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Recording of the Pressure Fractures - part 2

Year 2011 started to came to its end, Joni moved to the Sweden, and we were flat broken, everyone. I had to sell my reel-tape recorder, which was used in legendary Finnish record company called the "Love Records" a long time ago. I figured that I have to be ready to sell all my instruments, if that´s the only way to fund the project. Harri luckily was able to get some money, so we managed to continue with the recordings.

I got to know Marko Hirvi, aka Mac Mavis through one of my friends, who introduced Mac to me. Some years ago I had made my first CD called "Spiral Archives" under the artist name "NÖE". It was a combination of electronica, ambient, and sort of a sci-fi theme. Project was prototype for me how to create CD-publication from the beginning to final product. My friend though that maybe I would be interested about Mac´s recordings. I did, indeed.

Mac showed to me his small, but efficient studio in the East-Helsinki, few kilometers from where I lived. I told that our project is in half-way now, and we need now someone who can finalize the recordings with us. Since Dave was occupied with this touring and with other projects, we transported the whole project to Mac´s studio.

If you are interested about technology, here´s a short explanation: Export songs from the Pro Tools as "AAF" > zip each song to own archive > burn them to DVD ( CD:s won´t be enough ) if you don´t have internet connection from the recording computer ( not recommended to use net connection in studio, my opinion.) -> transport them via external HD ( be sure that your mac-disk work in PC ) or via FTP to customer -> customer has to import them to his own system. We had problem to use external disks ( file systems didn´t cope ) so easiest way was to use FTP.

Please note that we don´t have ProTools in Mac´s studio. Mac uses SAMPLITUDE, which is PC-based software. First, we had to update the Samplitude-version so that it would support the AAF export/import. And it worked ! All the tracks were just like in the Seasound Studio ! Only the effects were dropped off, but that wasn´t problem, since we had just recorded the instrument tracks, no adjustments, no effects. But no time-track problems, at all.

Following months, through the winter me and Mac started to record keyboards, and I  also started to create vocals for the new songs, Sami had two sessions when we recorded bass lines again for most of the songs. Mac improved his gear with top-of-the-art class echo processor, which we tested a bit during some test mixing.

Since Joni, our guitar hero, was now in Stockholm, we had to arrange a way to continue. Joni created guitar-studio into his house, and used mainly Audacity program, several guitar effects, amps and so on. He was able to create good sounds there, and I arranged again FTP service for him.

Sami tried also similar method for two songs, and it worked all right.

Again we had some misfortune, Joni had some sticky flu, and he was a bit off-line from the project during the spring, until in the Mach he started to pull together guitar tracks. Me and Mac were anxious to start the mixing process, so there was a bit "pressure" again in the air.

Finally recordings were over: in the beginning of May we started the mixing process. Mac had basic rules ready for the most of the tracks, since we did minimal variation in instruments, drums were basically same through the session, no changes in the miking systems, bass tracks were "powered" with tube amplifier, which Mac build by him self from the components. A really talented musician and technician also.!

I used a mostly Korg x5d keyboard, cheap keyboard but sounds are similar with M1. Using a Leslie-type of cabin, we created nice hard-rock organ sound for "Far Away".  In some tracks we used old analog Yamaha keyboard. I tried to keep my playing in minimal level, since too much keyboards would soften the music perhaps more and too much keyboard solo´s would turn songs into the "Look...two hands! "demonstrative level. I was happy if Joni would do the "cream" for our "cake".

After each session with Mac, I exported the trial versions of the songs to other guys via net service, so that they could comment the songs in every phase. Harri was the main arranger in this phase, I just concentrated to run the whole project in general level, and of cource did my part, keyboards and vocal tracks.

As everyone who has been in similar situation: you are near the end, and you start to loose your speed. I tried to take some distance form the project, trying just to wait until Joni was ready, but it didn´t work. I spend hours and hours in our net service, checking is there any new tracks.

Then I found solution, I started to watch "Babylon5" sci-fi series from the DVD, and doing whatever I felt was necessary with the project. in April-2012, I started to develop the CD booklet, which is another task itself...

Due our inexperience, maybe 30% of keyboards were recorded beforehand, about 50% of bass lines, and 90% of guitars. Some songs like "Symphony of the fools" were created totally based on only the drum tracks, "Backstabber" was drums and Joni´s original guitar riff.  "Pressure Fractures, prt 1: Mother" didn´t have its final lyrics, so I had to sing the vocals in Mac´s studio. For most of the songs, I did either the lead vocal or background vocals in Mac´s studio.

But the benefit was that Mac was involved more and more in this project, and he had some great ideas how to do some things. And I always looked what he said or didn´t say. Then I could decide should I try again, again.

next phase: mixing the album