On Saturday evening, I went over to Hardesh's studio in Bukit Damansara to work on the final mixes of the songs for the album. From about 5pm to 11:30am, we finetuned "Lightfalls", "Mother", "The Little Cat Song", "The Miracle", "Song For The Service Industry" and a bit on "A Shadow". (We had a little dinner break in between. There was also a storm threat, which prompted Hardesh to turn off his studio just in case of a power surge.) Hardesh did most of the work. I was a bit groggy from work and just said yes and no and maybe while listening to the songs on the studio monitors.
In case you're wondering what Hardesh's studio looks like, I took a few snaps with my handphone camera. This is the all important desk...
We tracked all the songs on that PC (except for the songs that Ariff Akhir produced; which were done at Ariff's home studio all the way in Bukit Antarabangsa! From one bukit
to another!). Hardesh used to have a studio over at FUSE but that was about two years back. He moved to his home studio a few months before we started recording. This view of his desk is from the comfy sofa I was sitting on. Over the past year, I usually sat on the sofa waiting for Hardesh to prep the sessions. The room is acoustically treated (for the non-techies that means the room's got sponges on the wall that soak up any noise from outside (well, sometimes some sounds do come through - it is a home studio after all); and also it kills off any natural reverb in the room so that the sounds that go into the microphone are dry as possible - that's really important because extra little hums and noises can really crap up a recording.
So... if you can imagine it... I recorded guitar and vocals in the same room. But when I need to record vocals, I usually stand up because I can breathe easier that way. Cannot be too lazy all the time right? Anyway, here's an obligatory shot of the studio floor...
So, yes, mixing is finally over... Hardesh worked his ass off for this... so if you guys and gals don't appreciate it, he's going to come after you and give you a piece of his mind... just kidding.
Here's a shot of the computer screen. The software that's opened is Nuendo. The window there is showing the progress of Nuendo "exporting audio" for "The Little Cat Song". It's basically rendering the file from lots of different files into one big ass .wav format file. 48kHz/24 bits is the resolution that's needed for the mastering process.
It is important during rendering that no one touches anything. Just wait for the thing to do its work. This is what we have computers for, right? No pesky human kacau
On the subject of technology and music, I know that it's nice when it's real people who are playing the instruments and whatnot. But I can't stand it when people say that music made with the aid of computers or samplers or synths is soulless. I've heard and seen guitarists wank on and on just as I've seen and heard digital manipulators do the same. To me, every sound is legitimate, no matter how it's produced. Even a guitar or piano is a kind of technology. Just because an instrument is acoustic doesn't mean it's fantastic. A guitar is only a guitar. It's the person who's playing who gives it voice. Same with computers. But this is a bit of an old story. Most musicians I know don't give a rat's ass about whether it's analog or digital. As long as it comes out the other end without too much hassle, it's usable... :-)
And... after producing all that saliva... I present to you...
... the CD loaded with the FINAL MIXES... Final as in Finito, no more tweaking, no more rearranging, no fussing about (in theory, anyway)... but it's final as far as I'm concerned... no more will Hardesh get little emails from me saying, "Hey, there's this little sharp tink-ing kind of beat that annoys me..." No sirree... no more of that crapping on... This here is the deal. Mixing is done!!!
I'm very happy, of course. And yes, as if it weren't enough that I've been listening to the songs for hundreds of times since we started recording, I've been listening to the final mixes too... I hope people will like it. It's my little audio baby.
Hardesh informed me via SMS today that the mixes will be going to the mastering guru CL Toh on Thursday.
Mastering is a very mysterious art that I'll blog about one of these days.
Anyway, the mastered version should be in by next Monday, which is when I'll be popping by the mastering studio with Hardesh for a listen.
It's going fast now... dear... and I still have so many stories to write for KLue... deadline week at the office again... sigh
In other news, it's confirmed that I shall be performing a little set at the Matahari Press triple book launch. I'm aiming to get the CD out for the event. But more updates on that and the gig in a coupla days.
Also, Shahril has finished the artwork and design for the CD cover! Yippee!
Labels: album, final mix, Hardesh, shahril nizam, studio, technology, update