Not just anything happens in the way we want.
I am nobody, however being nobody has made me free in a way, I have always been a mix of technical skills (sort of) and creative power (more imaginative than creative) both assets have been very handy to me over the years; however I can’t say that I have received greater success with one or the other. In truth, it has been the combination of both that has worked for me, with some other ingredients like patience, most of the times. I used to think that the technical knowhow was at the service of the creative process, that inspiration leads the way and technical resources paved it, however time and experience have taught me otherwise, not only this is not the case but it is a brutal misconception. I can extend on this concept in this post on many aspects of life and labour, but to stay in focus with my blog I will stick to the music and musical production, engineering & mixing context hoping this will allow me to restrain from divagating in to the clouds too much.

Producing music is undisputedly an art form, so is engineering and mixing however for different reasons but similar purpose. It is no novelty that a production, recording or a mix can kill a great song, the contrary is hardly possible since there is a requirement for good raw materials (MUSIC) a good song & a good performance can be enhance and polished to the status of great or even master pieces depending on the production and the post production.

Creativity as defined by Ken Robinson “Creativity involves putting your imagination to work in a sense, Creativity is applied imagination. Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value”.

Technical is about the ability to master the gear at your disposal and manage it in the way that makes sense to you and fits the purpose you intend for it.


So when it comes to music production, it is clear, that good material will trigger a creative mind to have plenty of ideas (the question is ¿can they be made useful?). The production is the part of the creative process during the stages prior to recording, getting the songs ready and working with the band and the arrangements for the songs, getting the mood of the songs, the feel of what the band wants to express and help them focus their energy on getting the materials right, suggesting and being a constructive critique. To follow on with the work with the recording engineer and help in the process of capturing to tape or HD of the results of the preproduction stage in the interpretation, bridging and making the process as smooth as possible, helping and promoting every aspect, The responsibility is that of a coach but also a director, you will need to have a clear idea of what needs to be done. It is inevitable that in this process your talent and creativity will flourish and merge in the production. The Mixing and Mastering are the processes of balancing and placing everything in the song, and getting it ready for its final purpose. As a producer you have to pass down to the mixer the feel, mood and theme of each song. This is normally done with a rough or demo mix, or in other cases the producer, recording engineer and mixing engineer are the same person as in my case. The “Rough” as it is called has usually captured most of the mood, sound, the bands spirit or placement. Therefor the mixing is built with a base; as a mixing engineer use your own taste and experience in polishing up the different tracks and parts of each song, using the tools at your disposal.

The result of a musical production is a combination of skill, taste and creativity. But neither one of them are isolated domains. Creativity can help a mixer solve a technical problem, finding alternative ways of doing things, new creative ways to use the same tools to achieve innovative results. On the other hand technology can help the creative process by laying out new ways to see things that widen our imagination to new ways to do things. A new effect can inspire a new approach; the minimal change can move the entire song and trigger a response that may make the difference. Finally no matter how much creativity or technology you use you will need to use your taste to get the right measure and result.


Creativity is a process and as such must have its own milestones and tasks, in producing music creativity is a set of different episodes in the different parts of the production, but it is also a complete independent process. On the other hand technology is directly present at only some stages during the process, but it should always be present in our mind throw-out the entire process. In the creative part you need to focus on the emotional qualities of the music the feel, etc. However one must not limit creativity to these domains and seek applying it also to the sonic aspects witch are usually in the more technical domain. For me the key is the balance between technical experience and creative innovation.

Every song or piece of music has its own unique sound and sonic footprint; it is a hard but comforting job to find and fine-tune these qualities and polish them to they shine. Taste, emotional compromise and motivation will get you there where technology and creativity are mainly the tools of the trade. Exceptions apart if you are too technical all your songs will sound the same, if you are too creative your results will be all over the place. Keeping a balance of both by directing them with taste will bring new and imaginative results every time.

As always Thanks for reading I relay hope you enjoyed it.

