Alex Fiennes

Today was very pleasing because I finally felt that I had a good feeling of the flow of information to and from the players and my hard disk and the processing and had a much better idea as to how to route things efficiently on the Metric Halo.

This meant that I was able to concentrate much more on the what as opposed to the how which made me much more relaxed during the day because I was quite confident that the there was probably less hidden gotchas waiting to jump out at me, leading to a much calmer headspace.

It is also of course possible that the rather beautiful spaces scored by Marc contributed towards this sense of inner peace...

I think that the end result of our rough mix for the day is pretty close to what is intended for the piece and I'm very pleased with it.

There were points before the project when I was unsure about the approach of using electric bass with the trio of starfish electric instruments just as it is such a far removed instrument, both in terms of timbre and attack regardless as to whether things are scored arco or pizzicato for the starfishs. However I think that the combination works very well today, and the tone and sustain of the bass supports everything in a very sympathetic manner and nothing feels out of place.

I'm also very pleased at trying to free the starfish sounds from the "bridge pickup nasal honk" that the electric instruments normally have. I've been trying various techniques over the week, but a little bit of soft sat metric halo preamp on the inputs couple with a bit of subtle 2.5-3k shaping and then the VSS3 (which I fall more an more in love with the more that I use it) on space creation is proving very satisfactory. The instruments still don't sound like "the real thing", but I think that they very definitely stand up on their own as expressive instruments in their own rights.

And a brief word on the quality of the players. Today we actually had time to do a bit of polishing and Marc wanted to edit out the little glitches and quirks in the playing. So we muted all the FX and made everything really exposed and listened through to things. Then we checked that we hadn't done anything stupid and listened again, only more closely. Then we decided that there was 3 tiny bits of extraneous handling noise that we could edit out. Everything else was totally spot on and it made me realise quite how accurate and on the case McFalls is - a fact which I suspect that I take for granted since I've been amplifying them for the last 15 years...

(Of course, I was feeling so happy and chilled out about the process today that I completely forgot to take any photos and then copied the wrong set of files onto Marc's hard disk when it was all finished, but these are just mere details)

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