Author Archives: shaynewithmwl

Lisa Hannigan – Passengers [NEW MUSIC]

Passenger is the second LP from Irish singer/songwriter Lisa Hannigan. The album was released in the US and Canada on 20 September 2011 and in the Republic of Ireland on 7 October 2011 (brought forward from the originally scheduled date, 21 October). The LP features 11 new tracks

Writing for the album began in late 2009 and throughout 2010 in Ireland and the US. In March 2011, Hannigan revealed the track ‘A Sail‘ as part of her ‘Recording Diaries’ which were shot during the recording of the album in Wales. Available from her youtube page the ‘Recording Diaries’ gave fans the opportunity to go behind the making of the new album. ‘A Sail’ would later be released on her website in August 2011 as a free download. The albums artwork was revealed exclusively in Hot Press magazine and on their website on 5 August 2011. The album is released in Ireland at a later date as Hannigan is on tour throughout the US in September and early October. On the track ‘O Sleep’ it features the vocals of Ray LaMontagne.

The first song available from the album ‘A Sail’ was released as a free download in August 2011 from lisahannigan.ie. The first official single from the album is ‘Knots’, this was released as a download on 12 September 2011 in Europe.

Lisa Hannigan’s US and Canadian tour starts on 27 September 2011 in Los Angeles she will perform for 17 dates on this tour. She will then headline an Australian tour starting at Sydney’sOpera House on 11 November 2011 and finishing in Melbourne on 15 November 2011.In early October Hannigan announced her European dates which begin in the UK. On 13 October 2011 Hanniagn announced her Irish leg of her European tour. Further territories will be announced soon.

 

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

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How To Get Great Kick Drum Sounds [MUSIC HELP]

Kick/Bass drum is what drives rock music. It’s what makes hip hop danceable. It’s how jazz drummers push the band. Such a special drum needs special treatment, especially in the studio!

First and foremost… you need good source material. Sound on Sound interviewed several professional engineers and it was nearly unanimous.

As with recording any instrument, the choice of drum and the manner of its tuning and preparation can make a huge difference to the sound you capture, so this should always be the place to start.

So don’t forget to tune the drums before you record – I wouldn’t recommend the human-ear-sweet-spot positioning method though, unless you want to go deaf. Nile Rodgers goes so far as to say (in the SoS interview)

Even if the band uses one drum kit for the whole record, I want it tuned right for each song. We’ll change the heads or tune it differently, all that kind of stuff. Sometimes we change the beaters… It all depends on how those frequencies are responding to the key of the music, to the pulse of the music. Every record is different, every song is different, every tape is different.

It’s important to note that there are a wide variety of opinions on how to get the best kick drum sound even among sound engineers. These are only some of the possibilities.

Microphone Placement
Joe Chiccarelli likes the two mic approach, which is especially popular in rock music.

“In most situations I tend to use two mics: one inside to gather the impact, and one outside to capture the “tone” – the overall note and picture of the drum.”

If the drummer doesn’t have a hole cut in the front head, or doesn’t want one, you can point a mic at the contact point of the beater on batter head. This will deliver a similar *click* sound to a mic inside the drum. Be careful of sound bleeding into this mic though, since it’s not shielded from the other sounds by the shell of the drum, you’ll need to be wary of phase problems.

Adjusting the distance of the outside mic(s) is the best way to deal with phase problems, but if you don’t have the time to experiment until you have the two mics in phase with each other (maximizing the amount of bass they pick up) you can always add a few ms of delay to one of the mics to get them in phase later on.

Chiccarelli also shares one of his tricks on how to get a processed/low-fi drum sound.

Old cassette decks with built-in limiters can deliver quite a quirky picture of a drum. It instantly sounds like a processed drum loop.

He specifically mentions putting said cassette deck inside the bass drum, to get a squashed sound, as well as putting it in the room to pick up the whole kit.

Equalization
I’m not the first to come up with this, and many other (much more knowledgeable people) have already written up how EQ affects the kick drum sound. Here it is as Laskow states in his Taxi FAQ:

If you need more bottom end, try boosting @ 60 or 100Hz. Try rolling off lower mids (300-700Hz) to get rid of a box-like sound. To add more attack, try boosting in the 1K to 3K range.

For bottom end there is no substitution for running a spectrum analyzer to find the fundamental frequency and boosting that specifically. Believe me it works 100 times better than just randomly boosting some random low frequency.

Also, Boosting between 600-900Hz will give you more punch. If necessary, you can try to reduce bleed from the cymbals by reducing above 3k with a LPF or a High Shelf.

