Vincent Bergeron aka Berger Rond is the first artist who was selected for the EARLabs FREEMASTER PROJECT*. Berger Rond offered no less than 97 minutes of music to be mastered. This blog gives an impression of the mastering process.
Listening to the music he sent I was taken aback by the amount of instruments, the dense and complex juxtapositions of samples and loops. Quite something completely different. The mixes were for the most part immaculate. Clean recording, well played, flawless cuts and pastes of the various soundtracks that had been samples.
First of all, I didn’t know Vincent before he contacted me through Facebook. But then we have the great wide open of the Internet and there I found various references. Vincent has released other music and one of his topics is the rehashing of existing movies and composing a new soundtrack that he deems fitting. Here are a few samples. He has a channel on Youtube, called [ Le Bergerrond ] so you can watch more of that. On Vimeo, this is [ his channel ]. You can read an extensive interview, conducted by the great Tobias Fischer on [ Tokafi ].
Here’s a direct link to the movie with music that will become track 3 of the new release.
First was a complete listening session to all of the music. The first half reminded me a lot of the Montréal scene and at many times of the earlier collage music of John Zorn (Spillane era). It is lyrical at the same time as jumpy and chaotic. There is only a very slight hierarchy in the instrumentation; every instrument is treated equally in the mix so that it is difficult to focus. This forced me to tread the music very carefully. My first test renders were flatly rejected by Vincent. I had made the typical mistake of going on for hours trying to force my will upon the sound with various means (transient correctors, compressors, limiters, exciters) until I couldn’t hear clearly anymore. I then made my best shot and sent it to Vincent. Who listened with fresh ears and replied: “I don’t like any of the mixes. The only aspect that I love are the drums additional presence on the second piece, but even there it tends to kill the dynamics that I love.” Ouch!!! that hurt. But he was right and I thanked him for this criticism.
I decided to change the process entirely. Wait a few days and start all over again and then slowly build up. This led in some cases to nothing more but some eq (in the bass area) and a very lightly applied maximizer to get a better hold of the dynamics. This yielded a much better frequency balance and transients left intact. The second round of test renders yielded a much better result. It was closer to the original mixes but all of the weak points in the originals had been repaired. There is a better contrast between sounds and the ‘bottom end’ of the sound is heavier, giving the whole more ‘mass’. Vincent was much satisfied with this second version.
I did a final master render of all of the tracks and uploaded them to Vincent on January 20.
what is the FREEMASTER PROJECT ?
The FREEMASTER PROJECT is started to help artists to get their music mastered properly. Every month throughout 2013 the EARLabs STUDIO does one mastering project for free. The artists can apply via Facebook.com/earlabs.