the main joy of having your own recording space is what you can have on hand to use at a moment's notice. the new album has a broader palette of sounds than before because more of it was worked on in the rehearsal studio, which also has a recording setup.
previous dream into dust albums were mainly recorded in my home studio, "elsewhere" (shown above). it was originally my intent to just do a few overdubs with other musicians in the rehearsal space and return home to finish them off. but once the album got into the group environment, it increased in scope. for one thing, we had the ability to record live as a band to separate tracks, a technique most obviously put to use on the new album's 5 instrumental pieces.
the studio began as rehearsal space for bryin dall's old band, loretta's doll, and morphed to include a recording component and easy-acces playground of bizarre instruments. over the years, it's been the center of activity for 4th sign of the apocalypse, a murder of angels, and our soundtrack work for the ballad of genesis and lady jaye, among many others.
bryin's collection of analog synthesizers easily made their way into the sound of the new album. i've always loved them, but used to prefer sample manipulation to synthesis as a basic building block. not anymore. i got to use the roland SH-101 and jupiter-8, sequential circuits pro-one, and ended up buying my own juno-106(though technically a digital synth, it has analog filters that fatten the sound). bryin played his ionic performer, cat and kitten.
the other great thing about using a studio is being able to be loud whenever you want. this comes into play when using electric guitars and amps, which happened a lot more on this album than before. there were at least two different tube amps used (vox and selmer), several different distortion and chorus pedals, and i've lost count of the number of different guitars and basses that ended up on the songs. whatever sound was in my head, or if i was at a loss, i could look around and pick an instrument that might hold the answer.
of course, some of this cornucopia of choices turned out to be discarded, but being able to pursue an idea to its conclusion was great. it was also time-consuming, but in the end i think it was worth it for the range of sounds we were able to capture on the album.
to hear pieces of about 5 of the 55 miniutes that make up the new album, see the trailer video, and pre-order so beautiful and so dangerous until march 29th using paypal here.
audio mastering is one of those stages of releasing recorded music most people aren't aware of. it's always been an important stage, but even moreso with the increasing use of recordings done on home equipment, or anything not involving a knowledgeable audio engineer.
with the advent of affordable recording technology came a lot of musicians (such as us) getting creative on their own time instead of paying by the hour. but that savings can come at the cost of sound quality. untrained people operating lower-end gear has created great artistic results, but also some sonic problems.
the making of this dream into dust album has been no exception to that. it's been an incredible learning experience, but also a long and difficult one. even once a song is mixed down, it may turn out to have sounds lurking that cause problems on some sound systems. these could be things meant to be heard that end up too prominent or disappear, or unheard artifacts that keep the music from sounding louder, or even damage the speakers.
generally, the job of a mastering engineer is to take a final mix, keep its overall original sound, but accentuate or de-emphasize certain frequencies to bring out the best in the track. for an album, the other goal is to make sure all the tracks sound somewhat similar in terms of volume and tone.
adrian morgan is an independent mastering engineer with his own studio, timeless mastering. he formerly worked at sterling sound (one of the biggest and best mastering houses in the US). he uses both analog and digital gear, like we did when making the album. while working in digital offers sonic clarity and the ability to save your work in progress, analog brings warmth and depth to sound.
this additional step makes a world of difference. there were supportive friends saying the album sounded so good it didn't need mastering. but the fact is, recordings get heard in context with other recordings, not just the hermetic environment of a song or even an album. mastering helps bring the volume and tone to a point of reasonable comparison. it's an added expense, but totally worth it.
to hear the final results in their entirety, see the trailer video and pre-order so beautiful and so dangerous until march 29th using paypal here.