Follow Slice at

Slice recording Acoustic Guitar

This past weekend we finished recording all acoustic guitars for the STW Slice “The Wall” project, things are coming together very fast on the musical end and we have just over a dozen tracks to record before we finish the recording stage of the project. hopefully in two or three weekends more we will have everything laid down. So far we have 90% of electric guitars, there is 1 guitar track for “Run Like Hell” that still needs to be recorded, it is some loose lick’s and accents, All but one of the bass guitar tracks are done, all acoustics are finished. What is still pending is Pianos for some of the songs, classic guitars, and an harmonic that will be used on the “Outside The Wall” song that closes the album. Next weekend we should be able to finish the classic guitar, the remaining bass and electrical guitar and one or two pianos. leaving the core of pianos and the harmonic to the weekend after next.

imageRecording Agenda

That is how we are on the recording side, on the post edition we have 15 songs edited and mixed 11 to go but for most the basics are already covered. So we should be ready for mastering by mid May. As for outputs, we will be making stems of all individual instrument tracks and a general stem of Slice’s mix on his own and a few final mix downs with the original song from the album as a backing track, with different levels between Slice and the original.

On the Video side of the project we are starting the planning phase, we intend to shoot all the video footage in the last week of June and beginning of July, and start editing in August, with some luck we should have the finals by October or at least before mid November. Just in time to get them all published on You Tube.

Keep tuned for more updates.

Follow Slice at

Thanks for reading.

Ian Burt © 2012


Sorry for the delay in publishing this second part, everyone is entitled to a bad week Sad smile Continuing where I left it in my previous post…


The main issue is that the musicians and the end users are who actually make the link, they are the real and only proposers and consumers. The array of in-betweens is mainly adding cost to the chain rather than value. I know it is not fair to say it in the bold way, there are many figures that are there to build on the product, but in essence for the most cases there is no more than business operators. I feel I have to clarify a little my previous statement, a piece of music is composed, played, recorded, mixed, mastered and produced all of these stages are part of the creative process that renders the final song or piece of music, from here on it is more a business creative process where the commercial, marketing, promotion processes take over the lead (these steps are necessary but may be done in alternative ways) it is true that in today’s musical world you can have a great song and a bad commercial backing and go no were or in the contrary have a terrible song and with the right marketing sell millions. But that doesn’t mean that the old way is right for the new musical scenario they are in. Labels and record companies known as publishers need to look around and evolve to meet the new requirement’s the market is demanding. It is very possible to compose, play, record, mix, master and produce a great record from a bedroom studio, the digital world and in the box mixing and editing are a common thing, most of the musicians that I know have some degree of digital studio, quality in these studios has gone up over the last years and I have seen great works produced with a 100 fold less than a regular custom studio budgets. This would mean that the publisher would have less control over the production process and would have a full roll on the publishing part of the chain.

The problem becomes evident when the various stake holders start to perceive a drop in income generated. In other cases the benefit perception shifts, taking with it the interest, not only economically, what I mean is that end users doesn’t want a physical CD any more, lees so a booklet and DVD, they only bring problems in logistics, storage, conservation, availability. The end user wants simplicity, instant access to his music anywhere at any time and from any device, not the physical limitations of the XX century. ¿How many young teenagers listen to radio? Not many is my answer ¿why listen to a radio that plays music in a random sequence over witch he has no control? Plus having to put up with commercials and whatever the DJ wants to say. Anyone under 25 doesn’t own a radio unless they own a car. They all however own a selection of computers, mp3 players, smart phones and tables of some kind. This is where music needs to be delivered to, they demand that they can pick up any of the above and have their music at a click or a touch away at most. This is a clear indicator that models based on distribution of physical supports are obsolete and are of no interest to the main stream of consumers.


Even more digital solutions like iTunes or spottily are neither convincing solutions. The down side is that they are mainly platform specific. Meaning that they are not designed to share content across platforms in a simple way, even access sometimes depends on availability of a network connection (however this is less a limitation day by day). In my opinion we are heading to a cloud solution where any device can access the content, where you keep a cache of what you want on every device by only making it sticky where your content is controlled by credential where you can shop online from any source and where you interact with music and musician or the creative part of music in a much more direct way, where you can become a publisher and publish your own music, where you can recommend and loan (limited share) a song to your social network, where you can promote a song or an artist in your social media and get rewarded by doing so. It will be a bigger market of little fees and not a small market of expensive DC and millions of copies. If for every illegal copy the publisher, the artist and the store received 0.1c of a dollar would it not be worth it? There could be many different ways of buying your music, a trial and then purchase (¿why not?) volume licensing, special commercial licenses for clubs etc.. The system could include a measuring means to determine what is being played and where or when, this would help publishers to focus on markets and artist.

