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Blog: Penultimixing

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On Saturday I got up at the CRACK OF DAWN - 7am! ON A SATURDAY! - in order to be in the fair city of Derby for 11am, where I met with Mr T "The Tiger" McClure at Snug Studio, there to do us some MIXING.

I arrived bearing an AGENDA, which I discussed with Tom, Robbie and Rich. As ever it felt about Not Quite On to have an AGENDA and a PLAN when you're launching into ROCK AND ROLL but, as we have discovered so many times, you can't really just JAM an hour long fully scripted concept album with sound effects and orchestras. You need a PLAN.

The aforesaid plan for the day was to get everything up to PENULTIMIX standard. A few weeks ago Tim and Tom had both been in and had got penultimixes (TECHNICAL TERM: "last mix for commenting upon by Validators before the Final Mix") done on about 40% of the songs. A couple of the other ones don't seem to NEED anything doing to them, so our mission was to go through the rest and make ADJUSTMENTS.

I had some NOTES with me, and we decided to do the ones with MOST WORK REQUIRED first. We began with A Little Bit, and spent a couple of hours transforming it from being A Bit All Over The Place to a INDIE DANCEFLOOR FILLER. I especially enjoyed STRIPPING DOWN pretty much EVERYTHING from the intro, so it begins with JUST ME. Aaah, if only all our songs could be that way!

Next we had a good old go at My Grandad Is Nuts, not forgetting to enjoy the HILARIOUS remarks that can ALWAYS be made due to the fact that this can be abbreviated to "My Grandad's Nuts". YOU CAN IMAGINE. This also got stripped back a bit to start with, before we gently layered instruments back in at various points to make it all a bit more DYNAMIC. Again, it sounded a bit messy beforehand, now it is BANJOLICIOUS!

The final BIG JOB was on Strangely Attractive, which sounded a bit LOUD and AGGRESSIVE and also as if it was about to fall down the stairs at any moment. There was much fiddling with EQ and levels for this one (also: discovering that there was FUZZ BASS throughout which was probably not required) as well as a rather lovely adjustment to the introduction, to make it fit in with the dialogue. Ooh, it does sound nice now - it's amazing really, we didn't change any of the sounds, or put anything new in, but with just a bit of tinkering we changed a song that sounded a bit HAPHAZARD and NERVE WRACKING into something BEAUTIFUL. Also, there's a bit at the end where Claire (playing General Truelove) CHUCKLES which is probably the funniest bit on the whole album - it's STILL making us all LARF with DELIGHT, even tho we have heard it MANY times.

And then there was just a series of MINOR adjustments - a bass raised here, and adjustment to violins there - and we were DONE. It was tempting at this point to move on to the NEXT batch of jobs, but at 4.30pm I thought it was probably best to cut straight to the PUB. It usually is.

In the pub we were joined by The Family Machine for some DELIGHTFUL beer and a bit of Baby Grappling before it was time for me to head home, extraordinarily pleased with the work of the day. We've got another session booked in a fortnight when I shall hopefully be taking any further Validator comments on board to create FINAL mixes, also making some minor adjustments to the dialogue sections, then three weeks after THAT we make our first attempt on THE LOT - putting the whole thing together as it will be when released! We'll be listening to this during August, while I'm doing Moon Horse, and then one LAST session should enable us to make any last minute changes required and get it DONE!

Crikey! It suddenly feels like ONE DAY this will all be completed, and I can FINALLY play it to people. That day cannot come soon enough!

posted 13/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett

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