By stepping back and taking stock, our engineer manages to rescue his own mix of guitars, bass and hurdy-gurdy for an Alt/Folk band!
The more I write about recording and mixing, the more I find myself discussing the project management side of things; when I look back at how a successful project came together, these issues often seem to me to have been at least as important as the technical and creative aspects. This month, I’ll explain how I navigated the mix stage of a project I’d been involved in from the start. Although I’d recorded most of it, the line-up of the band (an Alt/Folk act called ‘Allotment’) presented me with an unexpectedly challenging time when mixing.
Allotment comprise two acoustic guitars, bass guitar, lead and stacked-backing vocals and, intriguingly, a hurdy-gurdy. We’d recorded the project in a modular fashion over a number of months, with most members coming in separately to record their parts, and the main guitarist recording remotely and sending his parts in. Before we began recording, singer-songwriter Rob Hughes and I discussed having a simple aesthetic that would run through the recording and mixing. I liked the idea of doing most of the work while recording, and keeping options usefully restricted during a very short ‘mixing’ stage — record it well, get a good balance, maybe add some simple effects and it should be done! This seemed to work swimmingly for the most part, but when nearing the point of sending the band some finished mixes, I hit a bit of a wall — I’d done all I’d wanted to, but it just didn’t feel ‘finished’. Mixing-wise, a period of...
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