Summer Mixing 2014

Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz

Following a short family break to France, I got back in the studio & stuck straight into mixing the latest project for AudioNetwork (plus a couple of extra tracks) – Dirt Rock.

After a few days away from the studio, it’s always hard getting back into the swing of things… I often find myself asking ‘what if I’ve forgotten how to do it…? Which bit? All of it!’, but it soon comes flooding back & before you know it you’re strapped into the mixing chair being ‘Wizard of Oz’ and it’s all coming together and sounding great… Then, after a few weeks, you feel like you need a break… again…

I jest of course… I love what I do, and there’s so much good music going on right now that it’s easy to forget the ‘man-hours’ that goes into making the music and albums.  But it’s a great learning experience… trying new ideas, approaches & different takes on the whole process. Always fun, never dull (with the added exception of maybe Melodyne)… Of course, you have your ‘face-palm’ moments but generally making music really is the best job in the world!

Thanks for stopping by… more new music coming soon…

NEW MUSIC ‘Garage Rock Gods’ Album Released

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6 brand new songs featuring 49 versions, ‘Garage Rock Gods‘ is released today!

  • Crash Down – Triumphant rock anthem with chugging guitars & emotional male vocal
  • Do It All – Punk rock with stabbing guitars, reflective male vocal & anthemic chorus
  • Real Life – Twisted rock with double time chorus, insistent male vocal & enticing lyrics
  • No Regrets – Hard & fast rock anthem with screaming guitars & rebellious male vocal
  • When You’re Famous – Stadium rock anthem with male vocal singing about an unrequited love
  • We’re Unbreakable – Rock anthem with emotional male vocal & powerful half time chorus

To read all about the making of this album go here… ‘Big Drums, Big Guitars & Big Vocals

As always… please listen to & download the tracks.

Thanks for stopping by…

NEW MUSIC ‘Rock with the Top Down’ Album Released

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Today sees the release of the much blogged about MOR Symphonic Rock album ‘Rock with The Top Down‘.
6 brand new songs and 74 versions in total, with huge production and sound.

Free Your Mind – Sunny 1970’s symphonic pop song about enjoying life & letting go. Male vocal

A New Beginning – Feel-good, classic 70’s MoR symphonic pop with positive lyrics & male vocal

Join As One – Uplifting symphonic pop song with lyrical strings & optimistic male vocal

You And Me Forever – Epic symphonic pop romantic ballad with lyrical strings & male vocal

Dust From A Star – Uplifting pop ballad with rich strings, male vocal & floating on air lyrics

Wishing – Anthemic symphonic pop ballad with lush strings & emotional male vocal

To read more about the making of this album below… It’s been an epic journey…

As always, please listen to & download the albums.

Thanks for stopping by…

A Month of Writing New Projects & Sessions…


It’s been a solitary month…

Following on from a hectic release schedule, album launch concerts and gatherings, this month sees me locked away in StudiOK working on ideas for new projects.

Whilst many of you are outside enjoying the beginning of a good old British Summer, the humble musician takes to locking themselves away in a darkened room, where the only tan you get is from staring at their computer monitors. It could be deepest Winter out there for all we know…

I do write music on my own, but it’s always more fun to work with others, as they bring along ideas you might never have considered for a project, plus the obvious camaraderie.

This month I’ve been working on tracks for various future albums which will see me busy writing, recording & mixing through to the end of 2014 and beyond.

One of the projects is a Bhaṅgṛā Fusion album with my good friend Prem Joseph. A relatively new style for me, but something Prem has a deep knowledge and understanding of. Prem is a well established Indian music specialist with roots in India and uses India based musicians for his work.

I’m also writing some funky 70’s music with Kes Loy and coaxing Lucy Kimmings into providing some suitably syrupy vocals…
Pop Drum & Bass, Dirt Rock… plus a few others, are also in the pipeline.

© Barrie Gledden 2014

© Barrie Gledden 2014

I’ve also been busy with drum session work. Drums are my main instrument (insert gag here) and I play on a good few tracks for others. I’m presently lending my drumming hand to a project with Richard Lacy. Richard has a great approach to music, I’d almost describe it as organic… his songs tend to evolve & develop and it’s always nice to approach his work in the same way he does. It’s very rarely a straight forward ‘play through’… it’s soundscapes and changing kit sounds & textures. Challenging for a musician, but very rewarding.

