I know I love doing something when three hours feel like three minutes.

GuitarI worked on preliminary mixes for the last two tracks of the Airship album, today. They are “The View From Above” and “The Return”. “The View From Above” started out as a sketch and eventually turned into a full track. (There is a rough version on SoundCloud, called “Recording I”). At first, I didn’t think of it as part of the Airship idea. My inspiration was radio towers, the sound waves passing between them, hence the voice recording. But, once I started work on Airship, the lightness of the music came to remind me of flight, and so I inducted it into the tracklist. It’s a gentle, precarious track; there are these dissonant notes that I rather like. You could never tell with airships in the early days, they could come tumbling down, at any moment. The uneasiness of the track reminds me of that uncertainty. For the Airship version, I’ve removed the voice recording and made it much more fluid. After the changes, I think it suits the album. “The Return” is last on the tracklist. Not long ago, I considered it done and dusted, but I think it needs more work. It has a repeating guitar, strings and drum theme describing the return flight of the airship. It’s rather tense, but it brings everything to a neat end. I am still wrestling with it, but that’s the three-hour bit I love.


How Being Bothered Saved My Mix

Mixing Console

In The Mix

I spent the whole of Saturday doing the preliminary mix for “In The Hangar”, the opening track of the Airship album. I say preliminary because, once all the tracks are mixed, one inevitably goes back and adjust or rework all the mixes for greater overall consistency in the final album. I like to keep my mixes simple. The less I fiddle, the better. Usually, this involves nothing more than adjusting volumes and adding fades. But occasionally, it involves going back to the drawing board with one or more tracks.

Bothered By The Bass

This happened on Saturday. For “In The Hangar” and “A Good Day For Flying” (the track that follows) I used a synth bass, which had lost its appeal. I must confess, I was reluctant to change it because I didn’t feel confident about finding the right sound to replace it with in my limited arsenal of synths. Also, it’s unnerving, having to change something as fundamental to the mix as the bass. Suffice it to say that I wasn’t enthusiastic about the prospect. But, throughout the mixing session, it kept bothering me; I knew I had to change it.

Saved By The Bass

Eventually, I gave in. On the verge of resigning to a bass I didn’t like, I stopped being an idiot and started experimenting. It wasn’t long before edits to stock basses in GarageBand produced just the sound I was looking for. I breathed a sigh of relief and shook my head, thinking about my initial hesitation. Not only did I save my mix, but I learned a lot about creating unique synth sounds, in the process. I realised that it is better to follow my natural intuition about what I’m doing, that no matter how uncomfortable it turns out to be, it’ll lead to better understanding and, I hope, better music.

Forgotten Fields