Continuum

Every now and then, the planets align, the stars shine bright, the heaven and earth become one, and a perfect album is made. That’s how I feel about John Mayer’s Continuum. To me, it is a perfect blend of blues, soul, and pop. It is a record that I can put on repeat and let play from start to end and not skip a track. On top of it all, sonically speaking, it’s simply amazing. I have always been a huge John Mayer fan, and he definitely hit it out of the park on this one. The guitar tones on the record are jaw dropping. It has guitar players everywhere including myself trying to find out his secrets.

Continuum is the third studio album by John Mayer, released late in the year 2006 on Columbia Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during November 2005 to September 2006 at The Village Recorder in Los Angeles, California, Avatar Studios and Right Track/Sound on Sound in New York City, and Royal Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. Production was handled primarily by Mayer and Steve Jordan the drummer for the John Mayer trio. This album marked a huge change in Mayer’s musical approach and style, and incorporated musical elements of blues and soul more heavily than his previous work with pop-rock.

The album debuted at number 2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 300,186 copies in its first week. It also reached the top-ten in several other countries, selling over 3 million copies worldwide. Upon its release, Continuum received generally positive reviews from most music critics and earned Mayer several accolades, including a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 49th Grammy Awards. Rolling Stone magazine named it the eleventh best album of 2006. But on a personal chart its amongst my top 3 albums of all time.

The Devon Taylor Drum Clinic

                                           Having received an email from my lecturer looking for volunteers for an upcoming live gig at the sound stage, I jumped at the opportunity as anything to do with live sound I love doing. Its something about that thing where you only have one chance to get it right always intrigues me. Little did I know what was to come. Having come at the required time I was handed a setup diagram with a channel list. Next thing I knew walked in this big American guy he came up and said “hi I’m Devon’s drum tech” it is then that I realized this was not going to be an ordinary gig. Setup went on and then walked in the band. They took their places and started their sound check and boy…….. weren’t they tight! Groove was something that was inbuilt in them. Funky keyboard solos over groovy drums fills and a tight bass line were totally down my ally.

                                                       Something I did learn from this was when it comes to live sound, something very import is what the musician hear should sound as good as what’s been heard on the PA . The musician needs to be comfortable with what he/she hears on the fallbacks his/her in ears. They need to hear everything they need at the right levels to feel comfy. This is something that affects their performance a fair bit. Having done live sound before this is something I’ve tend to not do and most certainly have to learn from now on and put into practice .

The art of sound

Post production or sound for film was something that  really did not interest me much, but little did I know how fun it could really be. After having been asked to replace the audio for a portion of a movie as a part of and learning intensive I learned that making noises could really be a fun job. From recording a whipper snipper as a motor bike to making vomit noises this proved to be a really fun task. After having done this unit I’ve really started to grow an interest in how sound for film is done so much so now I can’t watch a movie without noticing the lips out of sync or thinking about how each sound was made.

                                                Something I’ve come to know and realise from this is what you hear is really not it is. After having done some research I found out 80 percent of the sounds on a film are not what it actually is most scenes with an ocean are probably just a bucket of water or what may seem like someone running is probably just someone walking in one place sped up. Although I always thought post production will never interest me it sure has got me more than interested now and its definitely  something I have fun doing.

Neve vs SSL

As a massive fan of all things analogue gear I decided to read up research and answer the question of which was better Neve or SSL? Having personally only heard each of these consoles just a handful of time in use in a studio the records that have been made by these consoles are un-countable. These two British studio work horses are staples of famous studios world over. AMS Neve comes from the British town of Lancashire and Solid State comes from the town Oxford shire. These console have been around for a while and are made of top notch electronic. After reading a couple of articles and many manuals of both brands one can come to conclusion that the answer to this question is…… well there is no answer!!

What I soon realized is that these consoles are like cars its basically a Lamborghini and Ferrari. They both do the same job what which one of it is the users choice.

Here was a something I picked up from a couple of write ups

  • The Neve has a transformer on the microphone input, whereas the SSL does not. This may be a factor in the “warm” sound that is attributed with the Neve – though the transformers are on the mic input only, so tape or Pro Tools output don’t pass through these.

 

  • The Neve has much more sophisticated circuitry, because it’s routing is very flexible. This probably again contributes to the coloured “Neve” sound.

 

  • For the most part, though, the electronics on each board are quite similar.

 

  • The Neve sound varies greatly between the eras of their design. Over in the SSL camp, whilst their sound has evolved, the similarities between E’s, G’s and K’series are more apparent than in the history of Neve’s designs.

 

  • The Neve’s automation is sophisticated, possibly not for any good reason. Despite the Neve being a fantastic sounding mix console, Most engineers opt not to mix on it purely for the reason that you do need a degree in rocket science to operate the automation!

