HomeJulien's BlogStudio DiaryThe Light Beyond The Shades

Lost versions of the album

I've been working on the mix on my second album for weeks now. I think I can say I've never worked as much on a mix. Mixing my first album was not easier at all but in a way, I didn't care about it as much at that time and I was maybe less exigent with myself. Today, I feel that my way of listening to music has changed, I care about everything that happens in a song like the sound of the kick drum or what kind of reverb is used on vocals.

So my way of mixing has evolved too, or maybe it's the other way round... I spent a lot of time on mixing vocals especially. As you may know, I'm passionate about 70's prog rock and 70's music and I read a lot about how vocals were mixed at that time. I don't pretend to be able to produce the sound of this era of course, but it's truly inspiring to read about the recording and mixing of classic tracks and help to get closer to the sound I search for.

Continue reading

It's been a while since I wrote in the studio diary but this is for good reasons. I've been very busy on finishing "song II". This particular song was quite hard to wrap up but I finally did it! I just need to improve the mixing a bit. I did the artwork with Marie's help, found a new title, so I plan to release it on Patreon very soon!

If "Song II" is quite epic, the real long epic extravaganza is the third song of the album. I spent the last weeks recording the missing vocal parts and some guitar solos. It went very well! I need to record only one last chorus and I'm done with it. I'd like to add Marie's vocals here and there but it shouldn't take too much time. A huge work on mixing is waiting for me on this one : Around 60 tracks and many different moods and atmospheres.

At last but not least, "Erin Shores (part two)"! Recorded and nearly mixed! I can't wait to release it as well, I succeeded to record the finale I had in mind.

So as you can see, the "to do list" tends to shrink hopefully. And I finally found the title of this album, which symbolises for me the beginning of the end in the process of making an album. We are working on the CD illustrations as well.


Work in progress

A quick entry in the studio diary to let you know that the recording process continues and goes pretty well! I worked a lot the last few days on some guitar solo, I think that it remains only one finale epic guitar solo to record but I keep it for the end... Second part of "Erin Shores" is nearly done (vocals and instruments), the second track is nearly done as well (still some vocals to record again) and still some vocals on the rest of the album. I don't want to say too much as it will reveal the track list which is not definitive yet 😉

So it goes quite well and I'm starting to feel I'm closer to the end than ever and I'm thinking about the album title, the artwork and everything... I already have some ideas about the concept but nothing too clear unlike my first album when things came quite quickly (title and artwork). Anyway, the upcoming week will be dedicated to recording vocals. It's not the moment to slow down, I need to conclude this second album as I have more songs waiting impatiently to be recorded...

Now playing : Storm Corrosion

During the last couples of weeks, I've been working on recording bass.

Bass Pedalboard

Well, actually, I've been busy searching for the best sounds I could get from my new "two tracks recording" rig (picture below). I started to record only one track using the great Tech VT Bass Deluxe unit but it appears that a second VT Bass unit would be really useful to record two tracks at the same time with two different settings, a classic SVT clean sound and a heavier 70's overdrive sound.

I could have used a bass simulation software to get that sound but I was not very convinced. I'm also using my other Supa Fuzz clone (Supa Bender) to get some Mike Rutherford kind of bass fuzz. As the result is quite satisfying, I started to record some tracks and got some nice takes. So the next weeks will still be dedicated to bass recording.

Hi everyone! Here is the traditional playlist, the music I listen to the most and inspire me a lot these days. I guess you already know this album but if you don't, I can't recommend you enough to check out Astra's The Weirding album. It is space psychedelic progressive rock at its best!

March 2012 Playlist

By the way, I'm on vacation for a week so I take the train tomorrow, early in the morning, to record some vocals at Spleen Arcana HQ. I'll record with my usual favorite setup, an Oktava MK319 and a Great River preamp. I'll only have three days so I plan to work on the most epic parts there and record the rest of the vocals here in Paris. Stay tuned...

I'm back from Lyon with David's drum tracks on my hard drive.

It was a great recording session though very intensive. Actually, it seems that we had a lot more to do than for the first album. We both feel that drums have gone further and David had many great ideas. I was always asking for more and he did a really great job! I can't wait to hear the result on my studio speakers and start to mix the drums. Actually, they already sound great.

Unlike the first album, I won't tweak the drums so much. David's drumkit sound is stunning! Very open and natural. We worked hard on every parts, spending hours and hours in this small dark room searching for the best fills. We hope you will enjoy the result as much as we do. Next step is the vocal recordings and then bass recordings.

Recording drums

Tama Starclassic from above. We are particularly glad of how the snare, the kick and the second tom sound. This time, I recorded the snare with two microphones and it sounds so much better! We used three Shure SM57's and one SM58, one Sennheiser e609, two Oktava MK012's and one Shure Beta 91. A better set of microphones than what I used before.

Home studio… on the road

Toshiba Satellite in action with a M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8r which worked smoothly with a very crystal clear sound. It was great to record drums with Reaper for the first time, it worked flawlessly!

Drums drums drums

Beautiful Meinl Byzance ride.


August 2011 Playlist

Drum recordings will start on Saturday. I'm leaving Paris à 6am for Lyon where I'll record David at his rehearsal room. Unlike Spleen Arcana's first album, this time David will play on his own drumkit, a Tama Starclassic, which is a far better model than mine. So I guess we'll find a better sound!

For gearheads, my recording setup will consist of my Toshiba Satellite laptop with a brand new M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8r. I'll also bring my Joemeek VC1Q mainly for its compressor that I'm used to put on the kick or snare. My daw of choice remains my faithful Reaper.

Testing the Maudio on my laptop. Seems to work well :)

Testing the Maudio on my laptop. Seems to work well 🙂

Stay tuned for upcoming updates from the drum recording sessions...

Subscribe to Spleen Arcana's newsletter

Curious? View previous campaigns.