When several of us sat down together to discuss what would become “The Avalon Project” on a five-hour conference call (including women from the San Francisco-Bay Area, New York and Philadelphia) in October, one of the themes that emerged was visibility. Our webmaven, Barbara Brust, suggested that there was no better way to celebrate feminist process than to show it. This section, then, is dedicated to sharing “the making of Avalon.”
Below we are posting photos from various meetings, rehearsals and recording sessions as this work-in-process unfolds. We hope you enjoy this “back-stage” look.
To speak to us about booking Margie in concert contact:Info@margieadam.com
I have to say, this part of the CD production is always draining and unnerving for me. We have moved from the realm of all things possible and all things considered to the finite territory of decisions which get more narrow and less reversible. This is where it gets harder to sleep and easier to forget your vitamins.
Many people think music is recorded with players playing and singing all together in the studio. In reality, most music recorded today is recorded one instrument at a time. I did record the rhythm section all at once…. piano, bass, drums, percussion. I also recorded the background vocalists together. However, every other instrument and my vocals were recorded separately. What this means is, we had to decide what all the relationships between all the instruments and voices would be. How loud, how much, how often, how many and finally, do we want that instrument in the song after all? This is the process known as “The Mix.” Guided by a simple question: does this instrument/part enhance the intention of the song, Stephen Hart (engineer), Kerry Lobel (Executive Producer) and I embarked on an exploration of each song and all its recorded tracks. Unbelievably complex and fascinating. Endless choices. Endless aesthetic decisions. Many opinions.
What you will hear on Avalon is 11 sets of possibilities among infinite choices.
After the mix, came the Sequencing. This is ordering the songs on the CD. I approach this like creating an Ichibana flower arrangement. One must find the hidden balance, made complicated by relationships between rhythm, chord color, key, arrangement not to mention tempo and lyric content. A good sequence is effortless and inevitable, a bad sequence pulls a listener out of the total musical experience. We built and tore apart 5 different sequences along the way. At this point, I brought in the fresh ears and perspective of Danielle Donovan and Donna A. Korones.
The final phase of the recording is Mastering. This is the point at which we made final adjustments in sound quality and volume so the songs all sounded like they belonged together on the same CD. We decided exactly how much time we wanted in-between each song. For this critical last process, we took the tape of all the “mixes” to Hollywood – to a wonderful mastering engineer named Chris Bellman. Chris mastered kd lang’s Ingenue and Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill, among hundreds of other albums.
All during the recording project, Kerry and I had been working with Leslie Speer, the graphic designer who created the elegant CD artwork for my last project, Soon and Again. Once we decided to go with images of “the feel” of Avalon rather than photos of Margie Adam, her task has been to present Marcia Lieberman’s images in compelling yet simple way.
I am happy to announce…. the sequenced, mastered mixes along with the artwork have been shipped this week to the CD manufacturing plant in New Jersey. Avalon will be publicly released in the United States on April 21 at a concert in Seattle, Washington. It will be available for order on-line very shortly.
For more information: Pleiades Records