CD cover art by Nancy Walker
It’s the longest day of the year! which was the working title for a piece we composed many years ago on the longest day of the year.
The song opens with a plaintive melody by Robert Minden heard on blown glass bottles and the twangy acoustic of repetitive plucked old guitar strings (a musical invention – “string box ” by Dewi Minden as a gift to her father when she was twelve) then the easy voice of Carla Hallett singing an elegiac ode to the natural world. The sounds of tuned glass milk bottles and cider jugs played by Andrea and Dewi Minden provide the quirky textured ground of this dark environmental song. The piece was lovingly recorded at Vancouver’s historic Mushroom studios with engineer Simon Garber and released as “Alone Together” in 1992 on the album “Long Journey Home” by the Robert Minden Ensemble.
“Take a listen to one of the most interesting musical entities on the planet and off-the-wall” – Gary Cristall.
We no longer have to be satisfied with a lack of choice in audio quality when music is downloaded. The traditional mp3, a small compressed file, cannot compare to the quality of the audio on a physical CD which uses a 44.1 kHz 16 bit file created from the original 96kHz 24 bit studio master. iTunes is offering a better quality download audio file for some of its music. The music file has to be created from the original studio master to meet specific standards set by iTunes and offers a better quality listening experience than the traditional mp3. Look for the “Mastered for iTunes” badge to see what music has been formatted with this option.
“What Is Your Name” was specifically Mastered for iTunes and is now available in this format.
The album is now available for download and streaming on several sites. Virtually Here:
11 lyrical story-based songs, quiet musings set to an unusual mix of familiar and unfamiliar resonant acoustic sound sources exploring hidden emotional realities concealed in the narrative of adoption and otherness.
Recorded in five sound studios in Vancouver, Banff and Toronto. Minden and Hallett’s music evokes a curious cinematic quality. Wonderfully layered arrangements reveal a colourful palette of acoustic sounds (blown tuned glass bottles are used extensively.) One finds oneself taken on a journey through an unexpected sonic environment interspersed with the affecting sound of musical saw and the whale-like watery calls of the waterphone that sometimes feels like a music from an imagined place. Hallett’s natural, delicate vocals are sensitive in timbre and resonance. And the songs speak with a quiet, rebellious intensity.
The CDs have just arrived -soon to be available online at all the major download places. Its handsome and sounds wonderful…clear voiced, open sound with a grand acoustic dynamic. Dynamite through good headphones. A tip of the hat to engineer Jeff Wolpert for a meticulous mix and mastering.
The actual CD (opposed to virtual) is in limited supply. Only a small quantity of glass mastered CDs were manufactured. If you are one of those who still like the actual you can send an email to email@example.com and one will be reserved for you.
Twenty dollars covers everything. Send cheque to Otter Bay Productions, PO BOX 72041. Vancouver, BC V6R 4P2 and the CD will be sent to you immediately.
Today, Jan 15 2015 we approved the final master. It has been an all consuming experience since we first posted here, Sept 2013. We began this project with the intention of allowing ourselves time; time to find the optimum ways of recording our array of found sounds; time to build the perfect arrangements; time to allow the minutest of changes; time to be patient and uncompromising. All our changes during the process have made a world of difference. We embarked on this method to create a sound that we love and a sound that could not be achieved in any other way. Now we’ve reached the point of “letting go”. Next month the CD should be out in the world.
Minden & Hallett – listening to final mix-Desert Fish Studio, Toronto/photo D. Minden
Almost 1 year to the day, the recording is complete. Now, its all about listening. Letting some time go by to give perspective and listening to what has been recorded with fresh ears. We’re iistening now: the balance between sounds, the clarity and placement of the music and vocals, trying to find the best order and sequence for all the pieces that will make up the whole. It’s coming together as storytelling and the music and lyrics connect to each other in intricate ways, so that the sequencing becomes essential. We still imagine the wholeness of the album, rather than a set of individual songs. Do people even llsten this way anymore? Or is the internet with all its devices encouraging us to hear individual electronic downloads of separate pieces?
We thought we had finished all the recording last June and were close to wrapping up the album. A few days later Carla realized there was one more song that needed composing. The story wasn’t complete. This one took longer than usual to come into focus. Piano, insistent yet delicate, was going to be the centre of the music and words were going to tumble down and around the repetitious notes. Spoken, intense words against a texture of tuned glass bottles, struck metal bowl, musical saw, wordless vocals and piano. It’s October 1st and we have been immersed in this music for the last year. Today we recorded the piano tracks on a dusky, mellow 38 year old Grotrian-Steinweg.