Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rogue Mixing

Spent the last five days in the Rogue Studios finally mixing the album I recorded last year. Its been sitting in the can for so long that I've forgotten what some of the tracks sound like... and, to be honest, the mix it had on it was so bad that when I'd listen to it I could hardly remember why I had been so excited about the sound during the recording sessions.

But the last five days hve literally wiped the grime off of the music and let me remember how it sounded live. There are about 12 drum tracks, 5 piano tracks, 5 bass tracks etc etc etc (the last engineer overmiked things a wee bit) and they sounded like sludge. Now each track has something to offer to the song. James loads the songs on the big screens and starts mixing on the huge console and they begin to take shape line by line. Its extraordinary to hear.

and the studio itself is an amazing creative space - the piano comes from the venerable jazz club The Montreal Bistro, and is the instrument that Oscar Petersen played his last live concert on.

JP is a comic fan and the studio is filled with characters and toys and fun and bizarre objects. We had a couple of afternoons where I wasn't sure that the files were going to make it off of the old mixes (which were done on a PC via a program called Cubase, and onto JP's Mac and his amazing mixing program called Logic) They kept arriving in pieces or so blurred that they weren't usable. So it was 'calming' to be able to turn around and be faced with this cheerful population of superheroes that fill every corner of the room.

and he worked miracles on a couple of tracks which I had given up on. The guitar recordings from the original work were crap. They were lifeless and characterless. Enter the 1964 Fender Vintage Amp. JP took the original tracks, plugged them through the amp and then rerecorded them with all the character that 44 years of music making can give to a piece of machinery... And now they sound pretty damn good.

There's two days left. Then I'll be able to see what I have and decide if any of them deserve another vocal retake. If so I hope I'll be able to sing it some time soon under the watchful eye of Marilyn peeking out from the shadows at the back of the studio.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The sleazier side: looking for a rehearsal studio in Toronto

Well that was weird... a day spent wandering through Toronto's sketchier side to see if I could find a studio space. In Vancouver and Montreal I managed to find loft/studio/rehearsal spaces where I worked and taught.

And in France I used the mezzanine of our huge barn.

But in Toronto Lisa and I are sharing a small one bedroom studio... so the larger physical work gets a little tricky...and those props, lights and gear can just make living a wee bit hard.... So, I've been wandering through the darker areas of Toronto looking for possible buildings... Through the Junction (maybe...), King St. East(yuck... too many junkies even for an artist looking for cheap studio space), Roncesvalles (already filled with fake lofts... where the various yuppie loft-dwellers are comfortable in the knowledge they have an 'artist lifestyle' without any actual smelly, messy, noisy artists)...

at least I'm getting a vast insight into the sketchier parts of Toronto's downtown... I guess if nothing comes up here then I'll be heading north and away from the central area...