As promised, a final summing up the recording of the ‘Tracker’ album. The past few weeks has seen the final mixes leadered up on the 1″ Ampex 2 track machine, boxed and Fed-Exed over the Atlantic to the prestigious Gateway Mastering facility and the capable hands and ears of Bob Ludwig. As we’ve done in the past, we’ve ‘mixed down’ to multiple formats and decided on which is the best sounding (for the song). The warmth, clarity and ‘punch’ of analog tape has yet to be bettered by any digital re-enactment. With advances in recording technology, manufacturers have come a long way in making plug-ins and digital utilities that please the ear, speed up the production process and help with sonic ‘touching-up’ but I can’t see there ever being any bona-fide substitute for the real thing, hence our extensive use of the CLASP tape system enabling us to record onto tape and subsequently our DAW. The benefits of both mediums are therefore enjoyed. As a matter of fact, for vinyl connoisseurs, this album has been cut DIRECTLY from our 1” tape masters in Los Angeles by world renowned mastering engineer, Bernie Grundman. We checked out the acetate a couple of days ago and it sounded sublime. The other thing that is relatively unusual with this record is the extremely minimal use of EQ, in software or hardware form. Unnecessary circuitry has been avoided at all costs and as a result I believe it is more ‘open’ sounding. We have been of the opinion that ‘if it doesn’t desperately need equalization, don’t apply it’ and because of extra time available, spent choosing microphone and mic amp combinations we’ve succeeded I think in recording things which need no ‘fixing in the mix’. As my dad always said, “if it sounds right, it IS right”.
For this, Mark’s eighth solo record, I’ve found myself engineering the whole album although I could not have done it without the combined skill and enthusiasm of the four British Grove in-house engineers who have been permanently on hand to assist Mark and I. My personal thanks to Joe Kearns, Jason Elliott, Andy Cook and Martin Hollis. Not forgetting David Stewart, our studio manager. Also, Glenn Saggers, Mark’s guitar tech without whom Mark’s guitars would not sound quite the same.
The tech team at British Grove L-R Graham Meek, Joe Shaw, Brian Gibson and Dave Harries.
Bottlenecks by diamondbottlenecks.com
Last week we spent a couple of days being filmed and interviewed by the super talented director Henrik Hansen. His films are quite stunning and his attention to details both sonically and visually have been both enlightening and inspiring. I have no doubt that the finished work will be quite special and give further insight into the making of this album.
The film can be viewed HERE
Pete Townshend in front of the camera in Studio 2
Legendary record producer (and fellow golf-nut) Glyn Johns was at British Grove last week launching the release of his amazing new book entitled ‘Sound Man’. GThere is no bigger endorsee of the analog process than Glyn who gave Tracker a big thumbs up. High praise indeed. Sound Man is a highly recommended read can be ordered here.
Our mastered audio files from Bob Ludwig have now been delivered and sequenced and we have an album, the vinyl has been cut by the prestigious Bernie Grundman in Los Angeles. Mastering engineer, Bob Ludwig’s complimentary comments about the quality of the album were most touching and the studio and staff should feel very proud to have been a part of the making of this album. Although its release is still a few months away (Maarch 10th 2015), when you give ‘Tracker’ its first spin, I hope you’ll enjoy listening to it as much as we’ve enjoyed making it.
With our European and US tour dates now announced, we hope to see you on the road sometime very soon!