Consider this, internet has universalized knowledge and ignorance in similar magnitude, content multiplies daily, you can fight the file sharing sites but you will never win the battle of content distribution, close one down and three will surface, just like the hydra from the Hercules myth, people will find a way to share unless you provide an alternative that adds value to your proposal at a reasonable cost. What need does anyone have to buy a CD RROM for 20$ if all he wants are 2 songs, how does he listen to these 2 songs on his smart phone? Yes downloads are illegal but what are the alternative? Am I the stupid one that pays for things that are way overpriced. Looking back at other markets the music industry should have learnt from the telecommunications business, they had a challenge similar to the musical one and yet 20 years ago you paid a fortune for a simple town to town land call, now a day’s they are free, why because internet calls challenged their business model, how did they react, providing a wider offer of services (internet + content) they have actually grown, many customer many small hits instead of a few customers scarce large hits.

The Issue with profit shares is a long known story that the creative part of a musical production has always been the part that has received the smaller slice of the profits. I am convinced that most downloaders feel that they are stealing form the publisher, the distributors and the selling points that in a sense this is some kind moral justice. Any new method that ensures buyers, that what they are paying is being fairly shared with the artist they would feel more motivated to cover reasonable fees.

This is not a warship of illegal downloads I myself don’t download music illegally, it is more a personal meditation about the problems surrounding the musical industry, if we can’t make this industry rethink itself it may collapse, if downloads grow and sales drop, publishers will not invest in projects with no economical margin or maybe even unrecoverable costs, music will find its way out by other means and musicians will continue to make music, but the industry most surely won’t.

Please leave your comments I am very interested in other input.

Follow slice


This article was intended for a different platform and was written some time ago. I still see the things as I express in the following word, but there are some new considerations I have added in the time I did the first draft to this final. I will try to put in some closing notes to clarify myself. Otherwise I will leave the post in the original words.

26022012 001

Having a 16 year old son that wants to find his way in the music industry has made give many things in this world a great deal of thought. Once upon a time I also dream on becoming a musician, and make a living with my money. Since it was a dream I dreamt about making lots of money, fame and becoming a rock star. Truth is that things have changed a bit since those days, not just simple changes on genre or music styles, there is more competence, the market is different, the business is different, and basically nothing is the same.


In the 80s and 90s we consumed much less music than we do now, but we purchased more than now, not only in the amount of records but the budget that we had then for buying music was bigger than todays. So! ¿what has happened? The simple answer to this is that we have changed the way in which we consume music. The thing is that thou the consumers have moved their way of listening and interacting with music, the industry has tried with no result to remain in the same corner as 20 years ago. In the era of the vinyl records we would purchase 2 or 3 singles as they were released and finally the album that ended up including them. Technology moved along to the cassette tapes and singles where not that prominent but we still purchased the cassette. When the CD Rom appeared we all moved along, I have some albums in all 3 formats. We can now listen to music on an ever-growing array of devices, this has brought with it a liberation of where, we listen, how we listen and when we listen to music. The evolution of technology has introduce hole new culture of music consumption, we no longer have to be static net to the record player or limited in our mobility by Walkman’s or Discman’s we all know where we can engage with music and with what ease. Music is not just hobby it has become the background sound track to our everyday activity. To the extent that younger generations take it for granted that music is present 24/7. What this new scenario were music is universal due to the unlimited access provided by the new and wider available technology platforms available, has provoked is that the old ways we obtained the music has become obsolete.

discman walkman

However the market or better said the industry has not been as fast at evolving. If we review the way vinyl records were sold and how CDs or DVDs are sold today there is no substantial change. The chain top to bottom has maintained its original form and players, maybe some minor changes have been introduced to improve processes but the core is the same. The major driver is that the stake holders have the same interest and roles and these are anchored to the past, this immobility of these historically accepted archetypes, is a net that has too much to lose. By looking at how has what to lose we can easily point out what is wrong in the current business model and the whole industry.


The Label or record company have been and still are a necessary stake holder. But their role needs to be reconsidered. They were the music Maecenas, to record an album or a song and to commercialize it was a very expensive venture, they would put the money up front to accomplish the project, you could say that they are like venture capitalist that invest in a musical project, the main difference being that the investment is the first to be deducted from any income from sales, plus they normally take the biggest chunk from the profits. The distribution chain is an endless stream of middle player whose only mission is to take the product from point A to point B being point B the commercial outlets something that is in great disuse now a days, places were consumers can pick-up physical copies in CD ore DVD, where big department stores sell the majority, leavening small and specialized musical stores out of business.