Microphones
Close mics (the ones you put inside the kick, or point at the contact point of the beater) These are for capturing the attack:

For the outside/distance mics, large diaphragm microphones work well to capture the low frequencies:

If you’re only going to use one microphone on the kick, you’re better off using the one that can capture the attack and using a triggering plugin or an exciter to get the low end.

Again, what really matters is that the drums fit the mood/atmosphere of the song, not just “objectively good” drum sounds.

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

The 1922s – Porcupines & Balloons [VIDEO]

It was always gonna be a challenge for the 1922s to follow up their previous EP “In If It Is” (released under their old name Evil Harrisons). Thankfully The 1922s‘ latest single “Porcupines and Balloons” is proof that the band still effortlessly splice catchy melodies together with intelligent song structures. “Porcupines and Balloons” marks not only the beginning of the band as a potent 5 piece (Nicolas moves to piano with Paul Mallon on bass and Paul Campbell on guitar duties.) but it is also the first taste of their eagerly awaited debut album set for release in September. The bouncy lead single showcases the band’s strengths. From Ronan’s soft poetic melodies, Nick’s fluid piano playing to the creative rhythms of Paul Carolan, The 1922s ooze with confidence and style. Catchy melodies and instrumentation are evident as ever, but in sync with the new line up they have taken an exciting new direction which is merely hinted at in their glorious lead single.
The new name and line up change liberated the band, a first sold out show as the 1922s, previewing the album and announcing the line up, was proof enough of the audience’s demand as well as the quality of the material. The recording process for the bands forthcoming self titled album was a long but fruitful process. With 16 tracks, the album demonstrates the range and scope of the band.

Directed by Eamon Murphy, Cameras by Chris Clarke & David McEneaney & Edited by David McEneaney

 

for more info check out – http://the1922s.com/ 

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

 

 

The Skin We’re In – Silhouette [NEW MUSIC]

 

 

Hailing from Newry, Co Down, The Skin We’re In was formed in late Jan 07 when singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Chris “Cricky” Markey wrote and recorded 15 tracks in a 10 day period. He has been writing and recording since and has well over one hundred songs written and recorded. His music is contemporary rock infused with soul, jazz and funk licks drawing from diverse influences from Tom Waits to Prince.

 

To date, the single ‘Something To Prove’ has featured on several nationwide radio stations including Phantom FM, U105 FM, WLRFM and BBC Radio Ulster. The song has also received airplay on XFM London, which led to The Skin We’re In being named one of XFM’s Uploaded winners.

In 2009 The Skin We’re In released their debut EP in 2009 which is now on digital release via iTunes, Napster, Amazon etc. The EP was engineered and co-produced by Tony Perrey and recorded at Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin. In  support of the EP release a live band was set up and the band performed several gigs including support to CODES in Crawdaddy, a slot at the Ruby Sessions and a headlining hometown gig with support from Television Room and We Should Be Dead.


In the past year, Cricky has been writing and recording at his home studio in Newry. When not writing for his own act, he has been writing pop/R&B songs for other artists to record. He is currently putting the finishing touches to his new double album scheduled for release in the new year. A few live nationwide dates have been pencilled in for early 2012.

 

 

 

The lead single from the new album, which has the working title ‘In Minority’, is called ‘Silhouette‘ and will be released in Jan 2012. In the run up to the release, a new non-album track is released for free download @http://soundcloud.com/the-skin-were-in/abandoned. All music by The Skin We’re In is written, arranged, produced and performed by Cricky Markey.

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC   

 

 

 

 

 

AUTUMN LONG – Ten More Reasons [NEW MUSIC]

AUTUMN LONG is Pádraig Digan.

With a line up consisting Leanne Doyle (Violin), Ruairí De Barra (Guitars), Michael Murphy (BASS), and Joe Digan (Drums) the band’s huge sound is a unique blend of infectious songs with haunting melodies.
Pádraig along side producer Karl Odlum has just put the final touches to his debut album “DROWN THE TRUTH” in Abbey Road with Steve Rooke at the desk.

The first single ‘TEN MORE REASONS’ is due for release on the 29th of September, with a launch night in Whelan’s, Wexford St. Dublin.

The a line up consists of Leanne Doyle (Violin), Ruairí De Barra (Guitars), Michael Murphy (Bass) and Joe Digan (Drums), the band’s huge sound is a unique blend of infectious songs with haunting melodies.

