When I was finally able to get back to this project the first task was to edit the tracks. This meant fitting all the parts together, eliminating certain sections, moving things around so that the overall effect was what I was looking for.
I decided I wanted to add a few more musical elements to it, but keeping in line with my ‘acoustic only’ concept I planned on some acoustic guitar and alto saxophone. The saxophone parts were recorded on a Grafton acrylic Alto Saxophone, a rare instrument that I am fortunate to have passed on to me by a former parishioner, Al Dawe. I recorded these tracks, with the assistance of my daughter who also does her own recording and producing, in my basement studio using an RCA BK5 microphone, which I obtained from my Uncle Lyndy Olson’s collection. This gave me the smooth vintage sound I was looking for.
The guitar was recorded at the Hedlin family cabin at Christopher Lake, SK. I took advantage of the quiet atmosphere up there to record the guitar, much of which was harmonics (thus quite quiet). Following this I edited the sax and guitar parts and that left the final stage – mixing.
Getting the right balance of instruments and voice, along with the right reverbs and EQ for each track, this was a big part of making this project sound the way I wanted it too, this was what made it an ‘ambient’ recording as far as I am concerned.
The final stage involved my friend Mark Schmidt (pictured above in his studio), who helped polish the mixes. Then Mark did the mastering of the project, the final shaping of the audio tracks in preparation for duplication and digital distribution. Mark’s contribution was significant, his work gave the project its smooth yet detailed sound.
I should mention that I have been working on the graphics for the album on and off over the past year. Graphic design is a very different process than music production, but I find it an enjoyable creative outlet as well. The cover is a digitally manipulated photo of myself standing in the ocean during a sunset (my wife Beth took the picture). Inside are pictures of the 4 acoustic instruments used on the recording (taken by myself) and a photo of Kari and myself taken by the talented Regina photographer Andrea Norberg. The striking abstract artwork is from a Montreal street artist, whose name I could not recall (if I ever knew it). This was purchased by me on the Greystone Singers Eastern tour – the very tour that Beth and I became more than friends. So that’s the story of “Swimming in the Heart of the Sun” – I hope you check it out! (My next post will detail how people are able to obtain a copy of this album, either a physical CD or a digital download).