The beauty of Rose Cousins’ new album, Natural Conclusion, is practically on a Joni Mitchell level. She’s a poetic and precise yet fearless artist with exceptional talent, and the L.A.-based production team of Joe Henry and Ryan Freeland have brought out her best on Natural Conclusion.
Recorded live to Pro Tools in Noble Street Studios, Toronto, the project put the Californians through the challenges of international travel with audio gear, but yielded great rewards:
“It’s a great studio with great gear, but I brought some ribbon mics because a lot of places don’t have many ribbon mics,” Freeland says. “For TSA people who don’t know, they look strange on X-rays, and I always get stopped, but it’s worth it to me to have them.”
Freeland took along a pair each of AEA N8 and N22s. For Cousins’ voice, he put up a Neumann M49 and one of the N22s. The other N22 was used on acoustic guitar. The N8s served as room mics. All of his inputs went through the studio’s collection of outboard Neve and API mic preamps.
“We basically did everything in one big room, but you end up doing fixes from alternate takes—sometimes you take the whole band, or sometimes just the piano and vocal. At one point we were re-jiggering upright bass parts. Some fixes are really tricky and you have to be really creative when you have bleed, but that’s part of the fun for me. bleed, but that’s part of the fun for me. It’s always best to let me know if there’s something in the take you wished were better. I can usually come up with a solution and, after all, recording is forever.”