Unfinished business: our engineer reworks a track he produced several years ago, and finds he'd left himself with plenty more to do!
This month, I want to take you through my recent mix of 'Strange Sensations', a track by the band Captain. I say 'recent' but I actually recorded the track as part of an album project I produced for the band way back in 2012. The album was mixed by legendary producer Steve Osborne (Elbow, Gregory Porter, New Order, Happy Mondays, U2...) but was only released last year, under some sad circumstances (see the 'Featured This Month' box). Along with a couple of other tracks from those sessions, 'Strange Sensations' didn't make its way onto the final album release, though, and the band decided they'd like to develop this material as 'extra content' for their fans — similar to what we might have thought of as B-sides a few years ago — as they work towards another new album early next year.
I'd enjoyed working on this song and had been a little disappointed when it didn't make the album, so when the band initially asked me if I could work on it again, I was obviously very happy to do so. But I was also a little worried about the prospect of getting the original Ableton Live project up and running. Several years had passed since I worked on the album, and I was already a couple of computers down the line. I'd changed DAWs in that time as well, and remembered that we'd used a number of software synths that I've not used for years, along with programmed drum parts and audio that had been recorded to several different locations! Thankfully, while the main Ableton session resembled the Swiss cheese I'd suspected it would, I'd had the foresight to archive the whole session for possible re-mixing at a later date. Not only had I consolidated all the audio parts, but I'd also bounced all the soft‑synth parts down to audio and, to my pleasant surprise, they were even nicely labelled, with a few helpful descriptive notes! This was a valuable...
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