I recently had the great pleasure of working with Walter A, and Paul Anka and his team on two songs on his upcoming "Duets" album (Sony). "I Think I'm In Love" is a great classic pop mid-tempo, and I got to do programming on. Second song was "This Is It". Walter asked me to come in to check out a song he had been working on. I didn't really know much about the project, but when I turned up and played it, it was chilling. There was the iconic unmistakable voice of Michael Jackson. Turns out Paul and Michael had written the song years ago. There were some complications, but the net result was the discovery of a reel and some DATs that contained a version of Michael singing, ableit mixed in with the original Piano, which I believe was played by Paul. Not to click. We wanted to make a new production of the song, while being faithful to the spirit of the original. A modulation was added. I programmed new drums and some keys parts on it, and recorded guitar with the masterful Tim Pierce. After bringing the session in to Capitol, we discovered that there was yet another recording of the song, with orchestra and some old backup vocals. But these again were in the wrong tempo. What I ended up doing, was taking everything together (our new production, the original Paul Anka demo, plus the reel with the orchestra) and bringing them into Ableton Live, which I had just recently purchased. In fact, I think this was the very first project I did in Live. In any case, Live is really amazing for this in that it allowed me to sync the different "tape" versions of the project with our new production, keeping all of the elements of each "tape" version together, and you can choose which method of time stretching/compression works best on each type of instrument. Using Live, we were able to bring in all the tracks from each version of the song and have them play perfectly together, without hearing any artifacts, so that Paul and Al Schmitt could pick from any of it during mixdown. The sessions then went to Michael Thompson (a legend as well, who works regularly with Paul), and finally back to Al Schmitt at Capitol for the mix. Make sure you check it out when the album is released April 9.
**Update - Apr 3 -- Sometimes the music business can be a real bummer. Today was one of those times. The credits for this project were released on allmusic.com, and much to my dismay, I didn't see my name up (actually none of the musicians names were up, either). I'm not sure why. I'm going to reach out to a few people and see what we can dig out. Sometimes allmusic doesn't faithfully list everything that's in the liner notes. Other times the label omits a name.. sadly it has happened to me before (perhaps not on a project I cared about this much!).
** Update Apr 4 -- Just heard back from Paul's production coordinator. He is checking with the record company to see if it needs to be changed on the next pressing. Going to see if we know anyone at allmusic who can get the correction done.
** Update Apr 5 -- still nothing back about this, but I know the reality is that these things can take forever to happen. In the meantime, I've been thinking of editing together the videos I took of working on this project. I thought the Ableton Live stuff would be interesting, so I did a screen capture and a little video of me explaining the process. Hopefully I will get some time to do so.