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Dead Neanderthals – Endless Voids

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]For the 2014 Incubate Festival, Dead Neanderthals were given a location and timeframe to do something special.A blog about the recording , mix and master of Endless Voids.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Dead Neanderthals – Endless Voids
Released 25 May 2015 on Alone Records.
AR-056LP & AR-056CD
c&p Dead Neanderthals / Alone Records

http://deadneanderthals.bandcamp.com/album/endless-voids[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5198″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”yes” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]The Cubase Endless Voids mixing project. Use ”view image” to see all automation used for this project.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

Introduction:

For the 2014 Incubate Festival, Dead Neanderthals were given a location and timeframe to do something special. Otto and Rene decided to invite extra musicians to performs with them on stage. This ended up being 6 extra musicians, being Colin Webster, Dirk Serries, Rutger ZuyderveldPeter Johan NÿlandThomas Martin Ekelund and Steven Vinkenoog.

The entire performance ended up being  a 80 minute long drone.
A drone is a musical piece which continiously evolves and changes.
To make sure the entire performance didn’t end up as the wrong kind of chaos ( yes there is ”good” chaos”) a couple of rehearsals were organised with a few of the quest musicians.
The drone was globally divided in 5 parts, which were happening at a certain time.
A clock was used at the live gig to keep everyone on track of the time.  A fail safe chord was agreed on for everyone to fall back to, to help create a uniform sound.

The performance / recording:

The live performance was held at Theaters Tilburg, a theater in Tilburg (NL).
This ended up being the perfect setting for the audience to undergo the entire performance.
I was asked to mix the live performance and to record it simultaneously.
Fortunately for me, the Theaters Tilburg recently switched to digital Digico mixers having MADI out. They even provided a laptop to record everything from the mixer as multitrack into the laptop.
The tracks were recorded post gain, pre- fader and pre- effects to give me the raw input of every mic. The recording went without any hassle, which enabled me to focus on the live mix.

We ended up using 21 tracks. There were recorded with following mics/di’s –  which immediately tells which instruments were used:

For Rene’s drums we used 7 tracks –  Shure sm57 snare,Sennheiser  e604 for the 2 toms,  Neumann KM184 as overheads, Shure beta52 as kickmic, Neumann KM184 for the gong.

We used 2 MD421’s for the saxes of Colin and Otto, a MD421 for Steven’s guitar and a MD441 for Dirk’s guitar. Thomas’s Moog synth was DI’d with 2 DI’s. Rutger’s soundscapes were 2 DI’s too..
And for Peter’s sounds /soundscapes too.  We used 4 room mics, two at either side of the stage ( Neumann KM184’s) and two at the mixing desk. ( Sennheiser MD21’s)

The live performance received awesome reviews:

“Surprising, amazing, forward-thinking (whatever that maybe) and giving you a lasting experience”

Nº 1 show at Incubate according to Louder Than War.

“My goodness, this is impressive…”

Cassette Culture.

“our festival highlight”

Incendiary Magazine.

“truly brilliant”

Luifabriek.

“a relentless climax”

Gonzo (circus).

The Endless Voids mix:

The next step was to take these recordings and mix them. After a first listen it became pretty evident this was going to take some time considering all the details happening. The live experience is of course different then listening to it on for instance headphones.
We decided on doing several mix sessions. I did a first run through to create an overall balance and filter out some obstrusive frequencies. The later mix sessions were all done with either Rene or Otto and Rene in the studio.
With a session as this, being 80 minutes long with slow evolving sounds, you don’t simply skip from one part to the next. You need to listen a longer amount of time to make sure the balance is correct or needs tweaking. Every time taking minutes to listen. Going back a bit is easily 5-10 minutes back. You can imagine this is all very time consuming.
The key to make this mix work is automation. A lot of automation. Check the screenshot at the left to see every bit of automation used in this project. I won’t point out everything, but for instance Rutger’s soundscapes went from loud to quiet, low frequencies to very high frequencies,  panning left and right.
This also ment different frequencies popping out at different times. A few instances of the Waves Q10 plugn were automated to be activated and deactivated when needed. You can see how much work that involves. Same with the other tracks, especially Thomas’ Moog.

Mastering Endless Voids:

Mastering on the sound end of it was literally a bit of high frequency boost and increasing the overall volume by using a limiter which only really limits a bit in the 3rd act. You can see in the screenshot at the bottom how the overall volume was adjusted for optimal ”listening pleasure”.
The other part of mastering was the different versions needed.
Endless Voids will be released by Alone Records as a pressing of 500 double vinyl and 500 double cd’s. And a digital release of course.
We exported the entire mix as one file for the digital version.
For the double cd we cut the performance in half at a point which was logical and musical, using a long fade in and fade out which overlapped.
For the vinyl we did the same, only used 4 different cuts.

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