“I did it in December, but it felt like it was May”

Yes! Finally!

In the first and last week of my recent vacation I spent more hours editing, arranging and mixing than the rest of 2014 all together.
This long overdue 3 week vacation , gave a large momentum to the long run project of VOID.
Ok, in a 10 day break of snorkeling in Bonaire I did not lose my Mojo. It is a joy to dive into the warm and crystal clear waters of the Carribean and the sounds of this great album. Maybe there was a prophecy in the lyrics of the song “Just Goodbye”, singing “I met her (did it) in December, but it felt like it was May” 🙂

The editing of virtually all audio takes proved to be a tedious job.
Removing every, click, tick, pop, crackle, humm, hiss, and other unwanted noises.
Fortunately some subtle breathing noises and musical overtones found their way back into the mixes again.

Then there was the editing of midi tracks.
It became painfuly clear that the “feel” of live drum ‘n bass instruments was not yet achieved.
Paul Coster provided the part of Lotte with a damn funky beat, played on the studio’s midi drumset.
I didn’t know what was in there Paul 🙂 Cudos to you!
The rest of the midi drumtracks where manually larded with snare and hi hat variations, ghost notes etc. etc. The midi bass also has an option of using variations like glides, mutes, vibrations and simply different samples to spice things up. I think where there now, Philippe 🙂

Then it was time to apply a thing called “Vari Audio”. What a great tool!
It is fixing timing, pitch and vibrato in most of the singing parts. But let me be very clear on this one… you basically need a minimum of an alright track but preferably a very good track. You can modify a track to a fantastic result, but you can’t cheat your way out of a bad singing performance. And that’s when I rediscovered the excellent quality of Philippe’s singing performance. He already recorded multiple takes on many songs with different interpretations of the melody, timing and dynamics. Peace of cake selecting the right ones 🙂

After all these enhancements, I had to revise the mixing approach.
Let me say the 93 part Youtube video series “5 minutes to a better mix” by Graham Cochrane changed my complete perspective on mixing and payed off big time. Thanks Graham!
In a few words, its all about (really!) balancing levels using very low levels,making the song musically progress, using just a few tools instead of losing yourself in all the options. Less is more in every way! When the mixing is done you use your master fader to bring everything up to the final level and/or use a master compressor/limiter to change the song dynamics in a utterly controlled way.

Ok. Some techno mumbo jumbo for all the Digital Audio Workstation users out there. The x major improvements in the mixes are achieved by:

  • compression on a dedicated drum subgroup
  • EQ on a dedicated band subgroup, leaving all solo parts out. This EQ is called “Final fatness and air”. It adds a bass foundation by doing the exact opposite, cutting off bass and it corrects the normal tendecy to add to much mid in every mix, also by removing it. Funny how your ears work 🙂
  • in the master section, adding a master limiter and a dynamic maximimizer to make your mix sparkle.

So far for now…
I think 2015 might be the year for the Void release.

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