Project Work: Studio Session Six – 24/11/14

On arrival at the studio, Ananda announced that she’d discovered a couple of problems with two aspects of the material we’d recorded so far. We had a quick meeting in the control room to discuss this before we started recording. The first issue was with the two chorus recordings we’d taken in the previous studio session (both electric guitar, the first with the Zakk Wylde amp setting and the second with the Metallica distortion setting). When we’d recorded the riff with the Metallica setting, Jordan had played the riff just a fraction longer than with the other amp setting. When it came to mixing we all planned to pan one guitar hard left and one hard right to further the stereo illusion of the two guitars playing together on stage. So because of one track being slightly longer, when we listened to them panned the way we were planning to pan them, the listener’s ear was pulled to the right (for example) at the end of every bar. We all agreed that we needed to fix this so priority number one for the day was to rerecord the chorus riff with one of the amp settings so it matched the others time, solving the ‘ear-pulling’ problem. The second issue was with the acoustic guitar recordings we’d done for the James Blunt song. Ananda noticed when she was editing the tracks using her mixing headphones that there was a harmonic buzz happening throughout the song. When she played it back to Jordan and I we didn’t really think it would be a problem as it just sounded like the harmonics of the guitar but we agreed that when we got the chance we’d ask one of the facilitators to have a listen and suggest a few methods by which we could get rid of the buzz. So as well as those two problems, on the agenda for the day there was recording the guitar ‘licks’ and/or solos for the ‘man anthem’.

The first task was to rerecord the first problem (with the electric guitar chorus riff using the two different amp settings). We successfully recorded quite a few good takes using ‘loop record’ in Pro Tools. I hadn’t really used this Pro Tools function before but I found it simple, straight forward and very effective for what we wanted to achieve.

photo 4Once we’d finished with that we moved onto recording the ‘licks’/solo for the chorus using a non specific amp setting Jordan likes to use (We’ll call it Jordan’s setting). We successfully recorded three different chorus solos by setting up sixteen bars of the chorus riff (as we predicted that’s how long our solo would go for) and setting up playlists along the way.

We then moved onto recording licks for the verse. We found a big problem with the verse riffs we recorded last time. We couldn’t find any takes that fit comfortably into the four bars (though when we recorded them in the previous studio session we thought we had). For the purpose of having to edit the tracks later the decision was made to rerecord an altered riff (to fit four bars). Jordan and his musical mate Tom, who’d popped in for a while, worked together to work out a riff that fit the four bars and still sounded good/catchy. After much deliberation they came up with the wonderful solution of recording licks to fill in the empty space left at the end of the four bars where the riff hadn’t filled. This worked well and practice and even better when it came to recording.

Towards the end of our studio session facilitator Dylan came into the control room to check out the problem Ananda had raised with the acoustic guitar recordings of the James Blunt song. His comments were along the lines of ‘the guitar is making that sound along with the room it was recorded in. You can use wider EQ with shallower scoop to Bring down the whole mid range octave. Compression might even it up a bit but could make everything too loud and bad. It doesn’t sound hideous and bad though so it’s not that big of a problem. The fact that it changes with the chords means that it’s musical, not a random frequency playing against the music’. (Please note that this is not EXACTLY what Dylan said. These are my words. Hopefully they make sense).

After our studio session we had lunch as a group and discussed the plan for our next recording session. We agreed that we should aim to record the ukulele and percussive shaker for the James Blunt song, record and intro and bridge for the ‘man anthem’ and then listen to everything that we have so we can better gauge where we’re at in the progress of our group project.

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