Alan Parsons brings his popular Master Class Training Sessions to a legendary Cologne recording studio ahead of his German tour with the Alan Parsons Live Project.
Alan Parsons—Dark Side Of The Moon engineer, producer (including of John Miles’ iconic “Music”) and artist with the Alan Parsons Project—will be in Cologne May 10th for his first ever mainland Europe Master Class Training Session, at Maarweg Studio2. The One Day Level 2 master class will comprise a full range of recording activities from pre-production and arrangement concepts to a live tracking session, vocal and instrumental overdubs, through to a rough mix.
Attendees at the Cologne session will be encouraged to be participants, not simply passive observers. The opportunity of making a record alongside Alan Parsons is a rare one and countless attendees of earlier sessions held throughout North and South America (and one at Abbey Road!) have found them inspirational and life-changing learning experiences. “I attended. Best money I ever spent,” commented one attendee on YouTube, speaking about the most recent master class in Austin TX held in Nov. 2016.
Maarweg Studio2, Maarweg 149 – 161, 50825 Köln, Germany.
Alan and the studio not only a share history with Pink Floyd, who recorded here back in the day, there’s also the EMI connection: Maarweg Studio 2’s 150-square-meter live room was the largest in the old EMI studio complex that the company opened in 1953. The studio still retains an old world vibe (and no doubt sound!) from the live room’s original walnut inlays and cork paneling to its cache of widely sought-after Telefunken V76 valve preamps to a splendid AKG BX 20 spring reverb, resplendent in a wooden cabinet behind the SSL 9000J mixing console. Abbey Road, where Alan trained and worked with The Beatles, Pink Floyd and others, was another EMI Studio complex; only switching its name to Abbey Road in the 1970s in honor of the iconic Beatles album title.
The ArtistBased in Biel, Switzerland, tight, edgy, progressive rock/pop band Ripstone was founded in 2007 by brothers Linus and Ruben Mathys. The current line-up has been in place since 2015 and now features dynamic front woman Julie Beriger on vocals and keyboards.
Propelled by the virtuoso playing of the Mathys brothers, Ripstone belies their youth and have played over 100 shows, including at such established venues in Bierhübeli, Gaskessel in Berne, Moods, Alte Kaserne in Zürich, Kongresshaus, Podring, Gaskessel, Le Singe in Biel, «Das Zelt» in Vevey and Umsonst and the Draußen Festival in Germany.
The band writes and records all its own material and were runners up in the Emergenza band contest in 2016.
On March 14th Ripstone released their latest single Black Cat / Falling down on 7” vinyl.
|A Life In The Day
What it’s like working in the studio with Alan Parsons
The key ingredient in any Master Class is hang time with the Master. Not hang time in terms of swapping jokes or sharing the peanuts but considered, observational hang time where you’re able to pick up on the vibe, the pacing, the approach to the day’s proceedings.
These days it can seem everyone has the same information available to them and to some extent we have. How to mic a snare (“use a 57”), how to record upright piano (“point a pair of AKG C12’s at the back from a foot and half away”) but exactly where to point the 57 on ‘this’ snare, how much stereo to shoot for on the upright are the details on which the devil bases almost all his levels of success.
The beauty of MCTS events is that there’s time and opportunity to ask and get answers, to live and learn. And also to contribute.
Validation is often quoted as one of the most valuable take-aways from an MCTS. “I was just going to suggest a little boost at 12k” said one Attendee. “And then Alan comes up and says ‘I think we need a little more at 12k’ and I was like YES!” Hearing can sometimes just be believing in yourself. At the other end of the spectrum are those “You’re right but I’d never have thought of that” moments like when Alan stunned a session in Buenos Aires by physically EQ-ing the left and right overheads and not simply ‘copying’ left and right settings and reminding them: “Recording is about how it sounds, not about how it looks.”
MCTS events are both hands-on and feet on the ground affairs. In fact knees on the ground as often as not. Alan is not averse to plonking himself down n the floor to nudge a mic a half an inch to the right so that it’ll escape the worst of the spill from a neighboring sound source.
There will be many moments in an AP session where the muse and the magic starts to flow. Often you’ve got to be quick and really pay attention to ‘what just happened’. Alan is not going to bang a gong (literally or figuratively) and either telegraph every move he’s making or make some big deal of it after. So much of what makes a great producer or engineer is taste and instinct that the observer needs to keep their wits about them in order to distill a particular moment into tangible lesson form.
Much of what Alan Parsons is all about he learned at Abbey Road, be it overarching concepts like ‘value for money’ or the particular such as miking a concert Grand piano. At all levels, benefiting from Alan‘s lifetime of experience in such a short space of time is an exhausting and exhilarating experience for everyone involved.
This is a Level 2, 1-day MCTS. Attendees should have a reasonable working knowledge of DAWs, and be comfortable with basic studio terminology, practices and etiquette.
Since the session is on the eve of Alan’s German tour, those with tickets to any of the dates should be able to procure tickets to one of the after-show events.
The Cologne session is Alan’s first European master class and tickets are expected to sell out fast so don’t miss out on working with one of the world’s greatest producers and engineers on this unique event.
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