Vienna, Austria (August 18, 2021)—Tokyo 2020 got off to a spectacular start when more than 1,800 drones lit up the night sky accompanied by a reimagined version of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Imagine” that was recorded in part through a Solid State Logic Duality δelta Pro Station console.
The instrumental bed for the song, reimagined by Hans Zimmer and his Bleeding Fingers Music scoring composers collective, was recorded through a 96-channel SSL Duality δelta Pro Station console at Synchron Stage Vienna in Austria. Synchron Stage opened its scoring stage and recording complex in 2016 with SSL Duality δelta consoles in Control Rooms A and B. An SSL Live L500 manages monitoring for musicians in Stage A.
Bernd Mazagg, Synchron Stage’s technical director and chief recording/mixing engineer, reports that the facility worked with producer Russell Emanuel, composer Austin Fray and score supervisor Chris King on the orchestral recordings for “Imagine,” which took place on July 1 at Synchron Stage. The new version of “Imagine,” produced by Emanuel, was reimagined by Zimmer, who co-arranged the piece with Fray.
Emanuel is co-founder, president and CEO of Extreme Music and president and CEO of Bleeding Fingers Custom Music Shop. Fray is a Bleeding Fingers alumnus. King works for Bleeding Fingers and Sony/ATV Publishing, where he is senior creative manager. Producer, engineer and scoring mixer Scott Michael Smith mixed the song in Los Angeles.
The extended version also featured vocals by the Suginami Children’s Choir and Japanese instrumentation, including taiko, koto and shakuhachi, representing Asia. Guest singers Angelique Kidjo, John Legend, Alejandro Sanz and Keith Urban represented, respectively, Africa, the Americas, Europe and Oceania. As the opening bars of the new arrangement of “Imagine” played, featuring strings, brass and choir recorded at Synchron Stage, the illuminated drones synchronized to first form into the Tokyo 2020 emblem before morphing into a revolving globe.
Mazagg says, “We set up around 60 mics for our session. The precise and open sound and the signal-to-noise ratio of the Duality preamps is just breathtaking and very useful when it comes to recording stems.”
Synchron Stage has had a long relationship with Zimmer, working with the Oscar-winning composer on scores for Rebuilding Paradise, Inferno and The Crown. “I also recorded parts of the first Dune trailer for him,” Mazagg says. “So he knew our work and our sound.” In fact, Mazagg reports, “He was one of our first high profile users here in Vienna.”