John Metcalfe recording Copper Beech at Real World Studios

From influential Factory Records signings, Durutti Column, to arranging strings for Morrissey, Blur and Peter Gabriel through to his solo compositions, John Metcalfe’s work melds avant-pop, electronica and contemporary classical.

He recorded his second album, The Appearance of Colour, exclusively for Society of Sound members at Real World Studios. Here he talks about the production choices he made for the recordings:

“From a very early stage in my training as a violist I have always had a deep passion for chamber music both as listener and performer. Over the last three years I have written intimate small scale pieces that didn’t quite fit my work with my band which uses a lot of electronics and drums. When I discovered the ethos behind the Society of Sound I knew this would be an ideal opportunity to record these pieces as a whole. There is a mix of performance and use of electronics.

For live recording we used valve microphones where possible, in particular the Neumann U67, a classic mic from the 60′s and 70′s which suited my viola, a Giovanni Battista Ceruti made in 1800, extremely well. The piano is a Bosendorfer owned by Peter Gabriel.

All of it is recorded with microphones deliberately placed very close to the instruments so there are some noises of breathing, the odd rustle of clothing, the bow hair on the string, the sound of the sustain pedal on the piano and other extraneous noises. The reason being to hear the music from the performers’ perspective as much as possible rather than the traditional ‘best seat in the house’ mic placement used for general classical recording.”

The Appearance of Colour is available as high-quality download including studio-quality 24-bit FLAC.

1 Comment

  • Thorsten says:

    This Recording was one of my first from the “Society of Sound” catalouge. I really love it (though I usually don’t listen to “classical” music very much).

    The pieces are full of amtosphere, some are airy, others come with temper and spirit, some are bright and otheres breathe some melancholic colours. Altogether compositions are deliberate.
    Especially I love the first “suite”, which is called “Kite”. You really can see a kite dancing in the air and coming back to the heavy earth.

    The sound is absolutely brilliant, very natural and warm.

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