James O'Connell - Twintwelve
SPOTLIGHT 14: I Could Be
Rock and Pop
Mac dual 2.5 G5, Digital Performer 4.52, Motu 2408 mk3, Waves Platinum Bundle, Audio Technica 4050 (2), Neumann km184 (2), Rode NTK (2), Sennheiser 421 and 441, Shure SM57, Mackie HR 824, Tannoy NFM 8, old-school Audio/API mic pres (4), Brent Averill Calrec 1061(2), Universal Audio UA2610, Empirical Labs Distressor (2), ADL 1000 tube compressor, 1965 Ludwig drumkit (original Ringo finish), 1920's Ludwig and Ludwig snare, Zildjian Cymbals, 1974 Gibson Les Paul deluxe, 1965 Gibson SG standard, 1977 Fender Jazz bass, 2003 Martin HD-28, 1999 Gibson j200 deluxe maple, Fender brown-faced Princeton, Gibson GA 30, rented Chamberlin, other odd percussion creatures.
Production Notes & Credits:
“I Could Be” is a female vocal rock song in the Shawn Colvin vein. James recorded, mixed and mastered the tune. He also played guitars and keyboards. Jeny Nicholson sang lead and Gordon Townsend played bass and drums.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
While enjoying a delicious meal the other evening, it dawned on me that descriptions are tricky things. You see, the “medium rare” burger that I ordered showed up a tad bit on the... well, let’s just say that it went back for a little extra cookin’. What’s this have to do with this month’s SPOTLIGHT, you say? Simply this: that trying to establish a common language to describe what we recordists hear is not unlike what I encountered with that cheeseburger. Obviously in the mind/eye of the chef, that piece of meat was medium rare, perfect, end of story. However, my mind/eye was saying, “What happened to the MEDIUM part of the description?!”
Given this then, is it any wonder that recording/mixing and mastering can be such a tricky thing? How we hear and what we prefer is so individual that establishing a benchmark is nearly impossible. And yet you would be amazed at the number of submissions we receive from folks that ask if their track is “radio ready”, and if not, how to make it so.
With that in mind... here's what I call a "radio ready" track.
Recording: James and the gang (pun intended) have created a radio-ready track with a combination of superior talent and awesome equipment. This is important to note since one without the other usually fails to deliver the goods. We hear great tones throughout, particularly on the drums, the bass and Jeny’s bone-dry lead vocal. James has produced a convincingly analog sounding track with nary a tape deck in sight. Outstanding!
So why did we deem this track “radio ready”? Because we felt, and still feel, that it was a superb example of most of the criteria that elevates a mix to a higher level. Tone, performance, arrangement are all topnotch in our opinion. Listen to the beautiful lead vocal, bone dry and so present that it simply welcomes the other instruments to swell and dance around it.
How about the sparse acoustic guitar intro that lulls you until it gives way to the wall of electrics? Vibes and slide guitar mixed to the same side and melding perfectly? B-3 organ underneath the guitar solo? And the harmonies during the bridge -- Yum!! Better than a cheeseburger, and we don’t care how you cook it!
Summary: Sit back and relax folks, this one’s on us.
Contact: James O’Connell/Twintwelve, www.twintwelve.net.