 

Having compared these two consoles I think they both are winners and no ones better than the others but have their own personal plus points.

Adele swipes Grammies from church

Was it her voice? or was it her heart touching ballads? no one knows but Adele sure did wipe clean the Grammies this year. Adele Laurie Blue Adkins is a British soul RnB singer who’s written hits that have topped charts worldwide for weeks. Her newest album 25 was the hot topic of the 2017 Grammies at which the album and songs of the album won 5 Grammies for Album of the year, the best pop vocal album, song of the year, record of the year as well as the best pop solo performance . This is by far one of the biggest achievements for an artist in the last couple of Grammy Award ceremonies. Adele is known for her powerful pop soul ballads and she was truly deserving of these awards.

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This is probably one of my favourite  albums from an auditory  point of view. It just simply sounds amazing! and the credit for this has to go to Church Studios London and the engineer of the album Tom Elmhirst. Elmhirst has a world renowned discography of his own with the likes of David Bowie , Beck , Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse on his list. Elhmhirst is famous analogue sounding records and is know for making  use of world renowned studios like the electric lady new york but his home den the place which he also  made Adele’s Grammy swiper “Church Studios”.  Church studios is a one of a kind recording facility located in the heart of north London. The studio was built in an 1850’s church building  and has probably one of the best sounding live rooms in any studio world over. Elmhirst in his interview with billboard magazine said that the secret to his success is the sound of the studios console which is EMI Neve 72 Channels  the heart of studio 1 and also its live room.

On a personal note Adeles “25” Album is a very good example of having good equipment is pointless if there isn’t a good engineer who knows how to use it. The success of the album goes to show that this album is probably one of the best pop albums of all time.

Coldplay at Etihad

From the pyro to the light design the massive PA and the confetti this was hands down on of the best and biggest live productions I’ve seen. Having stood in line for nearly four hours and then wait another inside plus watch three exceptional supporting acts the worth was defiantly worth it. Having always being the guy who likes to see how things work behind the scenes this place was heaven. Having got tickets to a perfect spot (in my opinion) close to the mixing desk the show was bound to be a stellar auditory experience. The shows intro was a series of lines from the great dictator’s speech by Charlie Chaplin. After which the lights went down and the 240 strong d&b audiotechnik system kicked in to the bands first song, the tour and album title “A Head full of dreams”. From then onward started the two hours of intense showmanship and steller performances by the 4 piece band. The energy in the 70,000 audience stadium was for sure a to be experienced in one’s lifetime.

Among all these factors that made this probably one of the best tours in the world and also one of the best shows I have watched was the sound. It was amazing to say the least. It wasn’t as loud you’d expected and open air concert to be and also it had this clarity to it that I personally had never heard in a live situation ever. It was as if they were playing a studio track live. After having been amazed by this experience I put some research into it and found out that the secret behind the sound had three bits to it. This is firstly the band which is probably the most important aspect secondly it was the d&b audiotechnik PA system consisting of 60 subs and 180 tops which was provided by Jps Audio Australia and the third being the exceptional skill of FOH engineer for Coldplay Daniel Green. This tour has been know for its highly advance technologies used and its audio department does defiantly justify it.

“The search for everything”

John Mayer has been an inspiration to me for a really long time from his fantastic lyrics to his out of this world guitar playing  his new album “The search for everything” was something I was most excited to hear. But little did I know when it surprisingly turned out to be an album broken into a two Part EP. The two parts for now being wave one and two. The hype for this album was real and I personally didn’t know what to expect. John is usually know for his very blues influenced music specially styles similar to people like Steavy Ray Vaun , which are songs full of groove and steamy guitar licks. But when the first wave did come out it as nothing like anyone expected. This album or May I say EP was way different, it was dreamy, it was atmospheric, it was nothing like he had ever made. The crunchy guitar riffs were replaced with clean guitar soaked in all kinds of reverb more easy going vocal melodies and simple grooves. Three weeks later came out wave two and this too was just like the first but in true John Mayer style anything he did just sounds amazing.

For me personally I preferred the groovy albums like Room for squares but nevertheless this is a side of Mayer no one had seen and as he mentioned in his facebook live EP interview “this is what I am feeling now and I want to share it with you”. Although this EP is very different to what he has done before it is most definitely  an amazing 2 piece album.

AUD 210 Final Blog post

This blog will give you an overview of the happenings and updates of this semester as a whole and what approaches were taken to complete each project required by this semester.

