The Recording Process, Part 4: Mixing
We've reached a very exciting stage in our work on Year of the Nightingale - The Mastering Stage! I'll tell you about our mastering sessions in the next update, but before that I'd like to catch you up on an extremely important stage in the process of making an album: The Mixing Stage.
No matter how well-written the music, how well-tracked the instruments, or how meticulously edited a recording may be, the artistic sensibility and level of craft put into the Mixing Stage can make or break a recording.
Mixing involves making countless artistic decisions relating to every single moment of a song: choosing just the right volume for each instrument as it moves through the song; refining the audio quality of each sound and ensuring a comfortable balance between the various shades of sound from the highest harmonics to the lowest bass tones; choosing what kinds of effects to add; deciding whether a certain sound will speak primarily to the listener's right ear, left ear, or perhaps move through the listener's field of hearing from ear to ear (called 'panning'); and most importantly, bringing out the best in all the different relationships that exist between each individual sound and every other individual sound. Mixing is like creating a healthy, functional society, where each element has its own individual voice while also serving the bigger picture of the whole song.
Many elements of mixing are extremely subtle. When we listen to music, our ears pick up the minutest details, details we may not even be consciously aware of, but which, nonetheless, have an effect on our listening experience. I am always amazed at how the tiniest adjustment in mixing can create a totally different emotional response. A slight increase in the volume of a particular instrument at a pivotal moment, or the addition of a subtle echo on the voice, can elicit a different, deeper and often much richer, experience of listening. The creative decisions made in the Mixing Stage can be a matter of goosebumps... or no goosebumps.
Mixing is both an art and a science, and I believe that the attention to detail that is being given to the Mixing Stage of Year of the Nightingale is outstanding.
...It helps when your producer is a former NASA astrophysicist ;)
There's a few short clips from our mixing sessions below!
With my utmost thanks always,