She’s young, beautiful and abundantly talented (and sxsfly – I’m not talking about you!!!) of mixed Han and Mongolian Ancestry, playing gu zheng, matouqin (Mongolian horse head fiddle) whilst singing in four languages (Mandarin, Sanskrit, Tibetan and her own personally invented language) Sa Ding Ding is the future of world music and when in 2008 we heard she was winning the BBC Radio 3 World Music Award for the Asia-Pacific region we knew we couldn’t be far wrong.
So when at dbstudios we get a call asking if we have a spare two hours to record gu zheng for her next single we find ourselves (in spite of a completely overbooked diary) magic-ing an extra two hours into the day; a Sputnik a pair of Pulsars and away we went.
Zhang Yi (who is already an acclaimed pipa player and no stranger to dbstudios) made three flawless takes and before you could say Holy Himalayas the tracks were being Rapid Shared (www.rapidshare.com) to Beijing and from there Universal Studios London.
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db studios (with all our purist analogue/high brow musical pretensions… who am i kidding!!!) has finally acquiesced and the DJs are rolling in thick and fast to do their mixes… well what does it take?!?
Aside from our standard studio rig… the macs… the project mix i/o… protools 8 (and ozone 4 mastering plug-ins) not much!!! A pair of Pioneer CDJ’s that fit your budget a decent submixer (a DJM 2/400) is just great and then that all important connection a pair of high quality RCA/jack leads.
These were not that easy to come by and i ended up getting my man james (see blogroll: sunnytone) to make me up a set; the net result… (dj danes was the first through the doors – hailing from Barcelona he produced a heady mix of house trance and techno)… blistering.
Then all you need to understand is normalisation the media you are mastering to and hey presto… mix-tastic!!!
Talk to any band leader and am afraid you’ll hear the same old cliche… things ain’t what they used to be… guys not rehearsed up… not knowing the changes… the hooks… the bridges… whatever it may be… you get the picture; well after yesterday’s dbstudios’ session I’m afraid I experienced very little that would persuade me otherwise.
We were “hohnered” (no prizes for her instrument of choice) to welcome Marion Campbell all the way from Stirling Scotland; now at 81 you might expect there to be a few glitches a few lapses of memory a few forgotten chord changes, but indeed nothing could be further from the truth; she laid down well over two hours of music played pretty well back-to-back ranging from Irish folk to Scottish ballads with even 45 minutes of modern tunes thrown in, with out a single sheet of music or chord prompt in sight… just wonderful!!!
A big thanks to Nick Watson (who many of you from Shanghai will indeed know) for bringing Marion (who is indeed his maternal auntie) to our attention and he’ll be the man to contact for the three album boxed set when all the material is finally mixed and mastered.
All studio buffs wondering how we recorded… well because of time constraints were we obliged to mike externally… a pair of Lunas (essentially one for each hand – the left hand mike (assuming a right handed player must have a good bass response) and a pair of overheard Pulsars to fill things out; more details check out: