That's it. The first mix of the first song of the album has just finished being uploaded to Digital Domain's site.
Three weeks ago I learned of a rare opportunity - there was going to be a gathering of the world's audio elite, respected audiophile and Grammy award-winning producers/engineers, in Rome to convocate a new broadcasting standard; one with the potential to change the way all music is produced and broadcast. Competition for places was always going to be keen, but a lightning spate of to-ing and fro-ing (plus maybe a wee bit of leverage with a UNESCO credential) committed me to a presence in the Eternal City.
Yet, there is more icing to this already jammy cake. It transpired that one of the speakers, Bob Katz, author of "Mastering Audio" and sonic guru at Digital Domain was conducting a full-day seminar the day before!
If anything, this was more important (if that's at all possible), since I'd earmarked Digital Domain as the likely Mastering house for 4 de Diciembre's CD, at a time even before Bob had been commissioned to re-Master much of Fania's back catalogue. It was the ideal chance to meet Mr.Katz beforehand; be taught audio mastering from a world authority; and, as a mix engineer, to learn what to do, and what not to do, so as to avoid painting a mastering engineer into a corner.
The unique selling point was modestly tucked away in the prose of the seminar programme. It simply said, "Bring your mixes for evaluation and to see how they might be mastered".
For me, this was the ultimate. If I were able to produce a final mix of any of the salsa band's songs, and if it was to be accepted for evaluation, I would have a chance to understand how the production could be improved before it faced mastering for real at Digital Domain. In other words, I could have two bites of the cherry. A most desirable thing.
But you have to be in it to win it, right?
Hence the relative silence of SalsaDiary. Ana's backing vocals and my congas were re-recorded for "Corazón Fugitivo", edited, mixed, re-mixed, and re-remixed. Since I'm also part of the Recording 2 Course currently underway at Red Tape Studios, I was able to evaluate the mix in an alternate professional environment.
I can honestly say that the mix I've just submitted to Bob is done to the absolute utmost of my ability. No excuses. That's crucial because any feedback Bob gives, any recommendations for improvement, will be completely novel. From one of the world's best. Learning can't get more pertinent than that.
For now, it's fingers crossed that "Corazón Fugitivo" will be among the chosen few. And not too long hence, I'll be leavin'..
...on a jet plane...
Yeo Loo Yen