Alan Parsons attracted stars from all walks of musical life at his recent “Orchestral Maneuvers” master class at Hybrid Studios in Orange County, co-sponsored by online mastering platform LANDR and 3D Audio plug-in specialists Waves Nx.
Alan Parsons’ Art & Science Of Sound Recording master class offered rare, behind-the-scenes access to the legendary producer’s world the weekend of March 24th/25th for twenty music professionals and a dozen audio engineering students from Tempe AZ’s Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences, attending on a scholarship program.
The opening day’s tracking session featured A-list rhythm section Vinnie Colaiuta and Nathan East, supported by top guitarist Jeff Kollman and Grammy winning arranger and keyboardist Tom Brooks. The music was The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas, famously used in Walt Disney’s 1940 animated epic, Fantasia.
Parsons’ new rendition combines an energetic prog rock shuffle with orchestral fireworks and is slated to appear on the upcoming Alan Parsons album due for release at the end of the year.
Straddling the tightly-knit rock and orchestral passages, came a free-flowing cello solo played by the internationally renown concert cellist Michael Fitzpatrick, who has worked closely with His Holiness The Dalai Lama for many years, most prominently on the groundbreaking Tuning The Planet project.
The master class’s second day involved the full orchestral recording previewed by a guided tour of Parsons’ orchestral miking philosophy. Today, this intriguingly involved not only spot miking for every pair of instruments but also a Decca Tree arrangement above the conductor’s head for an additional MS recording, plus a brand new 4-channel Sennheiser Ambisonic VR mic.
Recording The Sorcerer’s Apprentice took little more than an hour but in a final twist of the event’s musical mashups, the remainder of the orchestral session was used for the recording of a new cut from Chance The Rapper’s The Social Experiment featuring Peter Cottontale, Nate Segal (aka Donny Trumpet) and Nate Fox. The young Chicago collective and Alan Parsons share an arranger in Tom Brooks and Attendees were fascinated to watch Alan effortlessly trade Vinnie’s Colaiuta’s pyrotechnics from the day before for a simple 808 beat.
“If ever anyone needed reminding of music’s ability to interconnect genres and generations this was it,” said event producer and Alan’s partner in ASSR, Julian Colbeck.
Alan Parsons trained at Abbey Road in the company of George Martin and The Beatles before going on to engineer Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon and produce a string of hits for multiple artists including The Alan Parsons Project. Alan Parsons’ ASSR project has become the go-to platform for music production education with a 10-hour video series used in schools around the world and an on-going series of master classes. The next ASSR master class is “Women Rock” hosted by Sylvia Massy in Berkley, CA on May 19th.
Details of Orchestral Maneuvers: www.artandscienceofsound.com/mcts/oc
Details of Women Rock: www.artandscienceofsound.com/mcts/womenrock
More about the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences: www.cras.edu