For this new edition of Recording of Note we will pay credit to our “Montreux” roots.
Released in 1995, Made in Heaven is Queen’s last album and was published a few years after the tragic death of Freddy Mercury.
This album was created in Montreux, Switzerland at the Mountain Studios, a studio built inside the Montreux Casino and at the time owned by Queen.
The studio was built at Claude Nobs initiative inside the new Casino in Montreux. This is where the took place from 1975 to 1993. The studio, designed by Tom Hidley, featured an amazing Neve 8048 mixing console supplemented by Westlake Audio TM1 studio monitors. The space which housed the console was about 40 square meters. It was connected to a recording room of about 100 square meters. The studio took good advantage of the Casino’s huge physical layout. The two rooms were connected by permanent audio and video cables. During the Montreux Jazz Festival the studio was used to mix legendary concerts live as well as by multitrack. This was part of the unique Montreux sound that became associated with the festival. The studio belonged to Queen from 1979 to 1993. They then sold it to David Richards, with whom they had recorded several albums in Montreux.
The track Made in Heaven of the album of the same name is a song originally written by Freddie Mercury for his solo album Mr. Bad Guy. The band took the vocal from the original recording and applied it to a new version of the music.
If you have the chance to come to Montreux, you can visit the Mercury Experience and make your own mix of the song. You can take control of the mixing board within the Experience and creatively manipulate the faders with pre-mix parts like DRUMS, KEYS and so on.
Here is a visit of the Mountain studios by Greg Brooks, Queen archivist :
Made in Heaven is a very emotional and powerful song. The bass drum and toms alternating with Brian May riffs make a huge impression. On the original monitors in the studio one is really struck by the power of these instruments. Freddie’s voice acts as a counterpoint, silky and gentle to begin. The song grows in complexity with many layers of instruments and sounds. The mix preserves remarkable definition for each instrument as well as the vocals, giving a sensation of surfing on a musical wave. John Deacon’s bass is very solid and forms a perfect match with Roger Taylor’s bass drum. The track is dynamic with both fortissimo and other softer and more subtle segments.
The many layers of guitars, offer a strong rock canvas. Many parts, whether background vocals or guitars, are easily identifiable. Some of the background vocals have a phasing effect, a bit like QSound (think Roger Waters’ Amused to Death), making them very 3D sounding.
For guitar fans, the signature of Brian’s guitar and his VOX amplifier is obvious and addictive. The outro is very rich with many sonic effects and sounds, carried by the deep drum sound.
We hope you will rediscover this unique sound and listen to it with a new perspective!
Don’t hesitate to tell us what you think of this record in the comments section.
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Thank you for reading and see you next time with a new recording of Note
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