The jingles project was the final project of the unit, for me personally it was one of the more challenging assessments as music production is not my strong point. But I was more than happy that this assignment put me on the spot, as the best way to learn is under pressure. For as long as I remember making music has never been something I was good at but its something I’ve always wanted to learn to do. I took it upon my self that will create music for one short film and one commercial having picked a coca cola advertisement and a documentary about the beauty of Sri Lanka in jumped into pro tools as my main DAW for producing the music. For this project we teamed up as a team of three to form the company SkyAudio. These jingles will all be released under this name.

For the coca cola jingle I started my laying down a piano base on which I added a layer of strings all using one of Pro Tools inbuilt MIDI software’s Xpand still feeling that something was missing I tracked a layer of electric guitar over using a simple clean fender strat to keep the simplicity of the piece after having tracked guitar I then jumped into MIDI world once again and added a lead line using a xylophone VST. Once the music was complete I went on to record the sound effects of coke pouring into a glass which I recorded at home off my iPhone and also jumped in the studio and did a voice over which I added at the end. After I was done adding all the elements I went on to mix it and bounce it as a complete audio visual file.

The next video I attempted was a documentary titled Sri Lankan Dreams by a YouTube based company called Fresh Start Media. This is a 5-minute-long documentary of Sri Lankas beautiful landscapes and people. For this I attempted to create a backing track to complement the short film. My approach to this was first I laid down a very ambient sounding piano layer using a Piano VST instrument and adding a fair bit of reverb to it. This layer was just a chord progression. After that I moved on to adding a layer of strings to give a very grand feeling. For the strings I used a similar chord progression to the main piano progression. Having added these two layers I moved on to adding a lead piano layer for this I used a honky tonk style piano and added a delay effect to it to create an arpegiator type feel. After which I moved on to mixing and then a finally a bounce of the final video. This one was the hardest of the lot personally because I found myself repeating the same progression a lot and tried very hard to give it variation. But overall the I am pleased with the outcome of the jingles project although it is not my strength I challenge my self to do it and learn from it and I think the project did just that.

For my freelance work this trimester I worked on two projects. Both being mixing. The first project I did was for the Melomanic Session which is a warehouse style acoustic session that happens every two months in Colombo Sri Lanka where various artist perform a set of chilled out acoustic music. For this I was given the stems of a 2 hour long session which consisted of 9 sets of both bands and solo artist and was required to split and mix them. I was given clear instructions to keep a little bit of the introduction of the band at the start and end of each set. Having figured out what parts to keep in and what to remove I separated each set and all of its elements. Then i took each set and mixed it individually bouncing a Wav file after each mix. For the mixing aspect of the each set I applied compression and EQ on pretty much most elements of the tracks and reverb and delay where I thought it was needed. Having finished mixing the set I sent them back the wav files via google drive. Having listen to all the track he came back to me with feedback where he said that he was happy with all the tracks except one which he thought had too much delay on it. Having fixed that one particular track I sent it back to him after which he posted it on the sessions official sound cloud page where the tracks have got a combined 400+ plays. This was the first time I have attempted to mix a live session and I think with what I had to deal with it was a pretty good outcome as well as the organizers were happy with its outcome.

The Second freelance project I took on was mixing a single for a Sri Lankan Rock band “Salvage”. For this project I was contacted by producer Engineer Nishan Daniels and was asked if I was happy to mix the bands 5th studio single “Stains” having agreed to it I was sent the stems of the song and was given clear instruction on what needed to be done. The song was recorded at the Sooriya Village in Colombo and the pro tools session was sent across to me via google drive. After having listened to the song many time I proceeded to edit a couple of things adding in fades where needed and used beat detective to correct the timing of one drum fill. After having edited everything I booked a session at SAE’s big Audient Studio where I mixed the song on the desk patching out board effect units as well as using a few in the box one’s. The toughest part of this project for me personally was re-recording the process stems back into pro tools as requested by the producer. Having figured out how to do it through re-routing the Aux sends the final mix and stems were sent back to Nishan the producer who went onto master the track. The song was released and as at now has got close to 55 radio plays over two weeks and is also available on the bands official bandcamp page.

All in all this semester was defiantly a learning curve for me, I defiantly learned that music production is something I really need to work on and improve. I also realized that to create something it must not be rushed you must give it enough time flow naturally. But that said I am pretty impressed with myself and what I’ve managed to come up with and I think If I work on it I defiantly can do much better.

Please find below links to all projects I have done as well as the company website

 

Jingles:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LKpe7qeERo&list=PL_Vc1fnXNx3TJ6-lggzL81UCza4beBraH

 

 

Remix :-

Freelance Project 1 (Melomanic sessions):-

 

Freelance Project 2 (Salvage single stains):-

 

 

Company Website:- https://skyaudio.wordpress.com/

 

Copyright!!!

