So we had chosen a church about 40 km from Tallinn to record the album. Now I think I would do it in a studio on the carpet. It scares me that everything must be done on the spot. The same crew had recorded a harpsichord CD in the same church recently and my editor suggested that we try the place out with the guitar, too.
It was the end of summer and not too hot inside the church. I mean – it was cold!!! So my planned tempos were cut at least 10% off. My plan was to play as few takes as possible. Later on, in the montage room I regretted that but the outcome is as “fresh and honest” as I wanted. Nowadays you can do whatever in the recording process and the outcome can still be fluent and perfect as ever. I didn’t want that. I wanted to have a honest recording that would reflect my real playing. Everybody makes mistakes when playing. Avoiding them cannot be the ultimate goal of a player.
A recording engineer once told me that his personal record is to make about 300 cuts in a minute! It was a guitarist’s recording and it makes 5 adjustments per second. It can be a joke, but it is not far from the truth. I organized an international guitar festival for many years and had quite embarrassing moments when I heard some people playing live who’s CD’s I had heard before and thought they’re pretty good.
Now I judge nobody just based on recordings. People must be able to play and they must play in every conditions: too tired, too cold, too hungry, too bad chair, too many people, too few people, too late, too early, no notes, no footstool, old strings, bad guitar, not my guitar, a steel-string guitar! etc etc. If you’re a musician and somebody asks you to play, then you play!
Anyway, back to the recording. It was exhausting enough but I think that once in a while I got quite good concentration and friends with percussion cheered me up. Playing alone is such a boring thing sometimes.
Here are some pictures from the church. Sometimes I used footstool, sometimes played on my knee, sometimes used sheet music in front of me, mostly played by heart. The sound of the place is very very good!
Recording the handclapping and castagnets was a trouble. The reverb was too big for that but it was too late to change something. We had to come back to record the clapping once more over my pre recorded music because our plan to play live together didn’t work out. That’s why there are places when I think the timing of the castagnets should be better. But the player just had to guess when to start playing so she was a little bit nervous. She’s a dancer not a musician 🙂
There were places where I had to change my fingering because of the unexpected finger noise of bad tuning. And my strings! TOOO NEW! This is what I really regret. The guitar is super but the solo strings on the first day.. Fortunately those are the pieces that I played with capo and drums.