Here’s an example email from Richard describing what he visioned for a track…
‘It’s a steady 7/8 time. Needs to feel a bit like a 6/8 with an extra beat. I had this idea that in some places, we could move the snare by one beat in each successive bar. ie. snare on 2, then 3, then 4, then 5 etc.’…
I had a slight chuckle to myself when I read his direction… but dya know what? I knew exactly what he was after… It sure beats the old ‘… er… the mix… could you slow it down by 2dB?’

There are a further 3 albums about to be released for AudioNetwork in the coming months, which I’ll blog about when they are available.

SO, a busy time indeed, but I’m not drowning, just waving…

Thanks for stopping by…

The J.J. Binns Organ in Providence Church – A Centenary Celebration with Dr. Gordon Stewart

J.J. Binns Organ

The J.J. Binns Organ in Providence Church, New Mills

In March 2000, I was working as part of the ‘house band’ on an episode of the BBC’s ‘Songs of Praise’ from The Showcase Cinema in Leeds.

Conducting that day was Dr. Gordon Stewart. This was the first time I’d met Gordon, as it happens, it was also the night I would meet my future wife… but that’s a very different story.

Not only is Gordon a fantastic musician, he just so happens to be one of the leading lights in the world of Church and Cathedral organs. In the years following our initial meeting, Gordon and I have worked on various organ recordings all over the UK, and been involved with post-production on some from abroad.

I have to confess, before working with Gordon, my knowledge of organ music was very limited… I didn’t really understand the workings and what’s actually involved in such a monolithic instrument. I learned quickly and have been given various ‘behind the pipes’ looks at a good number of ‘classic’ organs.

Organ recording really is the epitome of Mohamed going to The Mountain. They ain’t moving… so if you want to record one, you’re going to have to travel.

Gordon @ Huddersfield Town Hall

Dr. Gordon Stewart at the console of the Huddersfield Town Hall 1860 Father Willis Organ

Luckily, I have at my disposal (thanks in most part, to some very kind musician friends) an excellent mobile recording setup. Technology allows the use of a laptop as a ‘tape machine’ and through various microphones, pre-amps & 500 series outboard equipment, I’m able capture the essence of the organ & it’s environment, without the need for the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio.

Whilst the organ is what you’re there to record, the surrounding acoustic space is really what makes the instrument sound the way it does. There are various microphone ‘techniques’ aimed at this type of recording, and whilst I observe the ‘dos and don’ts’ I always find it best when arriving at a recording session of this type, to wander around the space & simply use my ears to work out best positioning for microphones. Too close to the pipes & you end up with a very unbalanced sound, too far away & all you hear is the ‘space’… it’s not rocket science, but get it wrong and you’ll know about it when you get the sessions back to the controlled environment of the studio.

The organ is a dynamic instrument; from ear shatteringly loud, to whisper quiet all within a single piece. It’s important to make sure you have enough ‘head room’ when recording, as you don’t want to lose a take by not allowing for this and clipping the pre-amps.  Get your levels & stick with them… when it comes to the final edit… you’ll be glad you did as you won’t have to match up differing recording levels.

A major consideration is also the ambient noise.  The mics are so sensitive, even the placing of a coffee cup on a table during a take is a ‘no-no’. The positioning of a Church or Cathedral isn’t something you can do anything about, and we often fall foul to environmental factors beyond our control.

Here’s a few examples of some of the things Gordon and I have encountered during our sessions…

  • We’ve recording in Hastings where gulls cries were a constant annoyance (though arguably part of the ‘soundscape’)
  • Dewsbury where, ironically, Gordon was recording an album to raise money for the replacement roof lead which had been stolen. We had to stop constantly due to water dripping through the ceiling onto plastic sheets placed there to protect the Church floor…
  • At Huddersfield Town Hall, which is adjacent to a sub-bus station, we had to contend with squealing bus brakes
  • Clifton Cathedral was open to the public during recording so had constant traffic & slamming doors…

The list goes on… but basically, it’s my job to try to get the best recorded ‘clean’ take without any ambient interference to ruin the final recording.

