A nice pair…
Many of my favourite recordings were realised with just a single stereo pair of microphones. If one has an acoustic appropriate to the music being performed, this low-key setup is almost always all that is required. (And even in multi-mic recordings it is the humble main pair which tends account for 90% of the mix.)
While such an approach is not always possible—or even desirable—given the right set of circumstances, the results can be astonishing. Have a listen to the playlist below. Everything you hear there I recorded direct to 2-track recorder with only a single stereo pair. When the minimal approach works, it really works.psappha-mackey-microconiv.mp3amanda-thesoundsofrain.mp3philharmonia-scotland.mp3konrad-4040test.mp3owduo-rikyu.mp3albaquartet.mp3euan-loch-lomond.mp3suppertime.mp3
In essence, there's little more to it than finding just the right spot to place the performer(s) and then just the right spot to place the mics. You know you've found it when suddenly everything converges: the tone of the instrument/ensemble is right, the stereo image is strong, and the balance of direct-to-reverberant sound is conducive to the repertoire. Sounds easy, but it's rarely a task without a certain degree of challenge.
Once the mics are set up, the session proper can begin. The format varies from situation to situation, performer to performer, but I generally favour a hands-off approach with all focus on cultivating a relaxed atmosphere and capturing a captivating performance. I try to keep takes long and not to get bogged down in too much patching, saving that for only the most difficult spots. I find that if a session gets too patchy, the music almost always suffers.
Of particular interest to the classical bods among you: I'm a fluent sight-reader and very comfortable working with scores during a session.TAGGED: recording, audiophilia, CVMODIFIED: 6th Jul 2021, 23:15
Graphic design: an introduction
I enjoy many aspects of graphic design and have well over a decade's worth of experience designing for both screen/web and printed media, from promotional flyers & posters, business stationery, to CDs, DVDs, brochures, and more. Read on for a little taster of what I can do…
Album cover design
If you were to analyse it, my love of graphic design would probably stem from a childhood obsession with album covers. Fitting, then, that the area of graphic design I have most experience in is album cover design.
One I'm particularly proud of is this for Jamie Akers' lute album. I was responsible for all aspects of the design: from photographing the front cover image, right through to sleeve layout, typography, and the CD onbody artwork itself.
Jamie's CD was one of the final releases on the record label I founded, Natural Studio Records, and by this point I feel the design language had matured into something really rather lovely.
Here's some more in a similar vein from the same label...
This next one dates back ten years, probably only the third or fourth album I did, but still a design I look on with fondness. No surprise to see ITC's Avant Garde Gothic because I was absolutely obsessed and probably would have used it for anything at that point. If I recall correctly, it was the first font I splashed out on and bought the entire family.
I have more than a passing interest in typography and can often be found oogling a curvy bowl or graceful ascender. It's no secret that typesetting and creating a pleasing page layout appeals to my obsessive nature.
While I do love designing for screen, a well designed font (such as František Štorm's Baskerville Original seen here) really comes alive in print.
I've also designed a few logotypes down the years; this latest one I'm particularly proud of...
(I think every type-nerd eventually succumbs and tries their hand at creating a geometric sans. Clearly I was no exception.)
And still within the realm of typography, but of a different kind: an ongoing personal project is the design of a music font conducive to the setting of contemporary classical music. It's a work in progress, but things are starting to come together...
Adobe, look what you've done to me
You want to know how much time I spend embroiled in Adobe software? I sometimes lose touch of reality and think I can use the Spot Healing Tool to remove a blemish from a physical item in the real-world.
In all seriousness, though, I'll gladly endorse most of Adobe's software and am a full subscriber to Adobe's CC service. I'm particularly capable in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Acrobat. Not sure what I'd do without that software—probably experience the great outdoors a lot more.TAGGED: design, CV, freelancingMODIFIED: 6th Jul 2021, 23:15