I will continue next week with part two of this article.

Please support Slice at

Thanks for reading

Ian Burt © 2012


The STW project I have been talking about for the last months get’s its name from “The Wall”, an all time master piece album by the Pink Floyd. STW are the initials to Slice “The Wall”: Slice came up with the idea and is the only performing artist. We have been holding back disclosing this for a number of months, waiting to get some go-ahead’s, we have decided to come out into the light, Why? well, why not?


The best way to answer is to explain what the project is about. Rock history knows that Pink Floyd released the album “THE WALL” one 30th of November of 1979, the album released as a concept album, where the motive and story behind main theme is well known. There is plenty of information on the internet and dozens of books, so going into it would be presumptuous on my part, others better versed than I have already provided extended and deeper knowledge, so how could I dare. Also common public awareness is the fact that “The wall” over the years has been represented through different platforms, as a live show, as a movie, etc. This brings us to Slice, During the “Roger Waters The Wall” tour through Europe, Slice and I had a chance to see the live performance in Madrid, both Slice and myself are great fans of Pink Floyd, in such a way that Slice has done a few covers for his YouTube channel in the past, of some of the most memorable songs of the band. After the show Slice came up with the idea of doing a cover of the entire album, all 26 songs. I thought that was a great challenge for him he was only 15 at the time, but at the same time the idea was new and surely rewarding if it was done right.

It took us 2 months to decide how we wanted accomplish the different tasks, the schedule, the method, as many bits and pieces as we could. We ended up with a huge list of thing, not big enough to put us off on our desire to embrace this project with all our strength.

A year before STW concept

Before I go into any more detail there are a few things that I need to clarify to avoid misunderstandings:

  1. The entire project is a non-profit quest, all Slice and I get out of this, is the cover and recreation of a master piece we both worship and admire, with the personal satisfaction that this brings with it.
  2. We will not publish this work to the public without the approval of the legitimate owners of the Copy Rights. (Roger Waters, David Gilmour and EMI Group Limited)
  3. The Cover will be published when permissions granted on YouTube on Slice’s Channel and will not be under the name STW or Slice The Wall these are code names during the project development stage, are not registered and hold no commercial value.

Having that out of the way, for what I am happy. Contact has been established with David Gilmour’s managers office in London and they have no objection to the project as long as the IP is not damaged or mistreated. We have sent the same request to Roger Waters office but haven’t received reply yet (witch is understandable being that he is in middle of a tour right now). We have been unable to contact EMI, there seems to be a logical barrier that we have not been able to overcome yet. We have left a few attempts via their web site but we have no idea if they have gone through.

Slice Recording Bass Session 18 STW

Getting on with the project, Slice is going to record all guitars (Electric, Acoustic, Classic & Slide), Bass for all tracks and Piano on all tracks that have piano (not keyboards). in the 26 songs there are over 90 different parts, and some are going to be dubbed. that means nearly 150 tracks to be recorded. we started in August and have recorded 21 session with 87 tracks finished in total, where in most sessions Slice records between 6 and 8 parts, we have had to repeat some early recordings due to sound issues. Our target is to finish all the recording by April and have the mixing finished by July. There is still a fair way to go but we are more confident after every session.

Rough mix not the final thing. Cover ABTW2 by Ian Burt

After July and once the audio is all finished, mixed and mastered We will start editing recording and editing the core live performance video, All the video will be treated using the Chroma Key technique. There will be tons of footage we are using up to 6 cameras on every instrument part that sums up to 80×6 in the range of 500 video clips, that need to be selected arranged and edited. One of the things we decided early on, was that expecting to engage our potential viewers for an hour and a half on just a performance of slice would not cut it, we wanted to do something more without making a plagiarism of the film or show. keeping the viewers attention has been and still is a challenge that we haven’t quite solved. One thing that we are going to do is record a side story with Slice as the main character, where he tries to go through the different songs with a personal view, this has not yet taken since we are still working on the script and footage that needs to be decided. A great amount of this resource footage that will be recorded outside the studio, there for we are waiting for better weather.

Slice Session 20 STW piano recording

There is also the Graphics, all Chroma video will be scored upon a virtual background that is being designed for all different scenes.

Please review earlier posts to get further details on the STW project.

I will continue to post on the progress of the project as we move down the schedule.

any enquiry or support please contact me at

Support Slice by visiting his You Tube Channel at

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed.

Ian Burt © 2012