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Blog: I Saw The Whole Of The Dinosaur Planet

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Regular perusers of these missives will know i hate to SHOW OFF and am LOATH to CROW about the massive work and effort that I, SELFLESSLY, pour into the world of ROCK, so you will understand if I only briefly mention that I had to get up at SEVEN O'CLOCK A.M IN THE MORNING on Saturday (SATURDAY!) in order to get to Derby in time to do some mixing.

It turns out there are TRANES and even SHOPS open at that time of the day! Who knew?

For LO! I was due in the East Midlands for eleven-ish to meet Mr T 'The Tiger' McClure and Mr R Newman at Snug Recording Co to spend a DELIGHTFUL day doing most of the re-re-re-mixes for Dinosaur Planet. As mentioned previously, a fortnight ago we'd completed PENULTIMIXES of everything and mysefl and The Validators had spent the next several days LISTENING and CRITIQUING them. I arrived at the studio with two pages of NOTES to guide us through the day, fixing errors and bringing everything up to Release Standard.

Just before I arrived Tom texted to say he'd been slightly delayed, so I decided to first of all get stuck into Literature Search. It's been pretty much the most problematic of ALL the songs for this album, going through several VERY different mixes and having TONNES of stuff loaded onto it. The mix Tom and Tim did when they were in was NEARING the right place, but I still had some more ideas on how to do it. However, once we'd started mixing I suddenly realised the one thing it TOTALLY needed to make it work: A MASSIVE GUITAR SOLO!

And so it was that Tom came in to discover me GUILTILY HUNCHED OVER MY INSTRUMENT, making a right old racket but, eventually, getting it sounding pretty darn good. We then returned to the top of the list and spent the rest of the day working through, with some songs taking just a couple of minutes to sort out (we just needed to check we had the CORRECT mix of Here Come The Dinosaurs for instance, while We Are The Giant Robots needed the volume on LARFTER turning up and the ROBOT VOCALS being less Stereo Panned) and others taking a bit longer. We spent AGES getting the timing of a THUNDERCLAP right on the OVERTURE and did quite a bit of adjustment on My Grandad Is Nuts and Please Don't Eat Us, but the MOST effort went into For The Fate Of The Earth.

CRIKEY! Those who saw the show will know that this is the GINORMOUS EPIC which acts as a CLIMAX to the whole thing, and so not only runs for a ROCKING SIX MINUTES but also features HUGE amounts of ACTION and VOCALS from about half the cast. Tons has thus been done on it already but yet MORE was required with timpani, orchestras, explosions, "brass lag at the KT Boundary" (one of Tom's notes) and general maintenance of BALANCE between it all. It took extra long because we had to bounce everything down TWICE to get all the sound effects right, so when we noticed something missing we had to go back and do it AGANE. It was worth it tho - listening back when I got home, I couldn't quite believe that we - little old US! - had managed to CREATE such a thing! I keep telling people that when they HEAR what we have done they will understand why it has taken so LONG, and i think For The Fate Of The Earth will probably be enough to demonstrate all that on its own.

We didn't QUITE get everything finished - I had to dash off for my train before we could sort out A Little Bit More, but I can do that fairly quickly when I'm back in three weeks to prepare what we have decided to call THE PENULTI-MASTER! This'll feature ALL the "final" mixes of the songs which we finished on Saturday finally MERGED TOGETHER with the DIALOGUE (which I plan to spend the first few hours of the session remixing) to form a seemless HOUR OF THRILLPOWER that we will then spend AUGUST listening to... before returning in September, probably, to fiddle about with one final time before it's DONE.

It's all getting scarily near to completion now, and I'm starting to catch GLIMPSES of what it's going to look like when it's finished. We've spent a couple of YEARS now working on small PARTS of it, but as these get assembled into larger components, and as these components themselves are welded together, every now and again you get a brief look at the final MACHINE that you are creating. It is a HUGE and MIGHTY and BEAUTIFUL thing, and though I'm a bit afeared of letting it out into the world at last, I also can't WAIT to show it off!

posted 27/6/2011 by MJ Hibbett

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