Pádraig cut his teeth live over the last 10 years in venues across Ireland, the UK and Germany both supporting and playing along side the likes of Damien Rice, Glen Hansard, Lisa Hannigan, Ann Scott and Paddy Casey to name but a few. Now with AUTUMN LONG he is set to take to the road, with the intention of bringing a captivating collection of songs to ears everywhere.

AUTUMN LONG a true original with a collection of musicians most
certainly to be reckoned with

for more check out his Facebook 

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Stewart Agnew – Look How The Stars Turn On [NEW MUSIC]

One of Ireland’s most refined singer songwriters, Stewart Agnew, is emerging from his self-imposed musical exile clasping a clutch of AOR masterpieces to his chest in the shape of his third album, Hello Bright Spark (Trick Records), which will be released on 30 September, simultaneously with the single, “Look How The Stars Turn On”.

With initial writing and pre-production sped along by contributions from Lou Natkin and Paul Wilkinson, Stewart headed into the studio in May 2011. Renowned producer Roger Bechirian (The Undertones, Elvis Costello, Bell X1) took control of the console and in a whirlwind of eighteen studio days in the depths of leafy Westmeath the 10 songs that resulted offer slivers of magic and moments of sublime comfort. All of which makes for an album of light, optimism and progression that can’t fail to appeal, both musically and lyrically, to the broadest possible audience.

Agnew has expanded on the palate suggested by his previous albums (Tailor Made and, more recently, Songs From The Gasstation) displaying a pop-nous and songwriting maturity previously only glimpsed at.

In an era of insanely accelerated pop careers burnouts and X-factor pot-celebrity the Hello Bright Spark harks back to an era when craft, time and emotion meant so much more.

Stewart has played live with everyone from Ron Sexsmith (who guested on the last album) and Gemma Hayes to Mick Flannery and Beth Orton, Josh Ritter & Duke Special.

Stewart will be strummin’ it onstage at The Spirit Store, Dundalk with full band in tow – Justin Lawless (electric guitars), Ken Murphy (bass), Anthony Clark (piano, guitar & vocals) & Phil Wilkinson (drums & percussion) on Thursday, 06 October as start of a national tour. Enjoy the single video above and pick up a copy of Hello Bright Spark in all the usual download spots.

keep up to date with all things Agnew @ stewartagnew.com

 

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

 

Desertshore ft. Mark Kozelek: “Mercy” [NEW MUSIC]

For his sophomore LP with keyboardist Chris Connolly as Desertshore, ex-Red House Painters/Sun Kil Moon guitarist Phil Carney recruited his former front-man to sing lead vocals and play bass for several cuts on the 10-track effort.

The result of their latest collaboration, Drawing of Threes, won’t arrive in full until November 22, you can hear Mark Kozelek stepping out of the shadows of last year’s subdued SKM record on “Mercy,” an understated acoustic gem from the LP streaming below.

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Giuliano Baglioni : Behind The Board [INTERVIEW]

Q01 Who are you, What do you do & where are you based?

My name is Giuliano Baglioni and I’m a producer/engineer based in Canada

Q02 What album,track,gig or producer inspired you to end up behind a mixing board.

In Through The Outdoor -(Led Zeppelin)

Breakfast in America-(Supertramp)

My Way- (Elvis Presley)

were albums around the house that I was exposed to at a young age and I remember listening to, In Through The Outdoor during the summers not even knowing anything about the band, just liked the sound of the drums, guitars and songs overall. Fast forward some years and discovered one producer in particular with a signature to his sound, (Daniel Lanois) which is, big ,warm and dimensional.

Q03 Where did you study your trade?

I’m self taught

Q04 What advice do you have for any budding engineers out there?

Learn as much as you can and be well versed around a studio environment, ie, tuning guitars, repairing cables ,cleaning parts in an analog mixer and most important,,,trouble shooting.

Q05 What people in the biz do you look up to or aspire to be like?

Well one of my favorites is Jimmy Page, not only as a guitarist but also composer and producer

Q06 Analog or Digital? Tape or DAW? Outboard or Plugin?

There’s pro’s and cons but a good balance of both for me

Q07 What 3 pieces of gear could you not live without?

I would have to say guitar’s first for me, then studio gear would be my

1960 compressor

the 1176 compressor

and Neve 1073 pre -amp.

Q08 What do you think is the best mixed record of all time?

