Music producer George Moorey likes to weave a little “historical magic” into his recordings by taking his mobile setup, which now includes an Audient iD14 audio interface, into some of the ancient buildings of Gloucester, England, his adopted home. Capturing the spirit of the city in the form of samples, he showcases them in a variety of genres, including choral, classical, folk, hip-hop, electronica, grime and rock.
His most recent project is a songwriting collaboration with friend, fellow musician and lyricist Shane Young called “The Powdered Earth.” The first single, “Hold Your Breath,” is slated to be released on January 31, incorporating piano samples he’s been recording around the city.
“Piano is crucial to the sound of ‘The Powdered Earth.’ The parts are simple and repetitive, so I record them as MIDI using a master keyboard and a DAW,” Moorey explains. “This makes it easier to edit and change the songs as they are developed. Using MIDI also means we can replace all the sounds, so I’m collecting piano samples at every opportunity.”
One of his favorite haunts is the 12th century St Nicholas Church, where he keeps his upright Opus pianino that he describes as “a little beauty.” He explains: “I use an Audient iD14. It’s perfect for the task. Two quality pre-amps and converters, and easy to use physical controls and software interface.” Fitting everything he needs into one bag, he’s set for stereo recording and overdubbing on location.
Having recorded in a number of ancient Gloucester buildings to date — the Cathedral, St Michael’s Tower, Blackfriars Dominican Priory and the Guildhall, for example – he works to be ready for all eventualities. “If there’s power available, I’m able to use the iD14’s built in 48-volt phantom power with condenser microphones. If there’s no power, a pair of dynamic microphones are used and the iD14 can be powered via USB from the MacBook. This is something I’ve done a few times.”
This particular church has its shortcomings, however. “St Nicholas has an amazing, expansive natural reverb, but because it is in the city center, it’s pretty difficult to get a quiet recording,” he says. “There’s often the sound of conversations, cars, seagulls, sirens and other noises specific to the location. The cathedral bells pealing for example, or the occasional tipping out of hundreds of bottles from the pub next door. On the plus side, it does mean that my recordings and samples are far from generic.”