Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Back on the Recording Trail

I'm feeling a little more relieved after the weekend.

On Saturday, Jeremy and I hooked up to play our way through the entire piano/conga structure of Bembé. It had been a long time since we had worked together in such a manner. The refreshing change must have been welcome because the section transitions and variations that emerged were truly inspired. There will be a few more of these between us before the song will be ready to present to our fellow band members at practice. I'd really like to debut it at our gig on October the 13th.

Then on Sunday, the recording of timbales began for real. Again, the break (this time of three weeks) may have done a lot of good. Dan, having thought about the previous attempt, decided against using the Beta 98s on the skins, instead opting for the SM57s I'd recently acquired. We used the sE Titan on the bells and the Beta 91 on the reverse of the cymbal, and the results were improved by miles. The bells went through the Focusrite Liquid Channel, and the rest needed very little EQ and no compression nor gating - always a good sign that the right mics are in the right places.

A massive thumbs-up to Bobby at Music Technology for the sE Titan recommendation; it has a more hard-core sound than the Neumann TLM-103.

This spate of sessions is to record the Ride patterns which I mentioned in an earlier post. Nathan agrees that recording in this way is much more relaxed, and we managed to chew through four songs. The surprising thing to me was how quickly it happened; I was dreading the amount that had to be done for En la sangre but it didn't turn out to be that onerous in the end. Maybe it's because I wan't the one playing this time, or maybe Nathan and Dan made it look easy. I am glad though, that I'd spent the time listening to the guides and sketching out some arrangement which gave us a loose basis from which we could work from.

Although the session was very much target driven, there was plenty of room for the creative process; indeed, I think that the clear goals helped stimulate an understanding and focus that catalysed the creativity we experienced that day. There are still four or five more songs to do before we pack down for practice; we were hoping to do some last night, but the record-breaking rainfall and resulting floods in Sheffield conspired to delay Dan on his way home from work for six hours.

Elements permitting, we'll resume tonight and perhaps tomorrow, with a mind on finishing the rides as planned before our twice-weekly practice sessions. This would be ideal, as we'd like to start recording the solos on Sunday and have them done before Dan's holiday trip.

Btw, Bembé's gonna rock!

Loo Yen Yeo

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