Hard question to answer, there’s so many and the production is a big part of it but some of my favorites are –

Wrecking Ball (Emmylou Harris)

Robbie Robertson -self tilted

Passion (Peter Gabriel)

Mustt Mustt (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan)

Audioslave (Revelations)

Freddie Mercury (Barcelona)

Raising Sand (Robert Plant, Alison Krauss)

Q09 What do you do on your downtime from Studio/Live?

I like traveling when I get the chance and escaping to my cousins cottage, north country

Q10 If you werent an engineer, what would you be doing instead?

Good question, I’m sure I’d being doing something in the music field

Q11 What was your 1st professional album,mix/master job?

It was the recording studio, learning the trade and then having invites, starting with Temptation by Holly Cole.

Q12 What is some of the recent works you’ve been part of?

Actually my recent work, which is not pressed yet is with Ireland’s dREA, former front man of (Vesta Varro) and is set to be released in the new year.

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

The Man Whom – The Greatest Event [NEW MUSIC]

The Man Whom is the moniker for Wexford-based singer songwriter, producer/composer and multi-instrumentalist Ian Doyle. The Greatest Event is his debut Album. With the help of musicians and friends, Brian Hassett (bass), Christian Best (drums), Doyle and his band retreated to the seclusion of a house in Kilrane Village and worked intensely to record the majority of the album. The piano parts were …subsequently recorded in the local arts centre.

Further contributions to Doyle’s album include polished string arrangements written by composer Peter Fahey and performed by the Mamisa Quartet, as well as local guitarist Clive Barnes who played peddle steel for the current single Over and Under.

For the finishing touches, Doyle went to Exchequer Studios, Dublin with producer Brian Crosby and mixing engineer Phil Hayes who shaped and honed the original recordings. The result is an album which is the sum of its parts, held together by a shoestring and interwoven with the goodwill of creative, talented friends.

WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID :

Hotpress 4.5/5

Sing Till There’s No Songs Left’ features emotive harmonies, uplifting brass, and swagger in spades. ‘Over And Under’ brims with good vibes, while ‘Leavin This Town’, with its unsettling melancholy, is a handsome tune with a lyrical edge that makes it relevant to these forlorn times. The string-tinged and choral ‘Easier To Run’ is almost illegally heart-breaking, while the restrained ‘Call All The People’ climbs with uncanny power, with Doyle taking it to higher and higher levels of elation. ‘Puppeteers’ is a long-held favourite of mine and ‘Til It’s Gone’ wraps it all up so you want to start all over again. The Greatest Event has enough charm and inventiveness to fill your head and nourish your soul. Eat it.

The Sunday Times ****
A slick production with accomplished musicians, elaborate scores and scrupulous string arrangements. Call all the People has the heartfelt passion of an anthem, including melodic bursts of melancholia, while Sing Till There’s No Songs Left, I know your Face, and Over and Under, the current single, strike all the right chords.

News of the World on Sunday ****
This debut album from Wexford man Ian Doyle takes the joyousness of Sufjan Stephens and the unusual phrasing of Villagers, filtering those elements into an eventful listen.

The Irish Times***
“New name, fresh approach, adventurous songwriter: that’s Wexford’s The Man Whom (aka Ian Doyle) for you. Songs such as I Know Your Face and The Man Who Knew Too Much display Doyle’s nifty craftsman- like process, while Call All the People and Autopilot highlight a working knowledge of the kind of music and musings that have gained him comparisons to Villagers and Neil Young. Out of the blue, then – another new, good Irish singer-songwriter”.

for more check out http://www.themanwhom.com

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Perfect Monitoring [MUSIC HELP]

