Recent Work

My Love Of Techno…

…can’t be overstated. It’s my first love in music and I think it all comes down to hearing one particular record when I was very young.

I can’t put into words the effect it had. I was brought up listening to the likes of The Beatles, The Stones, Van Morrison, Dylan, Hendrix… but none of them had anything like the effect that this brutal, minimalist take on pure rhythm had on me at the age of around 6 or 7. I could write a dissertation on why I believe Kraftwerk’s ‘Numbers’ to be arguably the most important modern record ever made. It almost single-handedly provided the blueprint for Techno and Electro in one three and a half minute composition and it came along at exactly the right time to be heard by millions.

Most of my Techno discoveries during my formative years came from listening to the legendary John Peel show – one of the very few BBC radio programs that was ever worth listening to – and it was here that I heard ‘Deviant Behaviour’ by Mike Dearborn.

Honestly, it totally blew my mind. It showed what could be done with Techno. An eerie, tough sounding, alien world was instantly created inside my head that remains just as other worldly every time I listen to it to this day.

Fast forward to my 39th year and Techno is still, easily, what I immerse myself in the most. To me, it’s the most honest, bare presentation of pure rhythm, funk, groove and imagination. It consistently eschews all known (and constantly repeated) ‘formula’ chord and melody structures in favour of reinventing itself with almost every new record that bears the ‘Techno’ label. In my mind, Techno is as fresh and anarchic as it ever was.

I love to master techno too. Going through my compressors to find the one that lifts and enhances the groove in the most pleasing, musical way is something I look forward to every time I get a four to the floor track in my email attachments. Send me your techno and I will give it the love it deserves 🙂

Covert – A Touched Mystery

covert cover
A real highlight of my mastering career so far and I don’t even know who I’m mastering… Such was the intense secrecy surrounding this Touched release, I wasn’t even privy to the knowledge of who exactly was responsible for each unique contribution (all except a few who left their artist name in the file title!). This actually presented some unique challenges in terms of mastering. As technical a skill as mastering is, there is still an element of the subjective and the creative. You hand a track to 10 different engineers and you will get 10 slightly different results. Often, one will reference previous releases by clients as part of the process. This, of course, was largely not possible here.

Aside from this, it was an awesome experience and something that I’m very proud to have been a part of. Indeed the challenges described above made it even more memorable for me. It was also a joy (and still is) to see the various forum discussions across the internet that attempt to figure out who is who. I have my ideas (and I’ve had a few confirmed) but there are still a good few I’m as in the dark about as you all are.

Check it out here and happy sleuthing… 🙂

Covert

Mike Allen ‘Juxt’

mike allen juxt cover
Introducing my good friend Mike Allen. A very talented fellow you really ought to seek out and listen to if your tastes lie somewhere in Industrial, Goth and Techno influenced rock and electronic stylings. Dark subject matters are explored and examined within guitar laden, dense atmospheres that recalls bands like NIN, Depeche Mode and perhaps even hints of Throbbing Gristle and Coil in places. His 4th and latest album ‘Juxt’, released on the Sunseasky label, is a further development of this sound which features more electronic elements than his previous work.

Juxt has heavy guitars, intense arrangements and sparser moments of almost ambient beauty in equal measure. Darkness pervades but light shines through at many junctures throughout the journey. It’s a highly enjoyable long player that provokes thought and a desire to turn up the volume knob… A real joy to master.

As well as being available to download digitally it comes in a unique packaging option (pictured below). A credit card style exclusively designed flash drive can be plugged in to a usb slot and played directly. This comes inside a magnetically sealed plastic case that will stand out on the shelf in your music collection.

Check it out here…

Mike Allen Juxt
juxt packaging

Exm ‘llmt’

exm llmt cover
Back in late 2015 I received an album for mastering by the hitherto unknown to me EXM. I loaded the files into my DAW and hit the spacebar. As each track played out my eyes got wider and my smile increased. This was highly accomplished work within a style of electronic music I happen to love. Intricate backdrops full of angular and sharp, yet somehow soft, textures dance playfully behind interesting timbres that hold the foreground. Complex and satisfying percussion completes the slightly funk fuelled and grooving (in places) picture. It very much reminds me of a certain famous high profile Warp duo who have been slowly changing my perception of what music is and can be for around 20 years now.

