Having been listening to the five songs on the "Ha'penny Breeze" E.P. for some time, I was generally happy with the way they came out, but there were a few niggling mistakes - missed notes, off-beat drums etc. I decided to use what I had learned recently on Cubase to try to fix those mistakes by editing. I think I did a reasonable job with this - you can only go so far in chopping up a drum track and repositioning each beat before it starts to sound unnatural, and I stopped short of this. My rule was "no re-recording of any parts" and I stuck to this - just a bit of copying and pasting to tidy some areas up. I've also been reading up on mastering techniques - EQ, compression, limiting - and I tried applying these techniques using various plugins. In the end I settled for the Kjaerhus Audio Classic Series - using the EQ, compressor and limiter plugins. I don't pretend that what I did is anything like what a professional mastering engineer would achieve, but I'm happy with the results and can hear a definite improvement over the previous masters. These versions have now been uploaded to the site - I replaced the previous versions, as I didn't see any value in retaining them.
The E.P. can now be played as such on this site via the new album player page. It's basically just feeding a playlist into JW Player, but it allows me to create "albums", and also recreate the original track listings for the Fostex Masters series and the Tandberg tapes. I've also given the song page a makeover - moving the information into tabbed panels rather than having it scattered all over the page. This allows me to move the actual recording clips to the prime position at top-left of the page so that viewers don't have to search down the page for them. Another important change you may have noticed is the name of the site. I wasn't a fan of the "Suitcase of Songs" name - it made me cringe every time I saw or heard it. Thinking of a different name wasn't easy, but at least moving to a generic domain name allows me to change it whenever I want. Currently I'm just using the domain name as the title. The only problem is that the Bandcamp page is stuck with the "Suitcase of Songs" subdomain name, unless I delete the page and start again. Everything else - Soundcloud, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook - has a different name anyway, so I won't do anything with that until I find a name I'm completely happy with!
I'm dubious about the value of promoting my music anyway - the last few things I've posted on the Facebook page have been completely ignored, my last couple of Soundcloud postings have had next to no views, and similarly with YouTube. However, I've noticed a sudden surge of views of the version of "Never Forget That You Are Lucky" which was posted a year ago on YouTube. I don't know where this surge has come from, but if it brings more people to this site it could be a useful tactic. Also, looking at the stats on the site, the most viewed song is "The Difference Is Time" - which I posted on Twitter a few weeks ago. I didn't get any replies for that post, but it suggests that maybe people were at least tempted to have a look.
As for the future, I'm keen to get on with new work. However, I've noticed that "Nowhere To Hide" and "Shadow Story" sound a bit pale compared to the remastered "Ha'penny Breeze", so these will need more work. I'm also toying with the idea of "Fostex Remasters" - this would involve transferring the four tracks of each recording into Cubase, where I could apply editing, effects and various other plugins to perhaps transform the sound of these recordings. Given the extent of "bouncing" that went on, and thus the number of instruments on each track, the amount of difference I could make is probably limited, but it's something that I would like to try out on a couple of songs to assess the viability.
In the meantime, keep watching and exploring this site - I will be posting regular updates via the "Studio Notes" on the home page.
Some of the VST plugins from the Kjaerhus Audio Classic series.
The site's major new feature - the album player.