Of course, before any recording is possible, Gordon spends days if not weeks preparing for a recording. Choosing the repertoire, having the organ tuned, preparing the organ stops and voicings, organising page turners, etc. It all takes a lot of planning.

At the end of April Gordon & I headed over to Providence Church in New Mills to record an album in celebration of the 100 year centenary of the J.J. Binns organ that’s stationed there.  We chose a Bank holiday Monday to limit any unwanted outside noise and Gordon set himself the challenge of recording the whole album in 1 day. Normally for such projects, Gordon allow himself a couple of days recording. The pieces he chooses are often taxing and involve lots of stop changes, and it’s important to make sure every piece, movement or variation is recorded and faultless before moving on to the next.

At providence, we got cracking as soon as I set up the Mobile Studio (plus cup of tea), and had everything we needed recorded & ready for editing by early evening.
The time on preparation Gordon put in really paid off. For example, Gordon recorded his practice days before I arrived to ensure the balance of the organ voices were as he wanted them for each piece. It’s all in the fingers… & feet apparently…

Editing took place last week in my studio (StudiOK) & the album has been mastered and sent to manufacture ready for release on 7th June – a very fast turn around for any album project – 6 weeks from recording to release.

Huddersfield Town Hall's Father Willis Organ

Huddersfield Town Hall’s Father Willis Organ

As I write, Gordon and I are in the process of putting together a ‘Big Cathedral Organ’ project for AudioNetwork and discussing the possibility of recording the 1889 Charles Anneessens organ at Priory Church of St. Mary in Bridlington. Watch this space for more details.

Gordon has a website highlighting his work & recordings –

The album recorded at Providence Church, New Mills will shortly be available here –

Thanks for taking the time to stop by…

‘Songs from The Rockface’ Album Released

Songs from The Rockface

Once in a while you get your teeth stuck into a really tasty project that has you grinning from ear to ear, and a feeling of excitement right from the very first chord… ‘Songs from The Rockface‘ was one such project.

In mid 2013, Jason Pedder and I started work on a rock project for AudioNetwork. Rock is something I really enjoy… the ‘80s Hair Rock‘ & ‘Modern Rock Anthems‘ albums being two recent projects in this, very wide, genre.

This time though, I felt we needed something a little different. A little edgier & ‘now’… more a Zeitgeist of rock music.

We threw ideas around between us & got the arrangements in pretty good shape, but what we really needed was a standout singer, someone to take it further, someone to ‘make’ the project.
Jason & I approached Gavin Conder to get involved. Gavin is a great singer & what he produces lyrically, musically and sonically, I always find interesting.

On this album, Gavin’s lyrics go from gambling, to Vampires, to the development of Mankind, to  insanity. I took Gavin’s lead and included a song about nightmares… Hardly a romantic album is it?

Initial recordings from various studios were assembled together and the project mixed here at StudiOK.  Mixing took many weeks, if not months; the result of which has now been released, and can be heard here.

Track by track…

Lady Luck – Hard rock song with male vocal about a high pressure poker game

Run Away – Powerful rock with punctuated riffs & male vocal about nightmares

Immortals – Heavy rock song about the legend of the immortals (vampires). Male vocal

Insanity – Dark, powerful heavy rock song with disturbed yet resolute male vocal

Future Unlimited – Gritty heavy rock song with male vocal about mankind’s progress & future

True Grit – Stomping muscular rock with heavy guitars & off-beat drums & bass

 If you like what you hear… you know what to do…
Thanks for stopping by…

New Album ‘Spirit Of New Orleans’ Released for AudioNetwork

Spirit of New Orleans


In 2013, David Tobin headed over to the good ol’ U.S. of A. to record a number of albums in New Orleans for AudioNetwork, with his Chicago based writing partner, Jeff Meegan.

They wanted to use players & musicians that really had the ‘spirit and feel’ for the music made in the city, and so what better way than to head on over and find the best cats in town…?

Here’s a video of their trip…


I’d already worked with Jeff & David on another recording from the same sessions; ‘Authentic Cajun‘, released in November 2013 – blog here

I was called upon to initially mix 5 of the 7 tracks on the ‘Spirit of New Orleans‘ album.
However, on hearing what I could bring to the table sonically, I eventually ended up mixing them all! Mixing was done here at ‘StudiOK‘.

