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TECHNO ARTS PRODUCTIONS - The People, Techno Memories and Hints and Tips.

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Over the last 25 years, many gifted people have contributed to my albums and CDs. Below you will find out something about them and their talents.

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PEOPLE

All these folks have been with me, supported me and lent me their gifts over the last 25 years.

KATHY THERESA - violinist, wife and mother of Cari & Alys. Plays on some of my albums and CDs. A successful recording artist and concert violinist in her own right. Her recording of Debussy's Sonata and other 20th Century repertoire for Apollo Sound is well worth checking out, and agent. Who says you can't mix business with pleasure!

MILADA POLASEK - The "other" pianist on my albums. Hours and hours of rehearsal and she is still talking to me after all these years!

BOB HOWSE - My sounding post. He is a stern critic and always critical. Ain't bad on the saxophone either.

RICHARD MILLARD - My regular recording engineer.(If he is good enough for the LSO,RPO,LPO,Philharmonia Etc, he is good enough for me!) Formerly MD of Audio International Recording Studios, Richard has always been a calming influence when sessions get fraught. I am not alone in thinking of him as the "best in the business"!

HEINZ HERSCHMAN - Owner of Apollo Sound. Started me off in recording and I still look to him for good advice.

MICHAEL JOHNS - Film Director, Editor and collaborator in various film projects. One of the most highly respected figures in Britain's Film Industry, Michael has worked with some of the greats : Franco Zefferelli, Carol Reed, Hebert Wise, Jose Laraz, Terry Gilliam and Philip Saville to name a few. Governor of The Guild of British Film Editors.

FRANK BITKA - The legend!

Dr. HYWEL OWEN - The brains of the family. What he doesn't know about physics isn't worth knowing. Web Wizard and Champion Archer. (Never smiles at our "Robin Hood" jokes.)

MAURICE HENEGHAN - Electronic Whizz Kid. Answers all my questions patiently and keeps me up and running.

LAWRENCE COOPER - Fellow Arsenal Fan - (his full time occupation). Brilliant pianist and musician in his spare time.

JOHN BORTHWICK - Owner of New Experience. Not interfering is a gift. He is one of the few producers to have it.

ANITA GABRIEL - A lovely singer, a lovely person.

PHIL & HENRY (Mid Wales Music Centre) - Out here in the wilds of Wales, an excellent service + endless cups of coffee.

BARRY BOOTH - One of the best musicians I have ever met. Still crazy after all these years!

ANDY CLAXTON - A friend and fellow traveller for more years than I care to remember! He proves that the "Dead Can Dance!"

KRYSTYNA BUDZYNSKA - A life long friend and member of Erato. She was a tower of strength in the early years.

SIMON CLIMIE - Erato's Rocker and Electric Guitatist. Later became a top 10 recording artist and songwriter.

DENIS MILNE - Wonderful Bass Player.

ADRIAN WOOLISCROFT - Still got the "Vibes".

PATRICK - Who will be a very good drummer/percussionist if he practises.



TECHNO MEMORIES

A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

EQUIPMENT I HAVE LOVED!

1970s :-

Fender Rhodes Electric Piano - The mark 1 was the best!

ARP Odyssey - Duophonic synth. Mark 1, Much better than the Mini Moog in my opinion.

Korg - 700 and 700s mono synths.

EMS Synthi A (VCS3 in a suitcase) - with matrix board and sequencer, Horrible!

Moog Prodigy - Least said soonest mended!

Akai Open Reel Recorder - Quite good.

Revox - Recorder - fantastic!

HH Amps and PA - Good clean sound.

1980s :-

Roland Juno 6 - Very Good.

Roland SH09 - This has become a cult classic. Can't think why!

Yamaha DX7 and DX9 - I prefered the 9

Korg Poly6 - Nice and warm.

Korg Electric Piano - Sounded nothing like a piano, but sounded good.

Yamaha MX5 Music Computer - Crap!