Having completed many projects this semester this blog will aim to look at what copyright laws will have had to be cleared if these media pieces were to be published in a real life situation. Copyright is a legal right created and implemented by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original piece of work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. This is usually only for a limited pre decided duration of time. Firstly, id like to look at what steps should be taken to obtain permission for the sound alike, after having done some research I found that the song Blur is now owned and monitored by the bands record label “Food”. To have even begin work on this song first all rights and a go ahead should have been obtained by the record label. The record label are the sole owners of the song and all rights are in their name. If permission was obtained after approaching them and we had plans to release it we would have also have had to obtain permission for that as well inform the labels collection society that our version was a licensed sound-alike and not a copy of the original.

When it comes to the remix is approach would be a bit different for this id have to approach the band in this case which was Cosmogyral and asked them if was alright if id change the song up. This particular band not being under a record label makes it a slightly easier task but as much as its easier it one that must be done with utmost care. This in a professional scenario must not be done verbally as was done in this case but rather a proper contract should have been signed which include all the terms and conditions.

Finally, when it comes to the jingles permission must officially be obtained by the ad’s production company as well as the company of the add which in my case was coca cola international. As much as permission should be obtained from the company to replace the audio what permission should most importantly be obtained for is the re use of the video which is also probably monitored by the collecting companies.

These projects in a real life situation break many copyright laws for which prior permission should be obtained. This a very important step in any situation where one is to use another persons work and must not be taken lightly

Freelance

Project 1;

 

The Melomanic sessions is Colombo based community experience held with different variations/genres of unplugged music at the forefront. it is an opportunity for friends and family to gather in a series of sessions that will provide a platform for budding artists and established musicians to mingle with their audiences as one community. It is also one of Colombo’s biggest incubators of original music. Having Being Apart of this movement for a few years now I was contacted by one of its main coordinators Chrishantha De Silva and was asked if I was able to take on the task of mixing one of the sessions which were held late September of 2016. My answer from the get go was “yes not at all problem” after much discussion over the phone as to what exactly was needed to be done I was sent the stems of the 2 hour long session. The session comprised of 9 sets performed by both bands solo artists as well as a cast of the musical “Next to Normal”. My approach to mixing this session was rather straight forward. The Stems were sent to me as two hour tracks which I had to group and cut and divide into each set. I was given clear instructions to keep a little bit of the introduction of the band at the start and end of each set. Having figured out what parts to keep in and what to remove I separated each set and all of its elements. Then in took each set and mixed it individually bouncing a Wav file after each mix. For the mixing aspect of the each set I applied compression and EQ on pretty much most elements of the tracks and reverb and delay where I thought it was needed. Having finished mixing the set I sent back the wav files via google drive to Chrishantha. Having listen to all the track he came back to me with feedback where he said that he was happy with all the tracks except one which he thought had too much delay on it. Having fixed that one particular track I sent it back to him after which he posted it on the sessions official sound cloud page where the tracks have got a combined 400+ plays. This was the first time I have attempted to mix a live session and I think with what I had to deal with it was a pretty good outcome as well as the organizers were happy with its outcome.

 

Link to the Session mixed by me:-https://soundcloud.com/themelomanicsessions/sets/melomanic-sessions-sep-2016-womens-int-hall

 

The Melomanic Sessions:- https://web.facebook.com/groups/themelomanicsessions/

 

 

 

Project 2:

 

The second project I had the fortune of doing was mixing the single “stains” for the Sri Lankan band “Salvage”. Salvage is a alternate metal , progressive rock band which has been around in the music scene for awhile. Salvage have previously released many singles and are currently working on their first studio album. The single stains is something they have been waiting to release for awhile and finally got down to doing under the care and capable hands of well know Sri Lankan producer Nishan Daniel’s. Having recived a call from Nishan (who happens to be one of my mentors)asking me if id mix the song I jumped at the chance and said yes. The song was recorded at the Sooriya Village in Colombo and the pro tools session was sent across to me via google drive. After having listened to the song many time I proceeded to edit a couple of things adding in fades where needed and used beat detective to correct the timing of one drum fill. After having edited everything I booked a session at SAE’s big Audient Studio where I mixed the song on the desk patching out board effect units as well as using a few in the box one’s. The toughest part of this project for me personally was re-recording the process stems back into pro tools as requested by the producer. Having figured out how to do it through re-routing the Aux sends the final mix and stems were sent back to Nishan the producer who went onto master the track. The song has been scheduled to be released on the 8th of December 2016.

 

About the band:- http://soundgimmicks.com/artists/salvage/

 

https://web.facebook.com/salvagedmusic/?hc_ref=SEARCH

 

https://web.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154297075973918&set=a.10152061776743918.1073741832.552113917&type=3&theater

 

https://web.facebook.com/552113917/videos/10154293449033918/

 

 

Link to Song :- https://salvage.bandcamp.com/