Think of your studio monitors as a window through which to view your mix. If that window is dirty or the glass warped, then your view becomes distorted. So In audio terms, working in an inaccurate monitoring environment means that every decision you make, be it balance, equalization or panning, is based on a distorted perception of your mix. The result will be mixes that will sound great in your studio, but don’t translate well to other systems. In this tip we’re going to explore the key factors involved and see what you can do to make the best of your monitoring situation.
Although The Yamaha HS80M monitors (above) aren’t ruler-flat they perform pretty well without any major peaks and troughs and a good bass extension. However the Yamaha MSP3’s (below) are somewhat less accurate with a more significant rippling across the mid & top end. The bass / lower-mid is somewhat recessed and the very low end rolls off early with a pronounced bass port ‘bump’
Room Acoustics:
Room acoustics play a significant part in shaping the sound that arrives at your ears. In addition to the direct sound from the monitors there will inevitably be some reflected sound bounced off walls, ceilings and any other surfaces in your studio. Because these arrive slightly delayed (having travelled further) they will cause phase cancellations / additions, affecting the tonal balance of the sound you hear. In the worst cases (think small box rooms with shiny wooden floors) the reflections may be almost as loud as the direct sound creating a very confused sound (like listening to your mix through a reverb plugin).
All rooms (and objects) will also have a what is called a resonant frequency, the frequency at which they will start to ring, a bit like a tuning fork. If your room exhibits an obvious ring then, again this can affect the accuracy of your monitoring. In the same way as you can identify frequencies to cut when EQing, set up a narrow EQ boost, turn up your speakers and sweep the EQ up and down, you’ll probably hear that certain frequencies jump out.
Full room treatments can run into tens of thousands of pounds, but there are plenty of solutions that you can implement on the cheap: Move your speakers away from walls to prevent any early reflections – particularly out of corners which will cause a noticeable bass boost. In an ideal world the distance between your speakers the nearest surface would be at least twice the distance between you and the speakers. If you have a shiny wood floor then a rug will make a noticeable difference with the added benefit of being cosy under foot and try to break up any other flat surfaces with furniture (a sofa or bookcase along the back wall is a good option).
With the home studio revolution the cost of actual acoustic treatment has hit the floor so for just over £100 Universal Acoustics offer a kit that includes 20 acoustic tiles and 2 bass traps. With tiles placed directly above, beside and behind the listening position a kit like this is a very cost-effective way to get a decent sounding room up to scratch.
If you’re going to get serious about treatment then it’s worth spending some time working out the flaws of your room and the designing a solution to suit that need, using a variety of tiles and traps to absorb and diffuse different frequencies.
Speaker Quality:
Perhaps the most obvious variable at play is speaker quality. In general the flatter the frequency response the better, as any significant peaks or troughs will result in the opposite peak / trough in the tonal balance of your mix – bright monitors will create dull-sounding mixes and visa-versa. You also want to use monitors with a decent bass extension, particularly if dance music is your thing, as the bass-end is always a tricky area to judge. A bass driver around 8 inches is usually provides sufficient reach, but you might want to complement smaller systems with a matching sub.
If a manufacturer doesn’t supply a frequency plot as part of their technical specs then that’s usually a bad sign, but specs should only ever be a guide, the real proof is in the listening.
Positioning:
You can have the flattest sounding monitors in the world but if you don’t position them and yourself correctly you won’t be receiving the full benefit. The ideal listener position is commonly refereed to as the ‘sweet spot’. If you imagine a triangle with speakers at two of the corners and you at the third, the distance from you to each speaker should be the same as the distance between the two speakers (probably around a metre for most home/project studios). The speakers should also be angled inwards to focus the sound directly at each ear with the treble driver at roughly ear height. Just as with microphones, the off-axis frequency response of speakers (i.e. outside the sweet spot) is often a lot more uneven.
It might sound obvious but you also want to avoid any obstacles, such as computer monitors or mixer meter bridges sitting between you and the speakers (an all too common sight even in commercial facilities). And you should lay out the rest of your kit so that during any critical listening you will be sitting in the sweet spot. As more and more production work becomes computer-focused the traditional setup of mixer between the two speakers and computer to one side is an increasingly imperfect solution.
Finally, you want  to make sure that your speakers are decoupled from the surface they sit on to avoid them vibrating in sympathy with your speakers and colouring the sound. Genelec’s 8000 series monitors feature an integrated decoupling and positioning system (called Iso-Pod)  that both minimizes vibrations and allows for precise angling of each monitor. But separate foam-based decoupling products are also available from companies such as Auralex that sit under your monitors and acoustically isolate them from the surface below. Beside the beneficial acoustic properties these will also help protect any other studio equipment on the same surface from potentially damaging low frequency vibrations.
Volume and Listening Behaviour:
Research by Fletcher and Munson in the 1930s demonstrated that the human ear’s frequency sensitivity varies with volume. These Fletcher-Munson Curves, as they have become known, show that at low volume we are most sensitive to the mid range and that as volume increases our hearing starts to flatten out. But monitor too loud and you run the risk of creating tracks that will sound bass-light in a typical listening situation. And of course there is also the issue of damage to hearing.
83db SPL has established itself as a good balance between a flat listening experience and safe listening level and in a future production tip we’ll run through how to calibrate your setup. An important part is working with at a fixed monitoring level and avoiding the temptation to gradually turn up the volume over the course of a session. So find a comfortable listening level and keep it there, only turning up when you need to hear the detail in a particular mix element.
Go forth and monitor accurately!
By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC