– Genre-fusing, GRAMMY® Award-winning Malian ensemble’s new LP mastered by The Bakery’s Eric Boulanger –
LOS ANGELES, CA. – Since its formation in the late 1970s, world music ensemble Tinariwen (composed of ethnic Tuaregs from northern Mali) have been thrilling audiences with their unique genre fusion and rebellious, grassroots spirit. Wider renown and crossover success began in earnest in 2001, with the release of The Radio Tisdas Sessions, starting a wave of popularity the group has been riding ever since. Tinariwen’s latest LP is titled Elwan (“The Elephants”) and was produced by longtime band associate Patrick Votan and mixed by Andrew Scheps (whose other credits include Adele, Metallica, Jay Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Sabbath, Lana Del Rey and others). For mastering, Scheps turned to a card in his rolodex that’s been getting a lot of mileage lately: noted mastering engineer Eric Boulanger and his facility The Bakery. Boulanger and his team generated the master for all available formats, including high-resolution digital. The album is slated to be out on February 10, 2017, and is currently available for pre-order at http://www.tinariwen.com.
Boulanger recalls, “Andrew’s mix was genius. I think he deserves a GRAMMY®! When approaching the mastering process, I wanted to maintain every ounce of size he had in his mix, across all the consumer formats. I would say the main challenge came when cutting the vinyl: maintaining the lush low end and dramatic stereo width can be difficult when mastering for vinyl. But with our proprietary ‘RoboLathe,’ we don’t need to specially process the signal for vinyl, unlike other facilities. RoboLathe has the best low-end and stereo width in the business.”
Unlike other projects where the producer and/or artist attends the mastering session, Tinariwen and Votan were not in California when the mastering was scheduled to happen. “Communication was all remote in this case,” notes Boulanger. “But again, with Andrew’s mix, the mastering was a breeze. To get Tinariwen on the vinyl master was a matter of picking the perfect level to cut the album at, so that it was impressively energetic, but also so that the deep modulation of the stereo low-end didn’t cause any groove lift-outs. I knew these challenges going into the project, and I think we were able to complete it with skill and efficiency.”
Andrew Scheps notes, “For the last several years I have used Eric to master almost everything I mix. He’s able to translate my mixes very well to masters, and I appreciate his attention to detail. At this point we trust each other’s ears, which means that we rarely, if ever, need to discuss what the finished product should sound like, and this Tinariwen project is a great example of that.”
View the music video for Tinariwen’s latest single “Ténéré Tàqqàl (What has become of the Ténéré?)” here: https://youtu.be/boiiiVh52v4.
Photo caption: Mastering engineer Eric Boulanger, working at the vinyl lathe at The Bakery. Photo credit: Jett Galindo