The Feedback File’s new album – mixes completed

The Earth Beneath Our Feet is the latest album from Harpenden singer/songwriter John Almond under his Feedback File guise. And today, we finally pressed the GO button on my mixes and off they’ve gone to Safe And Sound Mastering for the eight tracks to be compiled and mastered into the final album.

Amazingly, or alarmingly, depending on your point of view, I started mixing this album very nearly 18 months ago, at the end of 2013. John fed the finished multi-tracks to me, one by one, as they were finished – and in many cases, simply as works in progress.

I was able to add some guitar, programme some drums for a couple of tracks and, most importantly, do mix after mix after mix after mix for John as the songs grew and morphed as the project progressed.

The album features a whole host of musicians and singers: 14 or 15 in total playing instruments as diverse as Djembe and Tenor Sax as well as acoustic guitars, pianos, strings, synths, sound effects, and lots of atmospheric percussion.

The music is hard to pin down: it’s a touch English folk, think Nick Drake perhaps, a touch Americana, think The Decemberists perhaps. But it’s really lovely and it’s great.

Lyrically, it encompasses an equally diverse range of topics: murder, the Derbyshire Peak District, long-lost sing-songwriters and, most bizarre of all, Vera Lynn!

We’re absolutely thrilled with the final eight tracks and can’t wait for the final mastered CD to be in our hot and sweaty hands, ready for distribution. Here’s John looking, sort of, pleased it’s finished at last.

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Too Cool Kid – Epidemic EP

epidemic

Too Cool Kid’s EP-idemic is the latest studio release from the aforementioned one-man band that is TCK. A more mature, bluesier sound perhaps than his first EP, this one follows on the sonic heels of the Swept Up single.

All three new tracks were recorded, mixed and mastered at Atticadia Sound.

As the Smoke Clears features Seth Tackberry, a very gifted young bassist from London, and Double Tap features backing vocals from Noah Bevington, lead singer and writer of popular local folkies, Mortal Tides, for whom Jay (TCK) is currently returning the compliment by popping up at big MT gigs to supply atmospheric (ie very TCK) lead guitar.

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Alicia Catling – Plants (TCK Remix)

alicia catling plants

Alicia Catling is an exciting and highly inventive young psychedlic/folkie singer from Cambridge with a great portfolio of highly quirky and individual songs.

She asked Jay/Too Cool Kid to remix one of her most popular songs, Plants.

The Atticadia Sound remix took the original recording, stripped it back, beefed it up, looped key vocals and generally turned it into a different kettle of fish.

The result was a really interesting and most listenable example of musical cross-fertilisation: rock meets folk meets pop meets psychedelia!

The Vamps – Triple A EP (1979) Remaster

triple a

Originally released in 1979, on bright red vinyl no less, and distributed through Rough Trade, this was the only formal release by Cheltenham-based three-piece, New Wave band The Vamps. (Not to be confused with the current pop band of the same name, of course.)

The leading track on the EP, I Only Saw You. was DJ Mike Read’s Record of the Week on his BBC Radio One show in 79 and was featured regularly on the legendary John Peel Show.

In the intervening years the red EP became a real collectors’ item with blogs all over the globe praising it and lusting after ownership. Only 1000 were pressed, sadly.

I’d never attempted a remaster of a vinyl release before but this turned out well. We realised that the original recording had been sped up in the vinyl mastering stage without the band noticing. It was also narrow and lacking in depth compared to a modern recording.

So I set to work using the wondrous tools of Logic Pro to restore all three tracks to their correct speed, to widen the sound stage, and to make a generally louder, deeper, more involving set of songs.

You can hear I Only Saw You in its remastered form here:

Too Cool Kid – Swept Up

swept upSwept Up is Too Cool Kid’s stunning chart-friendly follow-up to the Algernon EP. A more mature and rounded sound, Swept Up has one of those can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head choruses that shouts ‘hit single’.

The recording shows singer Jay’s increasing confidence in what can be achieved in the studio. It received extensive airplay on release and instantly became an instant live favourite.

Too Cool Kid – The Algernon EP

algernon

The first release from local rock artist, Too Cool Kid, The Algernon EP’s three tracks were entirely recorded, mixed and mastered at Atticadia Sound.

Although very  much a band sound, with big drums, loads of guitars, keys, synths and lots of vocals and effects, Too Cool Kid productions are entirely the brain child of Jay, ‘their’ singer and writer.

The EP received instant critical and fan acclaim and the track Under Your Breath achieved the maximum 20 weeks on the Cambridge 105 new music chart.

Too Cool Kid is now performing live with a shifting line up of musicians.

To hear the EP, just click on a track below!

 

Apology – A Tribute to The Gits

Apology

The Gits was my band at University. Although we’d written dozens of songs in our post-punk, power-pop style, we’d never done a ‘proper’ recording of any of them.

Apology was therefore my attempt to capture a selection of The Gits’ best songs for, ahem, posterity. More importantly, it was my first attempt at trying to recreate the recorded sound of a full band with just me doing all the voices and playing and programming all the instruments, using what was still pretty new digital technology at this time (it was 2000).

I called it Apology as all the Beatles’ Anthology albums of out-takes and unreleased versions of famous tracks were all the rage. Spoof Beatles band The Rutles brought out their own one called Archaeology. So Apology seemed to fit the bill for the never-very serious Gits tribute album.

The album was recorded on my Akai DPS16 with all the electric guitars going via the new-fangled POD digital amp simulator. The famous bright red kidney bean that, arguably, changed the recording of electric guitars forever.

pod

As with the Turiya album, all the drums, keyboards and synth sounds were from my Roland SC880 rack sample bank.

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The sounds were programmed using my Cheetah Midi keyboard into an Alesis MMT8 sequencer.

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My pal Jonathan Roberts, a fellow DPS16 aficionado, and I mastered Apology at his own home studio – Chuck’s Chicken Loft – on a PC running Wavelab. Or was it Ozone? We didn’t really have a clue what we were doing but it came out sounding not too bad at all.

It must be about time for Apology Volume Two, too, as there are still unrecorded gems like Continental Christmas, The Girl in the Red Ferrari and Philippa Philippa to be committed to disc.

Turiya – Love & Healing

turiya

This was the first recording and mixing project for Atticadia Sound involving an outside artist – the yoga-based music of Giles Bryant, performing as Turiya.

Love & Healing is a beautiful album of songs, instrumentals and chants culminating in a spoken, guided meditation. It was also the first album I produced to become commercially available.

The album was recorded, mixed and mastered in (around) 2004 at the old Atticadia Sound in Thaxted on an Akai DPS16 hard disk recorder.

dps16

I used budget outboard reverbs (Lexicon LPX100, Midiverb II) and a POD or Johnson J Station for electric guitars and bass DI. All this stuff is done with software plugins in the Mac these days, of course.

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I then mastered it for professional production and distribution on my TC Electronic Triple C compressor, and created the master CD on a Plextor burner!

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Very gratifyingly, the Love & Healing CD went on to sell hundreds of copies to yoga devotees, teachers and practitioners.

It’s still available from all good yoga music retailers.