Vocals for ‘Fossils’

Jul 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Barbara Schultz


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Fossils album cover

Tucker Martine produced and engineered Crooked Still member Aoife O’Donovan’s first solo album, Fossils (Yeproc), in his studio, Flora (Portland, Ore., florarecording.com). “Most of the songs had been performed live onstage with her band, but Aoife was quick to say she wasn’t married to anything about the arrangements or presentation,” Martine says. “In many cases, we used the band demos as a starting point. In several cases we imploded the demo approach altogether. I’m not the type of producer that will actually feed the part to somebody, but I usually have a pretty good idea of what’s needed where and when to dig deeper.”

Fossils is an intimate record with delicate washes of guitars and vocal harmonies highlighting O’Donovan’s strong, emotional songs. Martine captured band sessions to his 2-inch, 24-track Studer A827 machine, then transferred to Pro Tools for overdubs and editing. “I tried probably seven or eight mics on her voice before I settled on the Shure SM7,” he says. I thought for sure the 49, the 67 or the 47 would win out, but they all accentuated some anomaly in her voice I didn’t think would sit well in the mix. Aoife’s voice seems to have a really unique built-in EQ curve—kind of a smiley-face curve. The SM7 went into a Neve 1084 into an 1176. We kept many live performances for the feeling over the technical perfection of the performance; as a result, there were a number of songs where I used a Pultec EQ for some air around 16 or 12k and used the GML MDW EQ plug in to notch out anything too murky.”

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