‘Oceanea’ EP update

My new EP is currently being mastered by Simon Heyworth, in Devon. For those ‘in the know’ he’s not expecting to re-EQ it much, just looking at the peakiness. When there are occasional spikes in volume level–eg a high piano note that jumps out on ‘Oceanea’–it means the overall level has to come down, so it all ends up quieter. Not a problem quality-wise, but if folks put it in their playlist alongside other modern recordings, or when it’s played on the radio, it will sound very quiet and perhaps less impressive. So you deal with that using ‘limiting’ to reduce the peaks — either with a machine or by hand-tweaking the waveforms — so the overall levels can come up again. When machines or software plugins take this to the extreme you get the ‘sugar cube’ look of waveforms that have all the peaks taken out, so their density is increased to the point that everything ‘feels’ much louder and in-your-face; but when you do that, you sacrifice dynamics, and the music often ends up lifeless. (Don’t worry, we won’t go there!)

Whereas the last EP was mixed in a pro studio LA with Bill Bottrell engineering, this one I did all myself right here on the Nutmeg of Consolation. I don’t have a lot of gear, but the songs stand up by themselves without lots of effects, and the atmosphere felt more intimate. I’ve been blessed with lots of sun and wind this month so there was plenty of power on offer from the turbine and solar panels to do an entirely renewable energy-powered mix. My priority for the Nutmeg’s antique timber wheelhouse was not ‘reference quality’ sound, or isolation from the outside world, so don’t be surprised to hear a little North Sea ambience creeping into the mix.

I shot a beautiful cover with photographer Catherine Lindsay-Davies, and the graphic design being completed by Paul Sizer — yes the same chap that won the t-shirt design competition earlier this year, who went on to design the ‘Amerikana’ artwork. Once again the whole package will be downloadable in a format where if you choose to you can burn your own physical copy and print out the cover booklet.

I’m happy to say it looks like the EP will be out THIS MONTH! Look out for a release date announcement in the next couple of weeks. For registered Flat Earth Society members only, of course.

And how is the music? Well, personally I think this EP is the best work I’ve ever done. And I’d say that even if I was objective!

8 Responses to “‘Oceanea’ EP update”

  1. redteck says:

    Hi Thomas,

    I’m very much looking forward to it! It took a few listens, but I fell in love with the last one. I still can’t hear all those “boing” sounds in Toadlickers without smiling.

  2. duglmac says:

    Nice! Looking forward to the release, Thomas.

  3. vacaboca says:

    So great to hear how close the release is, and have loved the updates and videos as you’ve gone along. I can’t wait to get it, I’ll want a physical copy – thanks!

  4. heretic says:

    Great news! An early Xmas present for us all! :)

  5. buffalo says:

    Excellent news Thomas. I’ve been hounding SiriusXM radio to play the gems from Amerikana – now I’ll have more ammunition. You can track the songs/artists SiriusXM plays through Dogstarradio dot com. You would think that a satellite network with dozens of music channels would play more Dolby (especially on an eclectic channel like The Loft), but I’ll have to keep trying.

  6. GMT-8 says:

    How’s about a track listing?

  7. buffalo says:

    GMT-8: During the past month, SiriusXM has played only three Dolby songs – two of them are fairly obvious…She Blinded Me With Science was played 50 times, mostly on the channels ’80s on 8′ and ’1st Wave’. Europa and the Pirate Twins was played five times on ’1st Wave’, and I Scare Myself was aired once on ‘The Loft’. IMHO SiriusXM music programming was gutted when Sirius took control of XM. There are some remaining channels that are fairly true to their roots (The Loft, Little Steven’s Underground Garage, Deep tracks). The worst loss was a channel called ‘Fred’, a varied collection of alternative music from the late 70s through the 80s where you were more likely to hear the odd Thomas track along w/ Pixies, Cramps etc. Its replacement, ’1st Wave’, is a sad 80s ‘alternative hits’ channel with endless repetition of safe fare like It’s The End Of The World As We Know It and London Calling. What a waste of bandwidth (no offense intended, R.E.M. and The Clash).

  8. doctorjoe says:

    Sooooo. Where is it?