Every Friday, we’re sharing a newly released song or album from one of our favorite artists and how they used an iZotope product on it.
This week we spoke with Scott Fraser, who produced and engineered the new album Landfall, by Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet (released February 16, 2018 on Nonesuch Records).
“As soon as I began the mix for Landfall, I realized immediately that a different approach would be needed. Without all the visual elements of the live performance, the recorded version was going to need an ‘enhanced’ presence in order to preserve the emotional depth and message of Laurie’s composition.
"I decided that every movement would need a distinct processing ‘signature’ and that would involve a far greater dependence on Kronos’s Countryman Isomax microphones, mounted on the bridge of each instrument and used in our live performances. You’d be surprised how physically noisy a violin can be when miked that closely. Plus, the string arrangements are harmonically and texturally spare and very revealing.
"So, every Kronos track for each every movement in the entire album, the four Neumann spot mics, four Countryman Isomaxes, and a distant Schoeps room pair, went through various passes of RX cleaning: high pass filtering, Spectral Noise Reduction, & lots of Spectral Repair, to remove any finger or bow noise, or the occasional room noise. Laurie’s vocal tracks were similarly cleaned with Spectral Repair so they could be mixed very dry, upfront, and intimate, without any distracting vocal clicks or pops.
"Although I obviously spend enormous amounts of time tracking, editing, and mixing in my DAW (Digital Performer), I have to say that an equally important part of the process of every album I record these days is running tracks through RX. Given the ease with which any sort of noise can be excised in RX, I find it an essential part of the process on every project now. Noise which doesn’t add any musical information nor portray any of the musicians’ humanity is simply a detraction, and RX has become a big part of my approach to bringing the music to the front of the aural picture, so that the technical aspect of the recording process is invisible to the listener.
"It has become a cliche, but I can definitely say that RX has become an application I cannot live without in my day to day work. Thanks for a great piece of software and an absolutely essential workplace tool."
—Scott Fraser, Producer