Wavetrain Cinemas starts a second life as Wavetrain Studios, with the recording of Mark Wilkinson's 'Let The River Run' (click one of the YouTube links at the bottom to listen as you read...).
This home cinema room (see right) featured in our pages back in November 2010, as a dedicated home cinema named ‘The Statement’ by its designers Wavetrain Cinemas. Wavetrain created the space in the company’s own headquarters as a demonstration of its command of room acoustics and its dedication to the art of audio and video reproduction.
But now Wavetrain has turned the room’s purpose entirely on its head by recording music in there, transforming the adjacent ‘PRO cinema’ into a recording space and the ‘Statement Cinema’ into a control room. The first results from this new ‘Wavetrain Studios’ have just been released on CD by Australian singer-songwriter-guitarist Mark Wilkinson. The album is called ‘Let the River Run’.
One of the elements that made the ‘PRO Cinema’ an interesting candidate for conversion to recording rather than replay is the room’s adaptable acoustics. This space was designed by Wavetrain Cinemas to teach acoustic design and demonstrate the differences that can be achieved by removing or adding acoustic treatments as required. In cinema mode this teaches custom installers how to best optimise a room for the clearest sound across a range of seating positions. But at the other end of the recording chain it allows an artist or producer to consult with Wavetrain’s Director and acoustic guru David Moseley on the type of sound required, and the room can then adjusted accordingly to deliver the desired recording environment.
“The opportunity to apply my knowledge of small room acoustics to a new field was an exciting proposition and one I couldn’t pass up,” says Moseley, Director of Wavetrain Cinemas & Wavetrain Distribution. “So depending on the requirements we can lay the timber floor or lift it back up, plus change all the acoustics in about 20 minutes. As we are an appointment-only company and not a retailer, we usually know in advance what the room is to be used for. It worked well through the recording process.”
This level of acoustic flexibility is not unknown in major studios overseas “but not here in Australia,” according to John Mulligan from Studiotech, who services many of Sydney’s top studios in Sydney and who assisted Wavetrain in the change from replay to recording venue. “Most studios get selected for a specific album based on the sound signature of each recording space. To be able to adapt acoustics to the recording is invaluable.”
"It was a fantastic experience recording this album at Wavetrain,” says Mark Wilkinson. “The state of the art facilities really allowed us to bring the best out of the songs."
Mark’s first release was the ‘Cellophane Life’ EP, followed by his debut album, ‘Truth Came Running’ in 2011. As an independent artist Mark has carved out a career the old- fashioned way - touring, busking, entertaining deployed troops in the Solomon Islands, and opening arena and theatre tours nationally for names including Brian Wilson, Chicago, Peter Frampton, and America. He is touring Australia for the next few months.
Wavetrain’s David Moseley has admired Wilkinson’s work for a while, and this new album was the catalyst for the studio transformation.
“Mark is a true artist, just waiting to be discovered,” says Moseley. “It’s just a matter of time before the rest of the world catches on.” Moseley himself is credited with backing vocals on the album, as part of the “Army Choir” on a song called ‘When The Armies Arrive’. Were these his first recorded vocals?
“First and last”, laughs David. “My wife couldn’t believe they let me sing.”
Mastered at Abbey Road
After recording at Wavetrain, producer Ollie McGill mixed the Mark Wilkinson album at Ivory Lane before handing the final result off to Geoff Pesche at Abbey Road Studios in London.
"The engineer, Geoff Pesche, mastered the latest record for my band The Cat Empire,” says McGill, “and I was really impressed with the results."
Mark Wilkinson adds, "Geoff had also worked on some significant records from the likes of Coldplay, Adele, and Ed Sheeran, that sound fantastic and I thought were fair reference points for what we were trying to achieve. The fact that it was mastered at perhaps the most famous studio in the world was just a bonus."
For more information on Wavetrain Cinemas or Studios, visit http://www.wavetrain.com.au