4 May 2016

New Album from Birte Paulsen - 'Borrowed Time'

Over the past few weeks I have been mixing an album of new music by an excellent artist Birte Paulsen. It has just come back from the mastering studio - Loud Mastering - where Jason did us proud once again with his careful and sensitive handling of the tracks) and its sounding great! (although I would say that wouldn't I!?).

My brother and long time musical collaborator Alfie Weedon has been playing bass on, and recording/arranging the whole album and he and Birte have done an amazing job sending me music that is both a pleasure to mix and also challenging and interesting in just the right ways. I have also been allowed to chuck loads of violins on it purely for my own gratification and have been asked frequently by Birte and Alfie "could you turn the violins down a little bit?".

Happily I am able to share the tracks here on The Sound Tailor site and I hope you will all have a good listen. Let me know your thoughts about the music and/or production!

12 Jul 2014

New Video for New Album!

Here is the culmination of a recent project producing the new Ben & Alfie album "Adrift" and this is the second track "Train of Thought". The video is mostly taken in Britol Temple-meads and Leeds stations and on the train between Harrogate and Taunton (a well spent journey to a gig and back!). It is filmed on a Lumix fz100 which has served me pretty well though its low light capability is not great in film mode. It was all put together by myself and my girlfriend Kelsi in FCP X which probably isn't as sophisticated as the old 7 yet but it is certainly a lot easier to use and with a bit of investigation and willingness to learn the 3rd Ben & Alfie music video is at large on the internet.

"Adrift" is available from the Ben & Alfie Bandcamp as a digital download or from the Paddywack Records store for a real CD. Bandcamp has the advantage over iTunes in my opinion in that you can download CD quality files and you can listen to the full album! So do go and take a gander as it really is free to listen to the whole thing.


Since January this year my brother (Alfie) and I have been putting together a new album. We have had some songs for a few months that have needed recording anyway but the album is mostly made up of new material which we are very excited to be releasing so quickly!

"Arift" has presented, just as our last album (No Measure) did, some interesting challenges regarding production. Most of the album is 5-string Violin (that's a normal violin plus a C string on below the G), Double Bass and Vocals but their are some extra's in their like the Balafon (a Ghanaian sort of xylophone) and the Shaky Egg and of course Alfie's "Trumpet". I think it is fair to say a significant reason I prefer the sound of Adrift to No Measure is simply down to the sound card we used. No measure was recorded on a M-Audio Profire interface which is very accurate but to my ear lacked warmth and didn't do the acoustic Violin and Bass justice. Adrift however, was recorded on a tiny Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 and it has produced the most wonderful warmth for the Bass and provides the Violin with clarity but not scratchiness. The vocals also benefited from the new interface but the improvement was most marked by the Fiddle and Bass.

One of the main difficulties when dealing with the Double Bass is how to go about giving it clarity with out making it to clicky. This is mostly a problem for Alfie because he includes so many percussive patterns in his bass parts. Your friend here (when the click is too strong) is a de-esser. It is traditionally of course a vocal plugin but basically it acts as a tough and quick compressor for any harsh slaps. As with any compression (especially banded compressors like the C4) you have to be careful and not too heavy handed but a de-esser can be used to excellent effect and is very useful at reducing buzzing too. I actually very occasionally use this for the fiddle as well, to reduce the problem of harsh E-string sounds but that has been much less of an issue with the Focusrite preamps.

Why not just use EQ for softening high frequencies?
Well basically when you knock off your the high end of an instrument it loses its clarity and space and I like to hear space in my mix. The De-esser allows those high frequencies through for the most part but subdues them only the moment they become too much.

My other tools for this album have remained pretty much the same. Everything was recorded using an AKG C414 mic and at the other end, good old Logic; the only difference their being a move from Logic 9 to (bit predictable) Logic X. While I have heard vague rumours from friends that Logic X "sounds better", initial tests didn't really turn up anything conclusive for me. That being said I do prefer it and I don't feel it has suffered as the forum pessimists predicted and it is certainly not a "Garageband Pro".

I hope I will find time to release a more detailed discussion of the recording process here but in the mean time please have a listen and comment!

You can also download the album and listen in full on the Ben & Alfie Bandcamp page.


27 Sep 2013

Attenborough Project Background and some Music!

New piece today is on its way to completion. I will be writing a series of pieces for Sir David Attenborough and this is the first or at least some preliminary work for the project. Please do have a listen it needs a little tweaking here and there in the mix but it is getting there.

The project is inspired by a childhood fascination really - I sent a letter to Sir David when I was about four years old, all about ammonites, and received a very very kind reply with a beautiful Orchid flower on the stamp. It was only afterwards that I discovered my own Dad and Grandfather (Mums side and entirely coincidental - I can tell you are impressed) had also both written to and received replies from Sir David!

Needless to say that if nothing else it made a reasonable dinner time anecdote but at four years old you are very impressionable and he impressed me hugely; enough to make me a keen listener and watcher of his programs on radio and television until the present day and ask for his biography for my 10th birthday.

But all good things do come to an end (or at least that is what we are told) and the other day I heard him on the Today Program and was reminded, as the interviewer questioned him persistently on his feelings about euthanasia, that even Sir David Attenborough is not the immortal figure I have always considered him. And so it was decided - I would compose something, some brilliant piece of music (this is how I imagine it you see) specially for him. I will create it and send it to him because though his work, programs, research and his immense generosity and wisdom will live on for many years to come I would dearly like it if I could give something back for him to enjoy as I have enjoyed his creations. That, I think, would be very special indeed.

14 May 2013

27 Years - No Measure

This is a song I produced late 2012 for an album by Ben & Alfie - "No Measure"
This video was created April 2013 and you can find information and background story for the song 27 Years here.

No Measure - Ben & Alfie