Jessica Curry's "So Let Us Melt": Recording Session at AIR Studios
Now, my admiration for the exceptionally talented video game composer Jessica Curry probably comes as no surprise if you know me, or have read my previous blog posts. I have been a fan of Curry’s music for many years, and so you can probably imagine the peaks my inner fangirl reached when I actually got to meet her at Soundtrack Cologne last year. Fortunately, I didn’t scare Jess off, and - to my utter shock and delight - she invited me along to her recording session a few months back, for her latest soundtrack for the Google VR game So Let Us Melt.
What do you do when your idol invites you along to her recording session, at AIR STUDIOS no less?! Well, you swallow your heart (which had promptly jumped right into your throat upon reading the invitation) and you GO.
Arriving at AIR Studios was a bit of a dream in itself. AIR Studios is one of the world leading recording studios, and a common ground for video game composers to converge upon when they need their soundtracks recorded. The studios, set in a reclaimed church, are stunningly impressive. Inside, old meets new; historic meets futuristic. As I made my way along the winding corridor towards the control room of Lyndhurst Hall (the main studio), I was met with rows upon rows of machines: synths, consoles, and wires - so many wires! It’s safe to say I was a little nervous as I pushed open the door leading into the control room, but that quickly dissipated as soon as I stepped in and heard the wonderful music coming from the orchestra next door. The control room is massive; with an enormous mixing desk. Its best feature, however, is the massive glass window looking into Lyndhurst Hall allowing the music team to see - as well as hear - the performances next door. After a lovely welcome from Jess, and with a copy of the orchestral score for me to follow along the performance, I settled myself into the uber comfortable couches in front of the glass and immersed myself in the magic of this experience.
It’s hard for me to put into words just how fantastic this experience was. Spread across two days (one for the orchestra, the other for the choir) it was just bloody brilliant if I’m honest. From a learning perspective, the experience was invaluable. Before then, I had never attended a recording session before. I absorbed every detail; how the recording team worked together like a well oiled machine, how Jess would give the orchestra details about the story at that moment in the game to help inform their performance. It was amazing to hear the music transform as the orchestra were given little insightful details into the plot. I was enchanted by the alien language of the choral parts. A language created specifically for this game! The choir did a magnificent job, and added a real element of humanity, but they also helped ground the music in its ancient roots (the story of So Let Us Melt spans millions of years).
I also learned just how fast paced recording sessions actually are. Of course, I’ve often heard that sessions are fast-paced - “time is money”, etc. But for the life of me, I still cannot fathom how they managed to record the entire suite for So Let Us Melt in a weekend.
From beginning to end, the weekend I spent at AIR studios was an absolutely magical experience. It’s something I will remember for the rest of my life, and it was where I had one of those poignant moments you occasionally have in life. I realised just how deeply I hope to someday return to AIR studios, perhaps with a soundtrack of my own to record. It was like a dream within a dream: sitting there, listening to this wonderful, awe-inspiring music written by someone I greatly admire - and imagining that perhaps, if I just keep working hard, I might one day be recording my own music in that same space.
I cannot thank Jessica Curry enough for inviting me along to her recording session. Words fail to express just how much it meant (and still means) to have been there.
So Let Us Melt is out TODAY for those of you who have Google VR. But don’t worry if you don’t! You can experience Jessica Curry’s breathtaking music for So Let Us Melt by following this link to pre-order it now! Also, if you can, please do check out her upcoming Dear Esther Live tour around the UK. For my friends in Scotland, the tour will be coming to both Glasgow and Edinburgh. Tickets for the Usher Hall concert can be bought here.
And, to thank you for making it this far (you wonderful person, you), here is a little behind the scenes video of the recording session.
Images and video courtesy of The Chinese Room.