Six years back when singer, lyricist and musician Aavaas decided to record his debut album in the traditional analogue format, many of his friends and colleagues labeled his decision “foolish”.
It was a time when the Nepali music market was going digital in full swing.
Singers and musicians were trying out the easy multiple take recording in offing and sound editors were cut-pasting the best takes for the master copy. Digital was the new buzzword and the technology many said was to be the only savior.
Then, Aavaas released his one-take album surprising everyone who thought analogues were outdated.
“I grew up listening to the songs of Narayan Gopal, Bachchu Kailash and Amber Gurung. I always loved the orchestral symphony in their numbers. With inspiration from them, I always had a dream to record an album in analogue,” he told The Week.
But it wasn’t an easy journey for Aavaas who planned to record an album in analogue. Back then, the method of recording songs on spool tapes was no more in practice. In
addition, to bring all the musicians together and have them play live in a studio was a Herculean task to accomplish. But a determined Aavaas did not give up.
During those days, it was only Radio Nepal’s studio that was favorable for analogue recording but access wasn’t easy, so he dropped this idea. He had even opted to record his album in India but eventually, he landed up in the studio of Music Nepal, which houses one of the biggest music studios in Nepal.
In the Music Nepal studio then, the musicians lined up together with traditional instruments like tabla, harmonium, sarangi, flute and madal to make music together; exactly like the veterans of Nepali music industry did in the yesteryears.
And ten years later, in 2004, the one take analogue recording paid off with his debut ‘Palaa…Palaa’ attracting rare reviews.
“In recent times, people are more focused in front vocal recording. I never cared about that,” Aavaas said.
“But I also need to make this clear that though my priority will always remain analogue, I’m not against digital technology. We need to be updated with the global trend of recording music but at the same time, what is also evident is that there are many international artistes who are still following the analogue style.”
While recording music in digital pattern is considered to be more convenient because of the fact that it does not require more time and dedication, Aavaas said that the tracks recorded digitally are not fine pieces.
“Both singing and composing music are different wings of performing arts genre. When you record any song in analogue, the vocal becomes very powerful and because the song is recorded in one take with all musicians playing together, souls come out to combine together and produce rhythms,” he said.
Elaborating more on the analogue and digital, he commented, “When you record your voice on multiple takes and when the music parts are also done separately, the songs will miss out that true emotional touch. This is the reason why most of today’s musical numbers don’t last long.”
“It’s really sad to see how musicians, lyricists and singers of today hardly know each other even by the time they bring out an album together. It’s a cut-paste generation.”
All in all, Aavaas concluded that he does not want to demoralize those who’re recording through digital technologies but requests them to make sure that they produce sounds, not any gimmick materials for quick marketing.
He also added that all the analogues that are archived so far needs to go through AAD (Analogue Analogue Digital) processing so that they are stored digitally in a hard disk without distorting the original flavor of the tracks. AAD process goes through three different phases: recording, mastering and digitalizing.