8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: I responded to a photograph, posted by one of our distinguished alumni, of the artist and one of her children together in a studio:
There were emails to tear open, marking to confront, and sounds to hear critically. This Saturday reminded of last Saturday: resplendent, hopeful, and uplifting. Such days suggest that all things are possible, distances can dissolve, happiness might cease to be elusive, and an emptiness can be filled.
10.15 am: Studiology. I played the album at -37dB (which I’ve always found to be a good reference volume for the desktop monitors). The compositions were now beginning to sound as though someone else had made them. This was a healthy indicator. It suggested that I was letting go of them, finally. Overall, the median loudness was moving beyond acceptable to good. Several tracks were sufficiently loud, but insufficiently present or assertive. I tweaked and redressed as I went along, while looking to my right at the pile of marking (like ironing) that still beckoned. (And there was housework to do too.)
12.00 pm: I was determined to bounce from one responsibility to another throughout the day, but the needs of a few compositions prevailed upon me. While I had the understanding, it was best to act in the light of it.
1.00 pm: A jaunt into town to take in the air and stretch my legs. A Saturday afternoon treat at my customary watering-hole:
2.00 pm: Back to mastering, and a second run-through of the tracks processed so far. As in painting, one must stand back from the canvas often in order to see the part that you’ve just worked on in the context of the whole. I’m particularly pleased with the percussive dimension of the album. The ‘drumming’ is constructed from scratches, tone-arm drops, and static derived from the vinyls. I used to play percussion (badly) in my secondary-school orchestra. I’d arrived at this section having been booted out of the brass due to my even worse efforts on the e-flat horn and trombone. I found my instrument (my first love) – the guitar – only when I began playing in an experimental rock-orientated band as a sixteen-year old.
3.00 pm: Over a glass of iced orange juice, and in order to give my ears a rest, I reviewed my secondary school reports. They were quite appalling, even for art. ‘Dunce’ doesn’t even come close to it. Those subjects that I enjoyed most, like music and drama, lay beyond my reach, because either I didn’t have the requisite skill or they weren’t offered as a qualification. My best subject, consistently, was Religious Education. My worst, Mathematics and the sciences:
I feel for him still, poor dab.
For the remainder of the afternoon, I continued to ‘excite’ (which isn’t at all sexy) the sonorities until that elusive sense of presence was achieved. The whole album would be reviewed next week on a different sound system.