There’s a man in Berlin with a golden ear. He talks to sound, he plays with sound, he works with sound.
His name is Matthew Golden and he’ll be mastering my album.
Last week, I realized that I didn’t really know what mastering was, so I decided to interview Matthew.
Here’s what he had to say.
Well for starters, traditionally, mastering refers to much more than the following but it sounds pretty boring for a blog.
Mastering is a technical process that takes place at the end of the recording of an audio project. This applies to music as well as sound for film and TV. Typically, the purpose of mastering is to dynamically enhance and/or balance the audio of a song so that it sounds consistent across all sound systems. It requires critical listening. That said, I think one can listen too critically and end up sterilizing the emotional impact of a song if not careful. Realistically, nothing is ever going to be perfect but you can often find a happy medium.
The appraoch to mastering also largely depends on the genre of music and what medium it will be played back in. For instance, a garage rock band that records onto a cassette 4-track and intends to only press vinyl is going to have a very different mastering approach than the hip-hop or electronic record entirely produced inside a computer destined for iTunes and dance clubs.
Adapting one’s techniques is important in this process. If the mixes are well balanced, the mastering process can be fairly straight-forward. However, sometimes you are handed mixes that are plagued with sonic anomalies and then a restorative approach needs to be taken. The restorative approach is one that often comes at the expense of the track in regard to it’s original fidelity. The challenge then becomes how to make the fixes sound transparent. Though sometimes I will suggest the song be remixed with some fixes to have a better result in the end. Doesn’t always pan out….
I am living in Berlin because my guts told me so.
I visited Berlin, sort of arbitrarily, in 2007 for 5 days and it won me over almost instantly. Something inside just said loud and firm,
“YOU HAVE TO LIVE HERE !!! AS IN NOT VISIT, JUST MOVE HERE !!!”.
Then I realized after 4 years of walking in circles,
“What is actually stopping me? Oh, right!….. ME !”.
Upon that decision I left Canada within about 40 days.
Berlin is large but doesn’t feel too large. It feels like home and I have only felt that in one other place in the world, the Slocan Valley in BC. Berlin is very laid back, open-minded and expressive. That probably comes with being such a desirable destination for the international community. If you are the creative type, you can flourish here but it comes down to your own work ethic.
This city has the velvet rut aspect going on and you see it everywhere. It’s just so easy to get by that you can get caught up in the never-ending nightlife it offers. Literally, line-ups for clubs around the block at 5am? Come on…. Though I tend to avoid excess indulgence as I wouldn’t get anything done otherwise.
You should listen to Rhoneil.
I produced her first record, ‘Seeds’. I’m pretty happy with that one because how much we had to overcome to get it finished. So much crazy drama that it would make even Hollywood weep.
Well, also the new record entitled ‘Slapped’ of your previous band, Trike. Apart from being a shameless plug, it’s one of the more recent projects I have been heavily involved with. That record conjured up a lot nostalgia for me which made it a pleasure to work on.
I guess look out for the King Khan and the Shrines music video, ‘Darkness’. It is a stop-motion short film animated by the group, Hylas Film. Here is a teaser. I did the sound design for it, though there is only music in the trailer. http://vimeo.com/47514077
The meaning of life is to live your life in whatever way it is to be lived.
So what is the best version of you?
How about living that life?
I’m sure it would be pretty meaningful to you and everyone around you.
I throw a lot of demos, new and old, onto my soundcloud page: