Alt Female Indie
My first Audio Network album release for 2015 is ‘Alt Female Indie’, a collection of alternative indie rock tracks with vocals from Elizabeth Caley.
The first sessions for this album were recorded a year ago in January 2014 at Sound Yard recording studios in Yorkshire. Building work on the new live room was just starting.
Workbench with Jason Pedder in the distance hitting a floor tom.
Before the walls went up I was keen to record as much music as possible in the existing large Victorian warehouse. For this project I wanted to try a different approach towards recording the instruments - to use only one stereo microphone placed high in the roof space.
The stereo microphone used is an extremely sensitive Brauner VM1s. Even though the microphone was capturing audio from a long distance away, the sound remained detailed, clear and enveloped in a huge and very interesting reverberant ambience.
The main reason to try this recording approach was not only to capture an extremely ambient recording, it was also intended to directly influence the process of composing the album.
Tracking acoustic guitars. The close mic (Shure SM57) was only used as a help aid for my timing and wasn’t part of the final sound.
Playing guitar in this space, capturing the sound in such a way, the room itself shapes and guides the music. Listening to the environment, the bloom of the reverb and the rhythm of the reflected sounds bouncing off the walls, help define song tempo and dynamics. Most of the tracks on this album started from me improvising in this open warehouse, and on the finished album I can hear how different the note/chord voicing and phrasing is in my playing.
The guitar amplifiers were placed in different side rooms far away from the main recording microphone.
My Three Monkeys Grease Monkey guitar amplifier - placed to the left of the main space in a smaller side room. Turned to full volume, filling the whole space with sound. The close mic (Shure SM57) was added as a help for my timing and wasn’t part of the final sound.
My Swart Atomic Space Tone in the corridor, to the right of the large room pointing inwards.
I used my Duesenberg Starplayer and Gibson SG electric guitars for this session.
Snare drum with industrial tape - and no close microphones.
The drum setup without close mics.
Chris Bussey on the tambourine.
I first heard Elizabeth Caley singing on a rough mix played to me in the car on the way to start recording this album. I was struck by the the tone of her voice and how she connected with the lyric. It was April before we finally got together to record the vocals and it was a delight to hear her finally sing these songs.
Liz is a true professional, she effortlessly assumes ownership of each song, without ego. Throughout the album she delivered her vocal takes with a calm nonchalance and a beautiful frailty in her voice. Her vocals completed the tracking for this album and added a definite touch of class.
I’m thrilled how this album has turned out, both sonically and compositionally. Over the next twelve months I will compose and record lots of new music that I’ve not heard yet - I’ve no idea at all what it will sound like. This time next year I hope to be talking about a new album as exciting and important as this one is to me.