The mastering itself was a real pleasure as the tracks were very well produced and mixed. EXM deserves much credit for such a beautiful first album. Released on the Touched label, check it out here…

EXM llmt

Touched Two (The Remixes)

I’m very excited to present the remix album of Touched Two. Another huge project undertaken by the tireless(!) Martin Boulton for Macmillan Cancer Support. I was on mastering duties for this which was a wonderful experience. Once again, getting to work with many of my heroes music was slightly surreal and a great pleasure. An absolute bargain – for £10 you get 120 tracks featuring the likes of The Future Sound Of London, Plaid, Arovane, B12, Robert Leiner, Mark Van Hoen, Bibio and many more great musicians. Check it out here…

Touched Two (The Remixes)

Sunseasky Seasons Volume One

Sunseasky is a label that has been around for quite a while now steadily releasing indie rock, post-rock and shoegaze then moving gradually into the more electronic based acts and artists that currently grace the roster. Indeed, my own electronica output as Boc Scadet has been very well supported by them and I’m very pleased to be currently carrying out mastering work for them too. Seasons Volume One is the first of a series of compilations that will give the curious listener an overview of the kind of musicians SSS supports. Featuring a very diverse selection from the likes of Bright Like The Sun, Clem Leek, Dirk Geiger, The White Birch and a whole host of other very talented up and coming artists.

Download the compilation for free from the Bandcamp link below.

Seasons Volume One

Touched By Lights

You may not have heard of Min-Y-Llan. A very hard working musician, label boss and curator of fine electronica compilations. If you have the slightest interest in electronic music you owe it to yourself to give Martin Boulton’s material an attentive listen. His charity compilations Touched and Touched Two are both astounding achievements in artist participation and have helped raise well over £20,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. I recently had the pleasure of mastering his latest release ‘Touched By Lights’. An ep of complex yet accessible melodies and crisp sounding, infectious beats.

Out now and available to download from Bandcamp for as much as you want to pay. Click on the link below.

Touched By Lights

Mastering Blu Inc’s Wonderfully Soulful House

I recently had the pleasure of working with House act Blu Inc. Their music brings back a golden era when House music was all about infusing the dancefloor with a spiritually uplifting feeling that stayed close to its true disco and gospel influences. Mastering their music was a real pleasure (being a huge House fan myself). A smooth, soulful vocal sits atop a very warm and deep sounding track featuring a classic house piano and a very atmospheric sax break. Aptly named ‘Saturday’ it’s a classy Saturday night club track that, I think, is destined to be a classic.

Out now on Yoo’nek Records and available from Beatport and many other digital outlets.

“Whatever Gets The Mix There”

These were the words spoken to me by an influential tutor at a certain point along my journey to becoming a full time audio engineer(whilst I was at uni doing my Creative Music Production And Technology BA). It was during the mixdown of an indie rock band we had recorded the day before. We (my group) were high pass filtering and making small tonal adjustments to a few instruments in a painstakingly slow manner. Things were not really coming together for various reasons. My tutor walked in, observed for a while and then chose a moment to step in. He slapped some eq plugins across some busses and proceeded to make some pretty radical adjustments to just about everything in the track. Within 2 minutes the mix had come alive and things were sounding much more cohesive. After some discussion about the eq decisions he had made and the fact they were, subjectively, against the rules he said “whatever gets the mix there”. It was a memorable studio session and a good lesson.

To be perfectly honest what he said coincided with thoughts and feelings I had always had about the way in which the final result of musicians endeavours are eventually presented to the world. That, in essence, it doesn’t really matter how you arrive at your final mix, so long as that mix sounds great. I had just never said as much myself out loud for fear of laughter, ridicule and fingers pointing at my unusual compressor settings or that 6 dB boost on the drum buss eq… Now, of course, there is an unquestionable need for guidelines, do’s and don’ts and rules of thumb. You do need to put the work in and learn why they are there and why one is employing certain methods to achieve certain results. It’s still important to understand the underlying principles behind those guidelines or ‘rules’ and it’s only once a good grasp on those principles has been reached that one can start to treat the mixing desk as their oyster. Prise it open, experiment and break the rules – so long as you have a good reason for doing so. That ‘good’ reason may well be ‘because it sounds good!’… which is perfectly valid.

The point, is that there is no right or wrong. We are all making art after all. Sometimes it’s good to run with what the emotions are telling you rather than looking at the numbers and the meters.

Acorns

Hello to everyone who is reading this. My first post on my new blog on my new website. Every aspect of this fresh-out-of-the-seed-packet website is an acorn from which oak trees with strong roots will hopefully grow. At this point I don’t really have a lot more to say (as my mind is somewhat tired from just about finishing the wording you see written on the various pages here at Crimson Sun) so I will simply say thanks for visiting. I hope that you enjoy your stay 🙂