I had a lot of fun with this album… The music is so uplifting and always has a great groove…

Creating ‘versions’ for other usage was a blast, as they’d recorded special arrangements with different orchestrations with this specifically in mind.

Hear the album here… ‘Spirit of New Orleans

Song by song…

Back to My Roots – Grooving bar room blues with vocal by New Orleans legend, Big Al Carson

Captain Crawfish – Funky New Orleans piano with hot brass, cool Hammond & blazing blues guitar

I Climbed – Brooding Delta blues song about adversity & hope with male vocal

Meterman – Freewheeling jazz piano with a New Orleans backbeat & tasty guitar solo

Loving You Undercover – Laid back 70s funk song with punchy horns & infatuated US male vocal

Mid City Midnight – Driving blues shuffle with distorted harmonica & guitar lick trade-offs

Know It All – Feel-good 1970s funky jazz/RnB fusion with horn section melody & piano

As always, these tracks are there for you to use in productions & to buy for your own personal listening pleasure… so please do…


Next blog – Songs from The Rockface

Recording Strings at Castleford Chairworks Studio, January 2014


With the MoR Pop project near to completion, in December 2013, Barrie Gledden & I headed down to Northants to see David Tobin. David’s a fellow AudioNetwork composer & was tasked with helping out & scoring our string arrangements for the project.

As mentioned in my last blog, this project has been a long time in the making & the strings were to be the icing on the cake.

We spent a long day with David talking through each track & firming up ideas which he’d then turn into scores and arrangements in our absence.

A date was set for the end of January 2014 at The Chairworks Studio, Castleford for the actual recording.


Barrie has written a more in depth blog about the whole process here

Recording Drums – The ‘Lynne Johns’ Method & 70s Pop Rock Project…

RiCH Fat DrumsBack at the start of 2013, I began work on 8 tracks in a very definitive style.

My year prior had been very much full to the brim with music. It’s my job… it’s what I do; writing, playing, recording and mixing.

Projects are always ongoing and there are deadlines to meet, but in January 2013 I set aside the whole month to concentrate on writing this one project.
I sat down in my own cozy studio watching the snow fall outside, loaded up a cup of tea and a blank canvas, and set out to write a collection of tunes influenced by the kind of music that shaped me as I was growing up.

Having not come from a particularly musical background; my parents nor brother are musically inclined, I never had anyone at home opening me up to different styles of music. Exposure to what was out there at the time, & what had gone before, came more from my friends at school & the radio. There simply weren’t any bands in my school and no real musicians to speak of, certainly not that i was aware of… so my early influences were picked up not by someone saying ‘here… you MUST listen to this’ but more by my Saturday afternoons spent in record shops looking at what was out there & spending my hard earned paper money on what I thought might prick my ears musically.

So why am I telling you all this?

Writing music for a living enables me to travel in all sorts of different directions sonically… Heavy Rock, Classical, Vocal Pop, Quirky… You name it, I’ve done it.
Every project is special & has the utmost time & attention paid to it. The company I write for require nothing short of the best & that’s what you strive for every time.

This project was to be no different from any other in that respect, except for it was going to be in a musical style very close to my heart & centred around the music I listened to as an easily influenced budding musician – a style from yesteryear yet with all the modern pop elements you’d expect, but with that comes the fact that I knew with the style and direction I was taking these songs in… it was going to be a long, long road to travel to get this project to where it ultimately needed to be.

‘Art is never finished, only abandoned’ – Leonardo da Vinci

Side MicOn watching the ‘Sound City‘ documentary recently, I heard Mick Fleetwood reflecting on why Fleetwood Mac chose that studio to record the album ‘Rumours’ rather than do it in their own studio – ‘I can have fun doing this on my own, or I can have fun doing it with others’.
He has a point… The studio can be a very lonely and solitary place… unless you’re there with others… then it becomes fun.

Barrie Gledden has been a very close friend and a work colleague of mine since 1991, when I first met him as part of a support act for his band at the time ‘Brazil’. We’ve worked together ever since through bands & other musical ventures, and like me, Barrie is a writer for AudioNetwork.

