The Razorbills are a 5 piece Alt-Folk band from SW Scotland. Their music is varied from whirling reels to sensitive acoustic ballads.
They started planning their album towards the end of last year and came to us with a list of 14 songs, a recording venue and a deadline for the end of February 2012. It was their aim to press a run of a thousand cds for commercial and promotional purposes.
We struck a deal for the complete project, masters to be delivered by their deadline. That deadline is upon us at the time of writing this, and all but one of the songs is mastered.
For any album of 14 songs, less than two months is not an overly generous time-frame, so we set about creating a working schedule to ensure completion by the deadline. Initial tracks were recorded at the venue of the band's choice, a large apartment in Kirkcudbright with wooden floors and a decent kitchen (essential!). Drums and bass were set up in one room with the rest of the band next door. It was decided that clean drum tracks were the priority, and once these were recorded the bass (which was largely useable) was tidied up and tracking moved to guitars, fiddle, vocals and percussion.
The original intention of the band was to capture the feel of "the best gig they ever played", but the arrangements evolved during the recording process. Working with the band we subtly changed them to hint at the possibility of something more expansive. After a week at this venue, the production moved back to MW Sound to re-record and overdub.
A certain amount of editing in Pro Tools, to tighten the rhythm section and vocals, was undertaken. The aim here was to make the most of the strengths and minimise the weaknesses of what were good performances, without detracting from their essentially live feel.
That done, it was time to move to final lead and backing vocals, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and electric guitar (Marcus of MW did that!). A mix of the tracks was emerging by this stage and mp3s were sent to the band to bring ideas about a final mix to the fore.
While the mixes were being created by Marcus, the band's input was crucial. Regular meetings to listen and comment were organised until the album started to take shape. A running order was arrived at and, once the mixes were settled, we began the final mastering around the middle of February.
From the mixes off tape, to the CD.
We use the Abbey Road/EMI analog mastering plugins , within Pro Tools, to ensure clarity and an even sound overall. The CD was authored in WaveLab 7 to international Red Book standards, with embedded ISRC codes for each track.
The Razorbills track Anti-Leader League, the opener.
THIS LINK will take you a live version of Love 15, another track from the album, recorded at The Mill Sessions by MWSound.