Yamaha RX11 and RX5 Drum machine - OK

Roland TR 727 Latin Drum Machine - Superb!

Yamaha Analogue Delay - wonderful.

Evans Echo Pet - terrible!

Tascam 244 Portastudio - Excellent!

Spring Reverb - Hmmm.

Linn 9000 (?) - lousy.

Casio CZ101 X2 - Classic little beauties, and surprisingly flexible.

Ensoniq ESQ - An all time favourite!

EMU 111 and Akai Samplers - Bad News! Sampling is death to Electronic Music.

Roland Amps - Very Good!

Then came ( in The 90s) :-

Sony DTC1000 DAT Recorder - Simply fantastic!

Fostex 8 track Open Reel with dolby C - nothing special.

Seck Mixer 18 - 8 - 2 - Noisy but good EQ

Korg M1 Synth - OK but swamped mixes, if you were not careful.

Roland D110 Synth Module - OKish.

Roland 2000 - digital delay - good-ish.

Ibanez Harmoniser - OK

Alesis Quadraverb, Microverb - I don't like them.

Boss SE50 Multi-effects - excellent.

Akai Half-Rack Digital Reverb - Had its uses.

Tascam - 4 Channel/4 Band Parametric EQ - fabulous.

Quark Midi Link - It works.

Roland MC500 Micro Composer - superb!( I would still recomend that musicians stay clear of computer based recording and sequencing systems. If you must, the Mac is still the best platform. I have a PC, but I don't like them! And as for Windows 95 - Don't you just LOVE it!?)

Mackie Mixers - Recently pensioned off. Good and clean, but lacking that "certain something".

Yamaha NS10s - Industry Standard maybe, but not really that good.

Roland RH-10 - Mini Headphones - amazing!


HINTS AND TRICKS FOR ENGINEERS AND PRODUCERS

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THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SOME BASIC ADVICE (BASED ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCE) FOR GOOD RECORDING.

N.B. There is no one way to get good recordings.

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PREPARATION AND THE PERFORMERS

1) Keep your equipment in good order. There is nothing more annoying than loosing your creative flow due to technical problems.

2) Prepare your studio for the day's work the night before. Then you just walk in, switch on and start work.

3) Don't make performers hang about.

4) Performers need to be "up for it" . Tense, but not too tense. The first one or two takes are almost always the best.

5) Leave democracy at the studio door. Someone must be in charge. Someone has to have the final say.

6) Don't rush to judgements prematurely. If you are not sure about a take's quality or feel, step back for a while.

7) Make sure that performers are properly rehearsed before the session.

8) Be aware of their problems. Ensure that personal and instrumental idiosycracies are sympathetically dealt with.

9) Remember - RECORDINGS ARE FOR EVER!

10) Remember that your job is to get the best result for that particular performer and piece of music. Therefore : CONTROL YOUR EGO! It is THEIR day.

11) If you are recording yourself find an objective second, and even third, ear. It is often very difficult to assess your own performance.

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LAYING DOWN TRACKS

1) Go for an honest sound.

2) Don't commit yourself to effects and EQ prematurely.

3) Avoid anticipating the final "mix".

4) Always be flexible: What works/worked for one artist may not be desirable or appropriate for another.

5) Don't monitor too loud : Avoid aural fatigue. No matter how good your monitors are, loudness is flattering and can be misleading.

6) Punch out silences.

7) Mic. close for presence and character! Distance does not lend enchantment.

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MIXING

BEFORE YOU GET INTO THE MIX

1) Decide on a tracks focal point/points.

2) Give everything its own place in the stereo image.

3) Give each part its own place in the frequency spectrum.

THEN

1) Start at low dynamic levels.

2) When adding effects, remember to maintain the clarity you started out with.

3) Don't add too much "juice". Good recordings don't need it.

4) Trust your ears, not the meters. (Especially important when avoiding digital distortion which does not always register)

5) Avoid self indulgence.

6) Learn the value of space. You don't need to fill every corner of a mix. More is often less.

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