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Capturing the sounds of St Nicholas

Capturing the sounds of St Nicholas
George Moorey (Photo by Shane Young)

Capturing the sounds of St Nicholas

United Kingdom:

Music producer George Moorey’s latest project, a collaboration with Shane Young titled The Powdered Earth, comprises piano samples recorded from various sites around the city of Gloucester. This included the 12th century St Nicholas’ Church, where he keeps an upright Opus Pianino piano.

‘Piano is crucial to the sound of The Powdered Earth,’ revealed Moorey. ‘The parts are simple and repetitive, so I record them as MIDI using a master keyboard and a DAW. This makes it easier to edit and change the songs as they are developed. Using MIDI also means we can replace all the sounds, so I am collecting piano samples at every opportunity.’

The Audient iD14 audio interface paired with Moorey’s MacBook for mobile recording
The Audient iD14 audio interface paired with Moorey’s MacBook for mobile recording

Moorey carried his own, portable recording setup to each venue for the recordings. ‘I use an Audient iD14,’ he explained. ‘It’s perfect for the task. Two quality pre-amps and converters, and easy to use physical controls and software interface. If there’s power available, I am able to use the iD14’s built in 48v phantom power with condenser microphones. If there’s no power, a pair of dynamic microphones are used and the iD14 can be powered via USB from the MacBook. This is something I’ve done a few times.’

The church’s reverberation was welcomed by Moorey, however its location caused somewhat of an issue during recording. ‘St Nicholas has an amazing, expansive natural reverb, but because it is in the city centre, it’s pretty difficult to get a quiet recording. There’s often the sound of conversations, cars, seagulls, sirens and other noises specific to the location. The cathedral bells pealing for example, or the occasional tipping out of hundreds of bottles from the pub next door. On the plus side, it does mean that my recordings and samples are far from generic.'

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