Music: Noah and the Whale

Nov 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Blair Jackson



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How much are we hearing the sound of the big room at RAK? “A good deal of room is on the recordings,” Dobyns replies. “I had a pair of [Neumann] M50s in the room. Some songs really feature the room vibe.”

In preparation for the mix back at Hobo Sound, “I printed a lot of [Pro Tools] stems through the API at RAK and then brought them back here and mostly mixed in the box and put things though my 16-channel Chandler mini-mixer. I was also printing here through a Neve VR60, although we just got rid of that and we're most likely getting a smaller API.”

No new parts were added at the mix stage, Dobyns says. “I mixed it for two weeks by myself and then [the band] came over for five days and we kind of tweaked it; then it was mastered by Emily Lazar, who did a great job.”

After the album was done, Fink went back and directed a 46-minute conceptual video based around the song cycle — it's a fascinating work that captures some of the pastoral quality of the music and actually heightens the album's occasionally enigmatic character. That film is included with the album (along with two unusual performance videos). Since the album was completed, there have been changes in the band. Fink's brother Doug has left to devote all of his life to his real trade — he's a doctor; he's been replaced by Jack Hamson. And now the touring group has a second guitarist — Fred Abbott.

“The new band sounds great,” Fink says. “We've always had the philosophy that a song isn't ever necessarily ‘finished,’ so they can evolve and become different things as they grow. Despite the arrangements on the album, I think we're really capturing the essence of the record live, and all the old songs have been given a new varnish. They've been arranged more like the new songs and the set feels really fluid. I think it's the best we've ever sounded.”

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