Now there we were, back in London November 2015 and about to undertake two master-class recording sessions at Abbey Road with Alan Parsons at the helm. Returning to Abbey Road Studios to celebrate and reconnect to a place Alan's often considered his musical-spiritual home and, in that spirit, with the Art and Science of Sound Recording along with our Californian team to share and promote the art of studio recording. Even through the early English winter, we aim to stay exclusively committed, regardless of platform or space or reason, to good sound. What sounds good, is good for us.
Something that still sounds good today: Abbey Road Studio 1, and 2 and 3 through a Neumann U47 microphone. Something else that still sounds good today: The Beatles and Pink Floyd records. We know a studio (or band) of this caliber isn’t exactly accessible to everyone. But what is accessible, are the things seen and learned from Alan during the events. Details, and ways of thinking that can be translated into any home studio, any approach to recording music. Alan has been a part of and created a fair bit of legendary music and has experienced his share of legendary recording sessions. Beatles songs must still be ringing through that appropriately large head because he’s still got a golden pair of ears. And a fair few years experience to back them up.
With all the attendees arriving whilst getting everything set in Studio 3, Day 1 was a rush for the ASSR team. We had the MCTS Featured Artist contest winners there ready to go, a Swedish band called Edward. Led by songwriter Johan Lagerstrom along with Owe Algren and Daniel Jägerholt on bass and drums respectively. Amazingly nice guys, who know their instruments and are no strangers to a real recording session, though not a session quite like this. Two days at Abbey Road Studios with Alan Parsons producing your song, accompanied by 20 musically inclined MCTS attendees there in the studio, watching your every move. Carrying out the whole process from drum micing to mixing, even tracking live to tape.
The band did incredibly well with their song, ‘Dogs’, despite the surprise arrival of Nick Mason in the studio plus Johan’s recent honey craze, a distraction from a sore throat in the run up to vocal time. It might have been a blessing in the end, because by the time Alan was done with the (triple-tracked) chorus for ‘Dogs', it became a sweet-swinging melody with a pleasing hoarseness underneath. Lead vocal done and Johan’s throat shredded, Alan thought fast by enlisting all the attendees as a sudden choir to complete the backing vocals. I think we did pretty good too, but it must have just been the room and the mic placement!
Being part of the session was a treat that no one who was there will ever forget. For those who would have given their eyeteeth for a seat at this table this video-on-demand is as close as you can get. Two days of fly-on-the-wall footage from Abbey Road with Alan Parsons in full flight.
This is not a ProTools training program. It’s not a tip-fest on compression ratios or snare drum EQ. This the story of how a ‘classic style’ ‘musicians playing together in a room’ recording session is conducted, warts ‘n’ all. It’s not intended to be a replacement for the ASSR Art & Science Of Sound Recording video series, which is scripted and edited for the full wham-bam educational experience. With these videos the idea, and hope, is that you will learn by observation, simply by ‘being there.’
So sit back, watch, listen and soak it all up.