The 14 songs of December

By: Nick Poortman  05-Apr-2012
Keywords: Engineer

Dec, 29 2011 |

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Last edited: December 31, 2011

So December turned out to be the busiest month I have had since returning to New Zealand! No complaints though.

At the start of December I was asked to head into York Street and help out Simon Gooding for the new Nathan Haines album. Musically, it was a relatively simple set up, with four musicians all playing together in the live room. Inside the control room, it was mayhem. We were tracking through the Neve into Pro Tools, but also had a 1/2″ 2-track tape machine running, meaning we were recording all the microphones, the live mix onto tape, the live mix into Pro Tools, and the 2-track return from the tape machine into Pro Tools. Confused yet? It was a bit of a puzzle to set up, but soon enough we were sorted. I wasn’t so much an engineer on this project but an assistant. I could see why they wanted an extra set of hands though! It was great fun and was sounding awesome. Looking forward to hearing the finished result. I had to leave early to head off to pack, as the next morning I had an early flight to Christchurch.

Well, it wasn’t as early as the trip in October, but still – anything before 9am is early in my opinion. I got to Christchurch around 9am on the Sunday morning and had a day off, which I spent catching up with some of the extended family. Had a relatively early night, as I knew of the impending workload!

Kevin Allison from Angels Gate Studio had flown me down to engineer a few weeks of recording while he produced the tracks. We had various sessions over the next 15 days, and got a lot of work done.

The next Saturday I decided to check out the container mall and head in to see the Christchurch Cathedral – it was the last day the walk to the cathedral was open until the new year. Although I only have scattered memories of Christchurch from my childhood trips to see my grandparents, I found it very confronting and actually quite upsetting. Being in the middle of a CBD with no noise, no cars, no people in the buildings, and the ground covered in rubble was a very haunting and surreal scenario – it felt like a movie set. On the flip side, after walking out of the walkway it was quite uplifting to see the brightly painted containers and a bustling Cashel Mall. Buskers were out, carols were being sung, and I found the contrast quite amazing.

After the 15 days, I was feeling pretty knackered do had an early night. The next day I headed into Cashel Mall and began my Xmas shopping. As expected it was pretty busy. There are a cool range of shops there, so the Xmas shopping was a bit easier than I had thought it would be. The amazing thing about the container mall is that you step inside one and it no longer seems like a container. You completely forget that you aren’t in a ‘proper’ shopping mall, and in all honesty I quite like the containers. They’ve done a great job and it’s really good to see things picking up again. In comparison from my first trip down to Christchurch, I couldn’t believe the speed that the cleanup is happening. Entire blocks had been demolished in the 5 weeks I was away. Even in the nine days since I saw the cathedral, things were changing dramatically. There were a few minor rumbles while I was down there. Nothing to really write about, but they were definitely getting stronger in my final few days. In fact, I even mentioned to a few people that it felt as though it was picking up a little and gearing up for a bigger shake. Unfortunately, that seemed to be right, and I felt quite upset seeing the news of the two big quakes last Friday. Kia kaha Christchurch, keep strong. I’ll be back down again soon!

Those two session are just the tip of the iceberg – next year is already ramping up to be a busy but exciting and fun time. There is work coming in from around New Zealand and abroad, and I’ll be working on some exciting new upgrades to my website shortly. I’ll be sure to keep you more in the loop and make sure future posts aren’t as long as this one. If you have made it this far, well done and thanks for reading! Time to balance my books before heading off to the beach for a relaxing new years. Hope everyone had a great Crimbo and hope you have a great new year!

All up, I worked on 14 songs in the 15 days I was down there… Pretty big effort if you ask me. Looking forward to getting back down to Christchurch soon to record and mix some of the great local artists!

Until next time,

Keywords: Engineer

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