Everything that happens in Vegas does NOT have to stay there and the memory of ASSR’s first master class of 2013 will surely linger with the many Platinum and Gold Attendees, some of whom had traveled to sin city from as far a-field as Montana and South Carolina.
Venue for the event was Studio At The Palms, an oasis of civilization in amongst a sea of Vegas kitsch, bling and ker-ching; implausibly, for a multi-million dollar recording studio, probably the most normal looking space in a couple of square miles.
“Iconic Instrumentals” looked at instrumentals for which Alan is rightly renown, with the recording of a new Alan Parsons theme. Sportingly, Alan admitted to the assembled cast first thing on Day 1 that he had suffered writer’s block and that the composition was still fairly embryonic. Silver lining was that Alan had not one but two themes on the boil, both of which ended up being recorded and mixed during the event.
Alan was flanked by a top-notch list of Vegas musicians including Pat Caddick, Jimmy Crespo, Craig Martini, Eddie Rich, and Adam Shendal (replacing Aynsley Dunbar who'd originally been slated for the session). Alan ran down the first tune–a lively, blues-infused rocker, subsequently entitled 702 Rock (the Area Code for Las Vegas)–in the studio for a live tracking session comprising bass, drums, keys (organ), and sax. Even though the sax would later be replaced, spill was a remarkably minor problem due to Alan’s positioning of the players and his mic selection–the first of many ‘wow’ moments for Attendees.
The second track–originally just entitled “Slushy” by Alan, but now the bearer of a new name, Lisa’s Theme, initially featured acoustic piano, bass, drums, and guitar before going on to be fully orchestrated with (real) flute and alto sax, acoustic guitar and a plethora of strings and additional wind instruments courtesy of keyboardist Pat Caddick’s well-endowed VST collection within his MUSE Receptor unit.
Day 2 opened with a breakout session from Dave Polich, who is currently David Foster’s sound designer/programmer and who is widely acknowledged as the guru of the Yamaha Motif platform. Dave also wowed Attendees with a forthcoming sound effects library that contains a staggering recreation (not a sample) of both the clocks and ‘Money’ loop from Dark Side Of The Moon, a recording originally engineered of course by You Know Who.
After more than 50 tracks of recording across two new compositions, Day 2 concluded with a 5.1 Surround mix of Lisa’s Theme in Studio At The Palms’ Studio Y room followed by a guided playback of some landmark ‘surround’ mixes Alan has worked on including tracks by Pink Floyd and Al Stewart.
Master Class Training Sessions are unique training / learning events. Attendees are not simply observing a recording session or listening to a lecture on recording, they are participants. Platinum Attendees actually get to work with Alan on concepts, decisions, choices, takes; fully participating in the cut and thrust, ups and downs, as well as moments of hilarity that happen during a professional recording session. Here in Las Vegas, Gold level Attendees in the ‘Video Village’ also had a remarkable birds-eye view (in Studio Y) where they were not only able to see everything that went on but hear everything on studio monitors.
The icing on these tasty cakes are the breaks and end-of-session Reception where there’s the opportunity to share a drink with Alan Parsons, ask questions and hang with a like-minded engineers, producers, musicians, educators or just plain music enthusiasts.
Actually, only Studio At The Palms gets to stay in Vegas. The message, memories and music created during this inspirational 2-day event was for all who were present to take home and keep forever.