Getting closer to the start of a new project. I’m not sure that I am ready yet. Yesterday I received the CD from one of my recent projects. And, in another week, I should receive a CD from another project. The artists of these two projects have both selected November 27th as the date to hold their CD release events. Very unfortunate for me as I can only attend one. My son and I were asked by one of the artists to play at his CD release concert. That pretty much rules out attending the other event.
I have been making some more changes to the studio during my break from recording. I upgraded the Mac G5 to OSX 10.3.5 from 10.3.4 and I am still in the process of upgrading Pro Tools to 6.7 from 6.4. There are times when I wish the whole process of upgrading was much simpler. When you take into account all of the time needed to backup the existing installation, download and install all the required updates, test the new installation, it really becomes an arduous task.
Here is a cover shot of one of the CDs:
Contemporary recording techniques allow us to add novel features to music. One of the more interesting techniques is physical reversal of sound or backward masking.
Likely the first purposely reversed vocal track came from The Beatles. When George Martin was recording the song Rain in April 1966 he wanted to add something to John Lennon’s vocal. He copied a segment of John’s vocal from the original four-track tape to another recorder. He reversed the sound and recorded it back to the original tape.
This link presents some interesting background on audio reversals. I remember the Beatles White Album. I listened to the announcer say “Number Nine” on the song Revolution 9. When I played the record backwards, I was sure that I heard the announcer say “Turn me on, dead man”.
I was looking at how The Edge tracks his guitars in the recording studio. You can find an interesting report on his technique here.
Lanois did some recording with Eno in 1979. Eno was asked to produce an album for U2 and recruited Lanois to coproduce. Based on that work Peter Gabriel asked Lanois to coproduce his soundtrack to the 1984 film Birdy. Gabriel and Lanois also shared production credits for So and Us. Lanois coproduced U2’s The Joshua Tree with Eno and acted as principle producer for 1991’s Achtung Baby.
And, to top it off, Lanois is a Canadian. I suspect he influenced much of the sound that we hear from U2.
There has been some interest in the opening chord of The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night. The chord was attributed to George Harrison and his Rickenbacker guitar, but how he played it has eluded Beatles fans and guitarists alike.
Dr Jason Brown, of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, came up with a way to break down the chord’s components by digitising it and using a mathematical equation.
He reached the conclusion that there must have been another instrument involved. He broke the chord down to show that Harrison played eight notes on his 12-string Rickenbacker.
Lennon is responsible for one note that probably came from a six-string guitar, while McCartney played one note on bass. George Martin, the man who produced the Beatles music, played five notes on piano.
Imagine, using effects when recording a guitar to create a bigger than life sound.
Apologies for the break from blogging. The past few months were incredibly busy. It is not too often that I see major projects cutting masters within a week of each other. I am looking forward to seeing the finished products and I hope the respective artists are pleased with the final results.
When I was at the Lacquer Channel I had the opportunity to preview a couple of tracks from Jorane’s newest CD titled The You And The Now. The CD is available at retail although a bit hard to find on the shelves of some retailers. Jorane was born in Quebec City. She sings and she plays cello. She has been very successful in Europe and the mastering engineer at the Lacquer Channel believes that she has sold over 5 million units worldwide. Neilsen Soundscan puts her CD at 54 on the top 100 seller list for the week of October 21st. I have purchased several of her CDs. A very unique and gifted artist with a signature sound that is both refreshing and haunting.
A pleasant relief from all the hard-edged music that gets produced these days. I found her newest CD at the Bay/Bloor HMV in Toronto. Highly recommended for discerning listeners.
I completed final mixes for a project that started last February. I will be heading out to the mastering house tomorrow. I have recommended a number of projects to the Lacquer Channel. George Graves has been doing mastering work in the Toronto area for what seems like forever. He has worked with a number of tier 1 acts including Bryan Adams, U2, Rush and Peter Gabriel. I think my first mastering session, back in the days of vinyl, was at Phase One Recording Studios. This would have been back almost 25 years ago. A lot has changed since then.
Mastering is the process of enhancing and assembling the individual songs of a recording project. The sequence of songs, the transition from song-to-song, the overall tone and dynamics of the project are mastered to create a balanced and professional presentation of the music. The mastering engineer will create the final media which is used by the manufacturing plant to replicate the recording.
A typical session will last one day although there are some projects which will take longer.
Given the hectic pace I am going to take a break for a few weeks. I have another project which my manager is setting up for November. I need to wind down a little bit and I have a few required maintenance activities to do in the studio.
Below is a picture of Lacquer Channel’s monitoring room:
I came across this data on the sound recording industry in Canada. The source is TCI Management Consultants and the data looks a little suspect to me. Recording studios in Canada employ 300 people? Seems very low.
The sound recording industry in Canada provided approximately 17,000 full-time jobs in 1998.
Independent Labels: 300
Major Labels: 1,200
Distributors & Retailers: 5,500
Performers, Composers, lyricists: 4,500
Concert Workers: 900
Other (managers, producers, misc.): 850
I came across this very interesting story on sampling. I do use samples in my work although they are legal samples. Typically the samples I use are drum hits which are usually less than two seconds anyway.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled on September 7th that an unauthorized two-second sample of a guitar solo constitutes copyright infringement under U.S. law. The court said that its decision creates a “new rule” in copyright law.
The two-second sample was taken from a song by Funkadelic. It was used in the song “100 Miles and Runnin” recorded by N.W.A. and included in the soundtrack of the 1998 film I Got the Hook Up. N.W.A. admitted to the sampling but had only sought a synch licence.
Bridgeport Music holds the copyright for the musical composition while Westbound Records holds the copyright for the sound recording. Bridgeport Music, Westbound Records and other parties filed lawsuits in May 2001 against 800 defendants, claiming 500 instances of copyright infringement arising from the unauthorized sampling. About half of those claims have either been dismissed or settled while the others are still pending.
In October 2002, a District Court in Nashville ruled that copyright infringement did not take place. Bridgeport and Westbound appealed that decision. The Sixth Circuit’s decision of September 7th found that the underlying musical composition had been licensed but the Funkadelic recording had been used without permission.
According to the Court, simply recording sounds onto a master recording renders those sounds original. Further, any sampling of sounds infringes the sound recording copyright. It is illegal to copy an entire sound recording without permission of the copyright owner but the Court decided that it is also illegal to sample less than the whole recording. If a producer is not able to obtain a licence to sample from a sound recording, either because the copyright holder refuses to issue a licence or demands too high a price, then the producer cannot legally sample from that recording. However, the court noted that U.S. copyright law allows a producer to record duplicate “sounds” with instruments in his own studio.