In the week of mixing and mastering at Strype Audio I got so used to listening to the music on a great sound system that I started to assume that this was normal. But then, when I came home and played the same tracks on my Harman Kardon bluetooth speaker I was shocked how different the music sounded. It seemed like half the tap sounds were not coming through at all, and the ones that were had much less texture, tonality and clarity than I had gotten used to. Similarly, some of the musicians in the project had heard the recorded music on their phone speakers or on other equipment and were positively surprised how much better it sounded in the studio when we heard it over Strypes speakers.
Of course we know that there are good and bad quality sound systems. But when we listen to music we already know, and instruments we already know, we can sort of filter the bad sound and know what it really sounds like, approximately. But the tap sound is not a sound that most people know as anything more than click clacks and noise. So, when they listen to a recording with tap and guitar on a bad speaker, and the tap sound is bad, they don’t even know that that is the case. To paraphrase David Lynch: “People watch a movie on their phone and think they have experienced the film, but sadly that’s not the case at all!”
Now this project is all about making the effort, spending much time and money, and working with experts, to make recordings that do the tap sound justice. All aspects are considered and used to the maximum potential: What does the tap dance sound contribute in each specific collaboration and what does that mean for my tap dance vocabulary, musical role and rhythmical responsibility, how do we use the specific location and sound of the room as well as possible, which microphones, boards, shoes work best, and then how is it mixed and mastered in the studio?
Each recording session was also filmed, and the documentary videos will be available after the vinyl is released. In the meantime very short teaser videos will hopefully make people want to go in and listen to the digital singles that are released online beforehand. It’s a very conscious decision to not release the videos of the recordings at the same time as the singles, because I want people to listen to the music before they see it. All of this to make it possible to really hear the tap dance, to perceive it as a part of the complete music.
So, please, let yourself experience the music, in all its range and complexity, by listening to it on a better sound system or headphones!