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Between the notes – with Julien Brocal (feat. Grammy award winning recording engineer Richard King)

…silence is here … …we have to start from this point … …and … the music comes from this silence … Julien Brocal : “we tend to think a recording is just
focused about the artist that plays music but in fact it’s a team work it’s really
the sound that Richard (King) will capture through his microphones through his
setting he has to understand not only my sound but also the world of the
composers he has to catch it Richard King : “Can you play a little bit so I can just hear the piano ?” Julien : “it’s a legendary piano this CD18 (Steinway&Sons) from Istomin-Horowitz you never
have this kind of experience in your life *laughs* you’re never so lucky to experience
that in your life” Richard : “what I wanted to is create a sound that
matches the emotion that the music is portraying I’m recording for stereo but
at the same time we’re experimenting with immersive audio providing audio in
three dimensions” Richard : “Great” “Are you ready to go so we can try one or two
times ? Julien : ok
Richard : Super ! Julien : let’s do this Richard : Just give me 30 seconds to get upstairs Julien : yeah you have the
talk back button otherwise *laughs* Richard : ok I’m here stand by please this will be take 50 Richard : in working with Julien on this project
it’s been kind of amazing for me for a couple of reasons.
We think very similarly which makes it very easy to collaborate. I like his
style I like what he wants to get out of the music secondly it’s Ravel and
Mompou repertoire, composers from Spain early 1920s 1930s and Mompou as
Julien showed me, his writing is very similar to Ravel for solo piano and it’s
related so well it just makes perfect sense for a flow of an album Julien : What I liked
to do in this album is to put a mirror between them and let them reflect to
each other because they share the same vocabulary not the same grammar but the
same vocabulary they have a different way to express
things but comes the same result in the end Julien : Ah… I’m starting to get tired *laughs* Richard : *laughs* Ah! it’s alright ! Richard : you wanted to
go from “Plus Lent” now do that section ? Julien : yeah !
Richard : Why not ! Julien : I would love that ! *laughs* Richard : ok let’s cover that section Julien : ok ! Richard : Euh … you are ready to go ?
Julien : yeah Richard : okay this would be the take 51 Richard : so
Julien actually in preparing this repertoire memorized everything so he
played the very first thing we did the first morning, he sat down and played
through everything from memory 65 minutes of music and aside from
repeating a couple measures too many times his memory was perfect which is great you know we talked about turning off one
side of the brain so he’s not using his his eyes and brain process to absorb
what’s on the printed page it’s all inside him it’s in his soul and he can
just think of making interesting colors and actually not overthink but just let
the music flow out of him because it’s all it’s in him to bring back the people to the silence to their own silence that was the idea of Mompou in order to create a movement and to bring creators to follow this movement and bring back this … this voice of universe because we come from this silence from this stardust and the music has to come from this
silence the silence is giving birth to the sound and then the sound is
coming back to silence it’s not a secret it’s not a death it’s just there we just
have to listen to it the freedom of the sound has to play
with this space and time how do you project the sound into space and the
quality of the sound has to change for every note like if it was a new word and a new world every note isn’t the first note and in one note there are
every notes this is the magic of Mompou there is nothing much to say but you say
everything Julian style if you follow the markings in the score from the
composer but in his own way for instance sometimes Ravel would write “Assez Vif” which
means you have lots of energy so he would do that but it would be his
style of showing lots of energy and for this repertoire it wouldn’t mean loud or
you know or too agitated but sort of dancing I guess and their expressions in
the music like you want time which means far away so how do you with microphones
about the same distance from the piano throughout the recording how does the
pianist press the keys down and make the sound of the piano sound like it’s
actually further away than the previous notes he just played well Julien can do
that very well Julien : but just the presence my presence is
enough if it’s successful because sometimes it’s not and the magic doesn’t
happen but if it happens then the audience feels this presence and
become present also they quit whatever they were doing they don’t realize that
they’re quitting everything to just listen Richard : it’s great ! yeah Julien : ok, good ! Richard : I think the sound is
right you should come in here for just so you know what the final sound will be Julien : ok, I’ll come upstairs Richard : good ! Richard : great !
yeah so I think that’ll give us a basic idea for sound, but by all means
point out anything I can just tell you quickly that this sort of thing it was
working really well I thought the contrast, so let’s see so this take is from that section Julien : we have so many things coming up to our eyes to our senses in general it’s very aggressive I think we lost the magic of listening it’s not hearing it’s listening it’s another process the listening process
involves you to be active in a way it requires your presence I think yeah
actually here yeah ok ! Julien : we met (with Richard) on the day we started to record basically and it’s like I met him forever like I knew him from a long time ago and we’re used to record together
we know what we gonna do it was this kind of encounter that is magical because you don’t need words and the person understands where you
want to go and that’s one of the talents of Richard and I loved it I loved to
experience that recording sessions together with him I though, you know just time disapeared even though we recorded in less than one day and a half Julien : Yeah I liked it !
Richard : it’s good right ! Julien : he wrote “Cedez légèrement” Richard : but you get an idea for the sound anyway Julien : yes Richard : I should skip ahead maybe and show you I want to show you this measure it’s
really quite nice I wonder what you think yeah then we’ll go to the end let
me see I could find this place I think Richard : let me just skip … but you didn’t like it
Julien : yeah, let’s play it once more Richard : it’s the break, you don’t like the break ? Julien : yeah there’s a small break Richard : I can close that up a little … Julien : mmh no… Richard : not as good ? so 35 … Julien : there is, it’s rushing
Richard : Ah ! Julien : but it’s
my fault I mean Richard : to me it sounds exciting Julien : yeah ? okay
but I would like you know this is the top it has to open, not to close it’s party ! it’s something exciting ! Richard : I just saw that I gotta finish marking this is real 28
Julien : *laughs* Richard : yeah this ! no ?
Julien : no no … Richard : you don’t like this ?
Julien : there one note, in all this mess that is wrong ! Richard : every time
Julien : yeah ! Who is the pianist ? Richard : Ok, oh 33 here we go ! or 35 you liked yesterday remember ?
Julien : 35 … but I said okay but plus 33 so let’s hear those two … who is the pianist ! *laughs* Richard : ah ! but tell me about this you like ? Julien : yeah we have to compare I don’t say as
classical music is the key to every problem of the world but maybe it’s a
door to figure out … … there are many other doors but maybe it can change the life of a person that for the first time will experience listening Julien : yeah I think we have it from *laughs* Richard : so you do it …
Julien : this guy is tired ! Richard : you actually
do this with your thumb yeah ? Julien : yeah yeah Julien : ta ta ta .. boom Richard : ok yeah ! Julien : always but it’s this one thumb..
Richard : from the outside yeah Ok ! Great !

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