Former Roxy Music member Brian Eno celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, by introducing the first of two live performances of his 1983 composition Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks in the IMAX Cinema at the Science Museum in London.
Mark Hornsbyâ€™s company Headtec were appointed by the Science Museum to provide the sound, and Icebreakerâ€™s FOH sound engineer Alexander Bossew requisitioned a Soundcraft Vi6 digital console as his first choice.
â€œI specified this, because it is so easy to produce a warm sound without having to EQ like mad,â€? he said. â€œAlso the few compressors that I used were working very discreetly.â€?
Bossew admits with only time for a quick run through ahead of the performance â€” rather than full rehearsal â€” there had been little time to purpose-configure the desk, which was plugged straight into the cinema PA. However, this hardly concerned him
as the musicians were so experienced. â€œThey were all aware of their own dynamics and so there was little for me to correct at the desk end.â€?
However, the composition adapted by Jun Lee, required the use of a lot of reverb. â€œThe IMAX is completely dry and I had to use six different internal Lexicon reverbs, which sounded excellent,â€? he said. That task alone consumed most of the one-hour desk programming time that was allocated.
Unsure up to the last minute whether his favourite desk would be made available Alexander failed to order a MADI soundcard â€” something he deeply regretted.
â€œIt would have been great to multitrack the show. I have had great recording experiences using the Vi6 in the past â€” particularly during a music and performing arts festival in Austria (Donaufestival, Krems) in 2007; the stereo recording turned out to be of amazingly good quality.â€?
In conclusion, the sound engineer says his love of the Vi6 is based on its amazing sound, and the fact that he can work quickly on the surface â€œeven when setting up more sophisticated patches that would be almost impossible to realise on analogue (and many digital) desks.â€?
He says he feels particularly privileged to have mixed the sound for this landmark event. â€œUsually my colleague Ernst Zettl mixes their sound and for the performance at the IMAX I was only substituting for him. â€œBut I hope it wonâ€™t have been the last opportunity I get to collaborate with this astounding collective of excellent musicians.â€?