Archive for May, 2011

26 May

Slowing down some more. Special live gig. Calling up the 70’s synths.

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / May 26, 2011 / 0 Comments

The project is grinding to a “slow”. Jason’s voice is not happening. He finished the last of his antibiotics but I am sure he is still pickled with the stuff. The result is that his voice is scratchy and he is not able to access what he is looking for. The voice is everything with this album.
So the short of it is we now must record both his lead vocals and all the backing vocals in Regina. That has me there for 5 days, then I fly back to Toronto and start mixing in ernest on the 6th of June.
Perhaps the pace has me fatigued but I am feeling a little bit of pressure now. I want a great record yet I must be finished before July.
Anyway, no big deal just the inevitable “crunch” time has arrived early this project.
We are finished in the big A room (Neve) and have moved over to the smaller B room (SSL). With this move we return to the world of bugs, snafus and tech problems. This too is slowing us down a tad. Ces’t la vie. Also I am now in my studio for a few days doing some percussion , vintage synth overdubs and editing.

Also I had the pleasure of an evening of live sound, mixing FOH for Kurt Swinghammer’s launch of Turpentine Wind. A fantastic album/DVD that we actually completed a few years ago but is only being released now. It was a magical night. My friend Justin Stephenson produced a beautiful visual accompaniment to the musicians live performance. He modulated his video images by taking feeds of the instruments next to my sound board in real time. The effect was a video backdrop that felt gently synchronized with the music. Very Cool.

23 May

My electronic band. The collective known as The Faceless Forces of Bigness.

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / May 23, 2011 / 0 Comments

Here is a wonderful excerpt from some rehearsal footage of my electronic collective, The Faceless Forces of Bigness.
All of this was created live using modular synths, procedural music, feedback, and video performance tools.
Sitting in were, Justin Stephenson, Chris Stringer, John Adams and myself, Michael Phillip Wojewoda.

We have not performed for some time now but do have a show opening up for Selina Martin this June 16th in Toronto.

FFOB – Rehersal from Justin Stephenson on Vimeo.

18 May

Changing schedules

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / May 18, 2011 / 0 Comments

Well, after testing 7 microphones on Jason’s voice and finding just the perfect signal path (such luxury), Jason’s voice is shot. Streptococcus Badtimingus strikes to the heart. So we have had to reschedule things a bit. Cody’s guitar overdubs are now up and Jason flew home to Regina to rest and reconnect with family. He is to be a first time father in less then a month and some time home I sure bodes well for all involved. Perhaps all this stress contributed to his illness. More likely his pension for licking streetcar hand rails.
Working with Cody has been great. He is a talent and has a great work ethic. Yet, it did reveal that most of the guitars on the project were in dire need of a setup. We in fact have been chasing tuning issues for weeks now.
The irony is that Keith the wonder guitar tech had phoned me and offered his services before bed-tracks had started but Jason and I let it slip through the cracks. Anyway he is here now and working all the instruments.
These changes in schedule have disrupted Cody solo album that he is also in Toronto to produce.
For this album, the challenge now is to overdub instruments without any vocal reference at all. There were no usable vocals from the bed tracks because Jason was in the iso booth with his amplifier. Thus his vocal mic is filled with guitar sounds. Not always the same guitar sounds that ended up on his tracks. Without the presence of a voice the risk is to fill in too much space with instrumentation. Even if your trying not too, the desire to eat a full meal so to speak is always there. It is easy to fill the songs up so that they satisfy, even just for the moment.

