Sunday, 20 October 2013


Doing recordings seem to be the thing at the moment. Unknown composers, never heard pieces, weird instrumentation, funny compilations, anything goes. It is great for us, musicians. We get to discover new stuff, we can listen to other people's discoveries. You can judge them, they can judge your recordings. The playing, the style, the ornaments, the pieces, anything really. Very often when I get my hand on a new CD, a piece which wasn't available for listening so far, I get very excited. Starting from the design, the smell of the new plastic, the program notes, going through the list of the players and the actual experience of the music enclosed on the disc. Or the same excitement when you discover something new on TheOnlineMusicStreamingSoftwareWhichDoesntNeedToBeNamedHere..
But what's behind an exciting new release? What's the process? Is what you listening to actually the outcome of a long long process with loads of thought given to it, or just a quick session to get something done before someone else does it for the sake of...I don't even know what. As a player, you often get a very different experience than the listener would imagine.
I was lucky enough to record a number of albums over the past few months with different groups. Very interesting! The different dynamics of the groups have such a big effect on the way they record! Of course there are many other 'ingredients' to it (time, budget, sound engineer, budget, repertoire, budget and of course dont forget the budget). Some groups rehearse a lot, record in a short time. Sometimes you dont get a rehearsal, hoping the music will shape up during the sessions. And of course any kind of mix of the previous two. But most often the (tutti)players only really get to know the music on the sessions. If....
Some groups record with a lot of discipline, silence between the takes, candies on the floor, only the conductor and the sound engineer (sound from the ether) talks, points out places to look at, correct. Sometimes everyone is trying to accommodate one person's wishes. Soloist, conductor, ambitious leader/wind player, etc..Other groups talk a lot, argue, discuss during the recording session. Some do a lot of full takes with a few patches, some record everything as a puzzle. Some, after a long time of playing-talkin-playing-talking, 20 minutes before the end of the session, starts to record and nails it in 3 takes. 
You never know what you get when you agree to do a recording. Most of the time it's very tiring of course. You have to give your 138% all the time, so it's not you who the whole orchestra blames for the extra take. Trying not to make noises with your shoes, strings, eyelids, stomach, cracking joints makes it even more intense. And then on top of these, accepting the style of the group and go with the flow. Too intense? Have a massage or a pint after. Too relaxed? Time to start writing poems or train for the next staring competition.

I love my life!

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