Recording at Air Studios London
Recording at Air Studios in London is one of the great pleasures of working in recorded music. The studios have lovely acoustics and you are also working with an incredibly professional team of sound engineers and technicians. The whole technical side of the recording happens almost seamlessly, so as a composer I can concentrate on the musical decisions during the recording.
I have found that one of the keys to a smooth session is in the preparation. Air Lyndhurst has a very good roster of sound engineers and I usually work with Jake Jackson. My discussions with him about a session usually start weeks before the actual session date. Most of the time we are emailing each other about what I want the end recording to sound like and how best to achieve this.
For my Seven Days album I wanted a delicate and detailed string string section sound but also a very full and lush sound when the players were playing tutti. The string parts were all very detailed and in some places there were 9 different simultaneous parts playing – I wanted them all to be heard. Jake and I discussed among other things: the number of string players needed, the style of music, different studio options (Air Lyndhurst Hall or Studio 1), past recordings, players and final mix options. Jake has a huge experience of working with many different musician line ups and I always find discussions about this very enlightening.
In the end we settled on Studio 1 in Air Studios (120 square metres and suitable for small orchestral groups), with 17 players (6,6,1,4) and a Decca Tree with Schoeps MK21 microphones, ambience microphones (Neumann TLM170 omni) as far back as possible and a selection of spot microphones over each desk (Neumann U87s etc).
When I turned up for the day of the recoding there were no surprises and the session ran incredibly smoothly.
Listen to the recording here: