On Monday I was with BBC Radio Berkshire recording an Easter service which goes out on Sunday. In total we used 22 microphones, 300 metres of XLR cable, 1 Sony camcorder ( our eyes ) and a Yamaha SL9 mixing console. F.O.H was a pair of Mackie SRM450 active speakers. The service/show was presented by Andrew Peach and had 5 choirs, all recorded into Pro Tools. You can have a listen on Sunday on 104.4fm, DAB and online at BBC Radio Berkshire – Now off to do a gig in Oxford with a band called FORK in the New Theatre.
Microphone technique is largely a matter of personal taste – whatever method sounds right for the particular instrument, musician, and song is right. There is no one ideal microphone to use on any particular instrument. There is also no one ideal way to place a microphone. Place the microphone to get the sound you want. However, the desired sound can often be achieved more quickly by understanding basic microphone characteristics, sound-radiation, properties of music instruments and acoustic fundamentals.
When multiple microphones are used, the distance between each microphone should be at least three times the distance from each microphone to its intended sound source. This will help eliminate phase cancellation. For example, if two microphones are placed one foot from their sound sources, the distance between the microphones should be at least three feet. (3 to 1 Rule)
This track was played all over Australia, the third country I hit which signified I had reached the other side of the world! Now that I’m home, the track that reminds me most of my time in Oz is from Rihanna – played in all the bars, clubs and Australian radio stations. It was high in the charts at home in the UK too. The track is We Found Love featuring Calvin Harris. I have fond memories of dancing on tables in The Woolshed Cairns to this tune – great atmosphere!
My second Around the World In 7 Soundtracks is from Koh Phangan Thailand (the full moon party island) and comes from Kelly Rowland – Lay It On Me.
This track always reminds me of a barman we met called JJ! He fell in love with this track and played it constantly at all the pool party’s, gatherings and even at breakfast. It’s a great track and with a good sub it sounded really good drinking Chang Beer by the pool with party lights flickering in the background.
Around the world with 7 soundtracks blog posts will feature my most memorable music that has stuck in my head from each country I visited during my round the world trip. One track from each country – a sort of roundup of my amazing six month adventure travelling around the world, starting with India.
There are a few records that have stuck with me and will always remind me of the time I spent in India, but my most memorable is the soundtrack to Bollywood movie Bodyguard. Read my earlier post from India Bollywood to read all about my experience watching a Bollywood film in a real Indian cinema – it’s quite different! Although I didn’t understand much of the language the music was really catchy and plays on and on in your head, and also it’s played everywhere. The track is called ‘Teri Meri’ sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & Shreya Goshal. I can’t resist mentioning a second track I blogged about from Goa – it’s by an artist called Akcent, and the track’s called Stay With Me. It’s more upbeat, sure to get you moving and was played in all shops, restaurants and bars in Goa! To listen visit Dance Scene In Goa, but be warned it’ll stay with you all day!
As part of Winterlude festival in Ottawa Canada I took part in a ‘sound walk’ narrated by Antoine Bédard, which I heard about through Twitter. It’s an hour long walk around the city of Ottawa exploring the relationships between music and architecture. Inspired by the city’s buildings, 10 local composers created music to reflect key buildings on the walk that together create a sonic portrait of the architectural landscape in the capital centre. The composers include Crush Buildings, Meat Parade, Andree prefontain, Montag, H. De Heutz, A Tribe Called Red, Kingdom Shore, My Dad vs Yours, Adam Saikaley, Math Rosen, and PH. Armed with an mp3 player, headphones and a map, I explored the route through sound – a completely different way to experience a city.
One of my favourite pieces is by PH titled C.D. HOWE BLDG. It’s a more up-beat piece than the rest and presented at the end of the sound walk it leaves you deep in thought as you are drawn into the bulding looking at the reflections of surrounding architecture.
To keep people’s spirits up in the freezing cold winter temperatures in Canada they hold winter festivals in lots of the big cities. I went to the one held in Ottawa called Winterlude and another in Montreal called Montreal En Lumiere.
There’s everything you’d expect at a festival including music, food, drink, activities, and some winter special extras like ice sculptures, sledge rides and animation screenings. With the temperatures often dipping below -20 (degrees celcius!) in the evenings, the DJs and musicians are kept warm in heated plastic bubbles.
At Montreal En Lumiere I saw Montreal-based electro-dance DJ Abeille who had the crowd going mad from her opening track Van Hooft & Forever Kid Remix of Whitney Houston – How Will I Know, in memory of the late Whitney Houston. The atmosphere was electric, especially because everyone watching the performances had to dance to keep warm!
Whilst I was walking down ‘the Hollywood walk of fame’ in downtown LA I was hollered by a young rapper by the name of Rizen Appling, who is promoting his debut album Swagg Nation by handing out his cds to people passing by. I’ve listened to the album briefly and it reminds me of London rapper Tinie Tempah.
Have a listen to Rizen’s tracks from Swagg Nation below, and let me know what you think by commenting on the post to the top right or tweeting me @barrycoxhead
Bula! Music in Fiji is very important people are always singing and we arrived in Fiji paradise to a traditional welcome song and dance at the airport.
The pace of life in Fiji is slow and chilled, which is reflected in the music – reggae and cheery remixes of pop hits and classics (they’re a bit out of date). At first me and my fellow travellers all thought this was BRILLIANT and really cool, listening to Justin Bieber remixed in reggae style is quite an improvement. With verbal voice-overs, Casio-style beats adding predictable chord changes, and the occasional air horn sound effect, all the songs sound very similar and easily mix into each other. After two weeks of being stranded on little islands (not complaining or anything!), listening to these happy-go-lucky remixes began to get a bit repetitive. The good thing about them is they are very easy to dance to, meaning that there’s always a good atmosphere whenever the music is being played.
Here are a few of my most memorable Fijian tunes. For the full effect, imagine you are lying in a hammock on a white sandy beach with an ice-cold Fiji Bitter. Vinaka.
After visiting the hot sulphurous pools in Hamner Springs New Zealand, I went to a local music venue where a guy called Willie McArthur was playing a live gig. A Scotsman originally from Kirkcaldy in Fife, Willie moved over to New Zealand as a busker to get his name out there before he became a professional entertainer. His music ranges from traditional Scottish and Irish folk songs (often with a humorous twist), Kiwi rock, pop and blues. Mixing numerous instruments and sounds during one song, it’s all played live with no backing tracks – sometimes hard to believe if you close your eyes and listen to the number of sounds he produces at any one time!
Willie is a talented multi-tasking musician. He plays Harmonica (his lead instrument), Guitar, Mandolin, Stomp Box, and a “Jambourine”. Jambourine is a Willie-invented instrument made up by a kick pedal attached to a tambourine, with a sure headset microphone attached to the back of it to pick up every sound. His Stomp Box is also homemade – a hollow box in the shape of a triangle with a guitar pickup microphone on the back which picks up every tap of his foot, sounding like a soft kick drum.
If this isn’t enough, he is also his own engineer bringing his own PA system comprising of anAER Domino Acoustic Amplifier, H&K LUCAS XT and two H&K LUCAS 1000’s which ranges from a 100W compact system to a 2000W full stage rig.
He presents himself as a five piece one-man-band and has now been involved in professional music for fifteen years, playing mostly Celtic music during his time in New Zealand. Being a solo musician has it’s advantages; “As I play by ear, Ican fit easily into any musical situation” he says.
His music is influenced by the likes of The Pogues, Christy Moore, and Eric Clapton. If you are visiting Christchurch or Hamner Springs you will be likely to catch Willie McArthur playing at one of the many live music venues around the area.