The recording experience

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mixing console

I realize I’ve not written a post for a long time! Time flies, especially when you have a CD release coming soon… It is my first recording, and we all know how much every new experience can change the way you see (or think about) things. What I wrote a few months ago was very true, but the recording of my first full album really changed my perception of studio work.

I could speak about the lack of audience, the coldness of a studio recording but I already spoke about that and I still feel the same about these topics.

However, I never spoke about the human dimension of the recording process. When you see the final product, you tend to forget a CD is before everything done by humans. For this recording, I was very lucky: I had a wonderful team. Even if I didn’t know them before, they made everything in their power so I can feel as comfortable as possible.

Recording involves several people: the musician, the recording engineer and the recording producer. Both engineer and producer have to “manage” you: express their opinions about your playing, understand what you want and get who you are. That’s why I really think that more than their technical skills (of course required!), their social qualities are most important: they help you to give your best in these unusual conditions and God knows how difficult it can be to manage an artist. Time management, diplomacy, patience, flawless artistic taste are basic human skills really needed from the recording team. And for the musician, an ability to trust others and let them guide you. For me, a recording is not just a matter of a artistic mastery, it’s also a matter of human symbiosis between all of the people involved in the process.

And there is an “after recording”. Since I’ve had an interest in audio tech for a long time and I’ve been several times on the other side of the glass, I was very aware of recording, editing, post-processing techniques. I knew how a recording is done. But even though I was familiar with this, recording a full album completely changed the way I listen to recorded music. I am right now rediscovering my whole music collection, hearing things I never heard before in these recordings I’ve listened to hundreds of times.

Recording a good album is tough work: you have to meet the right people, the right piano, the right studio and make the right choices. And while the memories of a concert fade away with time, recorded music is there to last and can be played and played again. Years ago, I thought recording was easier than a live performance. I changed my mind. Recording is hard.