Sunday, September 28, 2008

The mix

I've been listening to music in a different way lately. Perhaps my own attempts to record and mix multiple tracks using pro-tools has made me pay closer attention to those songs, even simple ones, that are mixed so well. It takes an incredible amount of patience to get things to sound right - to sound natural. I suppose if I was a more talented musician I could play things the way I want them to sound when I record them, but such is not the case.

Listening to songs that are just a piano and vocalist, I wonder if the piano player decides when his sustain is going to end before moving on to the next chord, or if the engineer has cleverly cross-faded the transition to create tonal isolation. I wonder if the vocalist and the piano player are being recorded live, playing together, or separately, in isolation rooms. Or maybe piece by piece and then assembled later. It's a lot to think about.

My progress so far is as follows: I'll lay down a track, say a piano line, record it twenty different ways, sift through the raw audio, pick the version I like, and try to put something on top of it, like a digital drumbeat or a soft-synth, and it's very hard to get right. It's very hard to get things to line up and timed. I can't admit to having any real success as of yet. Trying to stay motivated.


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