13 May

Bed tracks are done. Chapter 3…

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / May 13, 2011 / 0 Comments

The rhythm section got on a plane and went home. Basking in the glow of a job well done.
And they did indeed do a fantastic job. Great players and people alike.
So after a one day diversion to record Barenaked Ladies at another studio I am back with Jason. We will be doing lead vocals and acoustic guitar tracks. Perhaps some other electric tracks but most of the bed track guitars are keepable. Cody, the lead guitarist will join as again next week.
The day was spent pretty casually. We laid down a simple keyboard pad in all the songs to give a clear tuning reference for vocals. Some of the guitar and bass parts have 1960’s tuning, which sounds cool but it is best to sing to something solid. We set up the acoustic guitar station and finally we set up and tried 7 different microphones for lead vocal. It was a real luxury to have the time ( and mic’s) to compare and choose. I let Steven (assistant engineer) record a verse and chorus of Jason’s lead vocal on each mic while did some last minute editing in the other room. When I returned I sat and listened to all the passes not knowing which mic was which. To my ears it boiled down to 2 mic’s and possibly a third. It was the first blind taste test I had done in a decade.
Watch the video to find out the choices and choosen.
Neve 1081 pre into a dbx desser followed by an 1176 and finally an LA2A. Nice.
Because the functionality of the console is not complete it has been tricky setting up a headphone mix with discreet outputs to the cue system. Anyway I think we got it licked.

09 May

Mid point in the bed track recordings

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / May 9, 2011 / 0 Comments

Six long days of work at Revolution Recordings.
Much effort was expended over the first two days to get our session up and running. By the third day we were tracking and it was very exciting.
I found myself struggling to get a solid bass sound. We cycled through several instruments until I settled on a pig of a bass. Fat strings set very high off the neck. Gord gave me the hairy eyeball for that choice. But he is a trooper.
The drum tent is working especially well. I think I found the sweet spot for drums on the first try.
I know Jason is finding his iso booth a tad tiny but he too is being a team player.
Cody’s space like Jason’s has a few acoustic issues that the microphones are not hearing but the players do.
I think that there are some acoustic details to worked out in the control room as well. The bridge of the console is loose and adds a subtle murkiness to the lower midrange imaging. I am sure this will be sorted out once the crew has access to the A room after we move to the B room to mix.
I generally start making an album with an idea of how it should sound. Yet I am always interested in what it becomes without my intervention as well. I love when records start making themselves so to speak.
Jason’s songs are sounding heavy. Heavier than I expected. Yet these sounds seem to be coming out of the musicians honestly. I asked if we should throttle back the ROCK but everyone is digging it.
Cool by me.
Later Kenny Luong and I rode our motorbikes north of the city for a few hours. Found a wind farm.
I think wind technology is fantastic and I am saddened that lobbyists managed to kill the Lake Ontario wind farm project. I think it is more realistic as a sustainable energy source than nuclear power with its dangerous waste by products.

04 May

Studio not quite ready.

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / May 4, 2011 / 0 Comments

The studio is in an interesting state. We where able to set up the bands gear and place microphones but the 24 track machine and pro tools were not communicating. There are already lot’s of niggily problems. For instance, the silent air-con in dumping more air into the room then it is removing. This over-pressure is creating winter like wind howling sounds from all the doors leading out of the big space. Two of the three isolation booths have acoustical issues. A pronounced resonance around 140Hz or so dominates in those rooms. The designer thinks it has to do with the floor to ceiling parameters. They will fix it after our session. I know that all these things will eventually be sorted out but in the mean time I could not record drums in the large iso booth so the kit is out in the large room instead. It is not ideal because I don’t want a ‘big beat’ drum sound for every song but we will make it work. I did build a drum ‘tent’ around the kit to tighten up the high frequencies while letting the sound boom in the room so to speak. Only listening back to the speakers will tell if it’s going to work.
All the staff have been getting no sleep in the last few days. The spaced out fatigue is everywhere. Yet spirits are high across the board. Anyway tomorrow we really have to get the sounds happening and the headphones happening as well. The rhythm section has to leave by the 12th so we can’t linger too long.

02 May

Trip home and studio so far…

In blog by Michael Phillip Wojewoda / May 2, 2011 / 0 Comments

Early flight and a quick visit to Revolution to see the progress before our Tuesday session.