Although a fully treated and equipped recording studio can offer more structure and control over the sound you want to get, sometimes remote locations can bring inspiration and even better performance from the artists. That was the case on the album "Tunes of the Travelling Dance Masters" by flute player and tap dancer Aneta Dortová and multi-instrumentalist Emanuelle De Simone.
The album had a concept and they wanted to record live instead of overdubbing, they needed to respond to each other's playing. At that moment I thought that we could find a place that could suit the project and straight away Katie's Claddagh Cottage came to my mind as a possibility, the place is one of the few thatched cottages on the Claddagh region in Galway City. The artists loved the idea, Aneta teaches dance there so it is a place that she knows well and feels really comfortable in. The cottage itself was a bit small, so we aimed for the workshop and teahouse they have just behind the main house. There we could have a bit more separation in sound, so me and my assistant Xander Lee set up the portable mixes, the notebook, the mics and positioned the musicians in a way that they could see each other. We had one condenser mic for each player that we would move around whenever they switched instruments. A contact pickup was placed underneath the dancing board to get definition and an SM57 to get the performance with more dynamics. We had a dynamic mic for vocals to give us good separation from the other instruments, mainly the board that can be quite loud. We had also an omnidirectional mic placed in the back of the room to had a print of the overall sound of the room, helping me to give it all a nice glue in the mixing phase.
We did two full days in the cottage and a third day here at the studio for some overdubs, like a few tracks where Emanuelle is playing the banjo and also the bouzouki, or Aneta is dancing and also playing the flute. The mixing was done all here in the studio and in-the-box. You can see some of the processes of the album in this video:
The result was remarkable! The album was featured in the Irish Music Magazine, got several great reviews on specialized blogs, and played on RTÉ Radio 1.
You can listen and purchase down below.