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Jeff Lang - New Album - I Live In My Head A Lot These Days


Hi all, I'm very excited to be releasing my new album 'I Live In My Head A Lot These Days' through ABC records.

My regular rhythm section supremos Danny McKenna on drums and Grant Cummerford on bass accompanied me for the sessions at the Enclave Recording Facility and were joined by the great Greg Sheehan on percussion. The interplay between these three as we locked horns on the songs was amazing to sing and play to! A real treat for me. Greg played his signature toy tambourine on many songs (the sounds he gets by playing with his fingers whilst bending the skin on this tiny instrument is staggering - like a cross between a full kit, talking drum and tabla) as well as bashing around on a slew of pots and pans on some songs. Amazing player.

In addition to some of my usual arsenal of instruments like the acoustic lap steel, some funky cheapo electric guitars and regular acoustic guitars I found a place for a Turkish electric baglama on one song - coupled with a Hurdy Gurdy of course! Throw in a bevy of beautiful harmony singers and a late night trumpet solo and the stew had the required ingredients.

I opted to try an experiment for mixing the album. I had noticed when listening to music on headphones during long-haul plane trips that certain recordings had a depth of field to them (certain instruments sounding palpably closer to the listener than others) that others did not. These were mostly acoustic jazz recordings from the late '50s and early '60s. By comparison many more recent recordings sounded like the instruments were plastered around my face with cling film.

I started to wonder if there was a way to obtain this perception of space with instrumental combinations that weren't conducive to recording in the fashion of these jazz albums.

The recordings I refer to were made with very few microphones, often cut straight to two-track. The blend of instruments is hit on by the players' positions in the room rather than recording each instrument separately and then achieving the balance during mix down. The playing and tones of the instruments are interacting at one time with one room, bouncing off one another.

When you have instruments that are playing together that have disparate volume levels however - a drum kit played with sticks alongside a mandolin for example - it's trickier to record this way and give each instrument it's correct relative volume. I really wanted to see if I could find a way to have everything co-mingling in one space at one time through a high-end stereo microphone though, so how could I do it?

I hit on a process where performances were recorded as I usually would but instead of mixing the album the conventional way (through a mixing board which sums the channels together via the master output fader of the desk), I ran every instruments' recorded track back through a monitor speaker each (or in the case of the drum kit, three speakers to replicate the physical size of a kit in a room). These speakers were then arranged in a room around the stereo microphone like they were the speaker boxes themselves were the players on an early stereo jazz session.

The intention with this process was to have the mixes obtain a perception of depth of field whilst getting the balance between the louder and quieter elements right. And it worked. If someone sounded too close or too loud, too quiet or far away or whatever we'd just move the speaker for that instrument closer or further away. It was fun to mix a recording this way.

But all of that doesn't matter if the songs don't grab you of course. I'm really pleased with this new batch of tunes and I really hope you enjoy the album.

We're taking it out on the road too, getting around the country throughout June and July. Hope to see you at one of the shows below.


Jeff Lang


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