody Valentine ever. And I call myself a producer! Actually loved it… one of the weirdest mixes ever.

Noel Gallaghers album… gave it a spin: I love hearing Noel interviewed: clever Northern wit.. and I like his voice. Piss poor lyrics and plodding music… no departure for him. Shame. I’ll stick to listening to him speak.

So, back to base, and I arrived to a couple of emails of lists of tweaks to mixes: nothing major, just a few re-balances here and there, so that’s this weekend.

I’ll leave you with this. Gorgeous.

Oh John you’ll never be a man……

Apples

Hard to imagine a life without my Apple stuff….totally changed my work to the extent where making music from home became a reality…. so, life changing, really.

May you Rest In Peace, Steve Jobs

Free workshops

I’ve been helping organise some free workshops on saturday at the old Phoenix in Leicester. To say we’ve done it within a month, the line up is pretty amazing….. please do spread the word. My Logic class is full, but some others aren’t. Bands out there really should look at the Guerilla Guide at 2, the Soundcloud one at 3 and the Martyn Ware one at 4.

Click here for details

 

14th – 15th Oct . Lost in Munich

.. excuse the pun, but when I arrived in Munich, I was…lost! Took a bus, but got off at the wrong stop. Following what I thought was common sense, I was convinced I was going the right way. I wasn’t, but the up side was I saw lots of Munich. I was blown away by the buildings.


… eventually getting to the hotel, Munich Park Hilton, right by the beautiful English Garden I had an hour to kill before the first Apple training event. So..I went for a bite to eat, and, like Paris last year was amazed at the lack of veggie options. My god they love meat.

I don’t.

I knew I should have packed Pringles.

The first couple of workshops were amazing: they were very Final Cut Pro orientated but dead interesting. A guy from Apple called Alex talked through the use of Macs at the World cup: all coverage was edited on a Mac using FCP. And the fact that FCP, like it’s audio counterpart, Logic is affordable to all, you get an idea of the power in all of our hands.

Next up was a session on Soundtrack Pro: nice to feel relatively smug compared to the video guys here.. ! Still, as ever at these things, I learned lots.

The evening… a trip to a Sea Food restaurant which turned out to be a meat and fish place. Truly disgusting food unless you eat meat or fish. I literally ended up having two pieces of bread: those were foul, too, and I had to brush sat from them.

Still, the free booze made up for it……….. a lot of red wine.A lot of those massive glasses of beer. Champagne. White wine. Spirits. Ouch. Importantly, nice conversation. Met a FCP freelancer whose son works for Warp records. Lots of other nice people too.

Day 2. Hungover, trudged through the day with workshops which were useful… again, the best part was chatting to others and seeing how they  tackle education.

Nice to get a name check for the App I co wrote with a couple of others for Logic revision.

Yawning, the flight home was delayed… co pilot was in Geneva. ! Still, got home at 2.15.

Just what the doctor ordered for two days.

Now, back to work….

Shortwave fade track.. at the mo called ‘Piano Song’ : I spent a couple of hours mixing until I realised how tired my ears were, so stopped. Requested some of the synths as MIDI files for more control, and the audio synth tracks have loads of effects on some, so have asked for those raw. Emailed the track as it stands to the band, but did a second mix with 909 drums.. just because… well at the moment the band are drummerless so it felt right to prod a little in that direction, just to see.

 

10th oct 2010. 2 albums put to bed and pastures new

Both Kafkadiva and Jamie Says albums are finished (bar the checking of the CDs by bands themselves) so it seemed like a good time start the next stage of plate spinning and something I’ve wanted to do for years. Last night I sent a handful of emails out to people along the years I’ve worked with who I’d like to contribute to my new and very long term project: a music for media company. Meaning to do it for a very long time. I’ve been doing some background reading on it for a while but nothing more. Unless I started getting people involved and relying on me handling their music , I could see it being another 5 years of silence. So, although theres a way to go, my intentions are focussed. Phew.

Other news: the We Are Altered album is waiting to be duplicated, but til we get know whether a track (called “we’re at our height”) is going to be used for  publisher we can’t finalise the tracks. Ironically one of the reasons for doing the WAA project with John R was to use the material for media, too.. but Lift (our publisher) didn’t want to use stuff that was being commercially released, so that was that planned fucked! Still, it doesn’t matter as the album sounds great and there was so much more to it than just the media aspect…. a real learning curve, and on it goes.

This week: Got Uber tech pioneers Roland coming in to show off at the day job tomorrow, a Jamie Says remix to start, WAA remix to master, and another Shortwave Fade track to mix. Not all of this will happen as I’ve got a short week.

One of the perks (the only?)of the day job is that I get to go to the Apple Training conference in a city in europe. Last two years I’ve been to Barcelona and Paris. This year it’s Munich. Never been. Very excited, and a real treat to end the first and one of the most stressful times of the year for me. So that’s thursday and friday this week…..

29th Sept tweaks tweaks. I-Phone Logic App

FInal (I said that last night) tweaks pre mastering of Kafkadiva mixies.

The I Phone app I co wrote Logic Studio questions for was released. Wrong overview.. I don’t train for Amsys, but am seeing about getting that text changed to be , well, correct! Will post a link properly once the text is correct. Proud as punch to have been involved tho. The other two are Logic experts.. Mike Watkinson writes the Apple notes for Sound on Sound. A bit better than me, then.