Before Christmas 2012, I mentioned to Barrie my plans for January and that I was going to start this mammoth project. In the cold February of 2013, I took the tracks to his studio and played them to him. We chatted about where we thought the songs needed to go musically and planned how best to get them sounding and feeling as good as possible.

I’d mocked up the whole project using virtual instruments; keyboards, drums, bass, strings, piano, synths, guitars, acoustics… all triggered digitally from within the computer… a band in your pocket & an easy way to get your ideas from your head and into a permanent, recorded form – you can work fast & efficiently before the moment and idea is gone forever.

Virtual Instruments can be ground breaking and breathtaking, they can produce sounds that are very hard or impossible to emulate in the ‘real world’.
However, everything I’d used to create these tracks was ‘mimicking’ real instruments… and, more than anything, what this album needed was realreal everything real drums, real piano… and a real string section.

What I’d taken to play to Barrie felt very polished yet needed more input… the ideas were there but they needed arranging, additional vocal lines writing, string arrangements scoring and everything needed replacing with ‘feel’ and ‘interplay’ with instruments from the ‘real world’. Of the initial 8 tracks, there were 6 stand out songs we chose to focus on first.

Let the games commence…

First up… replacing the drums…  here’s a video of what we did… (skins tuned so low they were close to wrinkle point & tension rods dropped out during recording takes)


Barrie wrote a more in-depth blog about re-recording the drums for this project here.

Next mini blog – The String Recording…..



‘Battle Zone’ Album with Kes Loy Released

Battle Zone

Battle Zone‘ – A ‘High-Octane’ Blast Of An Album

Towards the middle of 2013, Kes Loy and I mused on an album project we could work on together for AudioNetwork. We wanted to try something a little different; something that would set a scene sonically & visually. An album that would be unified in its theme – a ‘concept’ if you will.
Bring forth the ‘Battle Zone‘ album.

Between us, we wanted to create an album that would build tension & foreboding, but one we could also twist and manipulate to create atmosphere and suspense.

For most of the main tracks on ‘Battle Zone‘, we created further versions which purposfully didn’t have the power & size of the main tracks. No power guitars, no drums… just a sonic ‘mood’.

When writing this kind of music, especially for TV & film use, you have to consider the musical needs of the producer and sound editor.  They may want something as an under-bed… some atmospheric tension maintaining a ‘constant’, as opposed to a ‘song’ format or piece of music that develops and changes.

Kes & I worked very closely on this project & always kept a focus on its primary purpose. Even though the project & track titles will lead you to a given preconception of what a project is going to sound like even before you hear it, the music still had to deliver and take you to a different place entirely.

Can music trigger emotion and take you out of the ‘now’? I personally think so, and with this album, I think we succeeded in doing just that.

Listen to the album here – ‘Battle Zone

Battle Zone

Here’s a full track listing…

Battle Zone – The title track… Heart in the mouth rocktronica with smoking guitars & ripping synths

Death Toll – Dark, brooding & cinematic with piercing guitars. Builds to menacing climax
Check out the ‘Death Toll 2’ version for a dark, electronica underscore

Outlaw – ‘Nemesis approaching’ rocktronica builds to half time metal onslaught
Check out the ‘Outlaw 2’ version for a stomping, rocktronica underscore

Secret Mission – Nail biting espionage builds to guitar hero rock with dark, dominant drums
Check out the ‘Secret Mission 4 & 5’ versions full of cinematic ambience with spy Rhodes

Hostage – Defiant electronics break into stomping heavy rock with face melting guitars
Check out the ‘Hostage 2’ version for defiant electronica; tense & atmospheric with flickering synth textures

Stay of Execution – Unnerving atmosphere disturbed by brutal detuned guitars. Builds
Check out the ‘Stay of Execution 2’ version for an unnerving atmosphere filled with mangled synths & heart beat pulses

Strike Down – Dark electro, guitar driven rock
Check out the ‘Strike Down 3’ version for a dark, tense & menacing electro mix with haunting fx

Hero – Tense electro groove builds triumphantly into heroic heavy rock
Check out the ‘Hero 2’ version for dark, tense cinematic electro which morphs around smooth pads

Please listen, buy & use… Thanks