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Producing ‘Premonition and Ruin’ By Ember Rev

How I co-produced ‘Premonition and Ruin’, a superb concept album around “a lament for the European ideal”.

Last year I was looking for a lead singer that could convey the story I had written for my upcoming debut album, After 1989.

One night I stumbled upon a short video on Facebook, posted by Ian Shepherd. It was Ember Rev, a folk-rock band playing live at the Hot Numbers Café in Cambridge, Ember Rev. The singer and guitarist, Dan Ecclestone is a friend of his.

I liked what I heard and followed the link to their Bandcamp page. The first song I played caught me off-guard. An intensely powerful and deep male voice, slightly David Bowie-esque at times, with the right amount of gravitas. I immediately thought it was the voice I was after.

Extended disgruntled ramble

I decided to contact Dan directly. At our first meeting I asked him to be the lead singer — and occasional instrumentalist — for my upcoming album and he enthusiastically agreed.

We also discussed his band’s next project, titled Premonition and Ruin, and whether I could help with the mixing. An “extended disgruntled ramble about Brexit”, as Dan put it, it was likely to sound more ‘rock’ than their first album. Ian Shepherd was on board to master the album.

Ember Rev live
Ember Rev performing live – Photo: Silvia Maggi

Premonition and ruin

Subtitled “a remainer’s lament for the European ideal”, Premonition and Ruin is an exceptional album, filled with original songs, beautifully written and arranged. Furthermore, I was excited about working with the accordion. It doesn’t happen often, and I love the instrument.

When I started mixing the first song, England’s Finest Hour, I thought right away of spicing the accordion up, in a ‘Gotan Project’ sort of style. I worked creatively on the sound and the flow of the delay effect, ending up adding a strange electronic feel to the instrument. Logic’s automation allowed me to achieve a nice fluctuating movement.

Workflow

I added the project to my Trello boards and enrolled Dan. We both followed the plan in real time interacting through comments, links and suggestions. We met at least once a week, and the workflow went on in the smoothest possible way.

Ian started his involvement with that same first song, using a mix I exported to Dropbox. I used his advice to sort a few EQ problems from the first mix iteration.

Listen or buy the CD

The album is available in CD format and digital on Bandcamp. Listen to the playlist and click buy in the player below to purchase Premonition and Ruin:

Stream the album from Spotify

Update: More Work

A year later, I ended up producing the band’s follow-up album From The Country To The City To The Sea, as well as, in January 2021, Dan’s debut solo album Hidden Music.


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