David Bottrill on remixing Rush's Vapor Trails in new interview

Posted on Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 10:47AM

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#27 - Posted 10/12/13 @7:47PM by RushSignals1982 [contact]

Special thank you to Rush and everyone who made this remix possible. It makes the album sound so much better, the difference is astonishing. I have been wanting this since the original release in May 2002 sounded so harsh to me. I am so pleased that Rush thought it was worth it to do this for us.
#26 - Posted 10/11/13 @12:22PM by Electric Brain Elderly [contact]

LMAO true. Feedback was overcooked. So was Grace Under Pressure Live from Replay X3 set and so were the R30 Live CDs. They didn't advertise it but Feedback has clearly been remastered as part of the set that just came out (I can hear the differernce from the Spotify version.)

Side note: I know from one of the interviws with that Andy guy that R30's sound was remixed for the Blu-Ray, because the sound from the DVD was compressed pushed the guitars to the front of the mix.
#25 - Posted 10/11/13 @1:47AM by hkjonus [contact]

Just listened to the Ceiling Unlimited Remaster. This was a song I usually skipped over. Now its in the lineup when I listen to VP. Love the guitar solo and Ged's cleaner choruses at the end.
#24 - Posted 10/10/13 @11:20PM by CraigJ [contact]

#23. I agree with pretty mush everything you said. Personally speaking SaA is my favorite Rush album since Power Windows, and the live version is my favorite live album since ESL. A lot of people seem not to like it that much, not sure why..
#23 - Posted 10/10/13 @8:44PM by RushInHawaii [contact]

Feedback is about as poor sounding as the 2002 version of Vapor Trails, which is too bad, and it is baffling why Rush would use the same guy(s) to record/master/mix/whatever Feedback when the band realized by then how bad Vapor Trails sounded.

Nonetheless, I do like the songs on Feedback, and based on comments over the years I may be in the minority. The Snakes & Arrows recording sounds better than VT and Feedback, but then the band backslid somewhat on CA.
#22 - Posted 10/10/13 @5:38PM by Rob [contact]

jupe, VT suffered from poor mixing AND mastering.

Who mastered feedback?

Who mastered my favorite headache?

Leonard doesn't deserve full blame, just partial :)
#21 - Posted 10/10/13 @8:51AM by jupeguyowensound [contact]

Wow just noticed that this Leonard guy produced Feedback as well. Even more perplexing.
#20 - Posted 10/10/13 @8:21AM by jupeguyowensound [contact]

My question would be then, if everyone's blaming "the mix" as to why the original VT was a mess or the "wall of sound" so to speak, then why would they get this same guy to mix Feedback?
"Hey David, you did such a horrible job of mixing VT that we hate it, and it'll bother us for many years to come and we'll probably get other people to try and re-mix it so it sounds better, but hey do you want to mix our next album for us?" Sincerely yours, Geddy,Alex,and Neil.
#19 - Posted 10/9/13 @10:42PM by RushFanForever [contact]

David Leonard did a good job on 'My Favorite Headache'.
#18 - Posted 10/9/13 @10:39PM by p_over_g [contact]

Like so many others, I find I can now finally listen to the entire album start to finish without taking a break from the wall of sound/noise of the original. It's so clean and well balanced now. Musically, there are still things about the songs/arrangements I dislike (and was secretly hoping would be removed) but it's great to hear pretty much what the band wanted us to hear back then.
#17 - Posted 10/9/13 @10:19PM by Greenewolfe [contact]

What a wonderful remix. I especially like the job Bottrill did on "Ceiling Unlimited", "Out of the Cradle", & "Freeze"
#16 - Posted 10/9/13 @9:28PM by jupeguyowensound [contact]

#14- so Rob just to clarify. VT was produced by Rush and Paul Northfield. It was recorded by Paul Northfield. It was mixed by David Leonard.
#15 - Posted 10/9/13 @8:40PM by RushFanForever [contact]

I emailed David Bottrill on his website and said thank you for the album remix and referenced the popdose article.


He was appreciative of my comments.
#14 - Posted 10/9/13 @6:34PM by Rob [contact]

#2 I think you touch on this, in essence, we're hearing what Paul Northfield wanted us to hear had he mixed this originally.

The problem originated with David Leonard.

Also, I love the addition of the melodic guitar line in "How it is" I always thought that song was missing something. Now we're hearing the missing element.
#13 - Posted 10/9/13 @6:07PM by Electric Brain Elderly [contact]

This album sounds so great. So much is unmuddled like the guitars around 3:30 in "cradle." We owe a tremendous debt to him for unburying Peaceable Kingdom and Freeze and.... everything really!

#10 Can you explain what you mean! Also you can try emailing Dave!
#12 - Posted 10/9/13 @4:22PM by nodrush [contact]

The remix is awesome, such an improvement, Neil's DW's sound great as always.
#11 - Posted 10/9/13 @3:59PM by CraigJ [contact]

#9. You just have to love a song that contains parts in 7/4, 6/4, 5/4 and 4/4. I know I do. Definitely requires active listening though.
#10 - Posted 10/9/13 @3:09PM by broughttoyoubytheletterj [contact]

What happened to the ride cymbal Dave ?
#9 - Posted 10/9/13 @2:22PM by More Evil Twin of ByTor

Great article. Very good description of the process, which is wonderfully insightful.

I've listened through the remix a couple of times now. Ceiling Unlimited, Secret Touch, and Peaceable Kingdom definitely improved the most, probably followed by Freeze (which was totally unlistenable before ... still kind of a tough song due to the constant odd 5/8 rhythm and variations on it). Nocturne remains a tune I just don't enjoy, remix or no... :-)
#8 - Posted 10/9/13 @2:05PM by CraigJ [contact]

David: "I think this is a pretty unique situation, but it does speak volumes as to how much the band care about their fans and want them to be satisfied. I also think that they themselves were not as happy with the final result as they could have been. These are great songs and I was just trying to help them realize them as they would have wanted at the time. Everyone has to remember that it was a very stressful time for the band and it's really a tribute to their resilience that they were able to continue as a band at all. At the time this project was done, there were well known "volume wars" going on and this project suffered from that recording and mixing philosophy. ** Mercifully, I think we are beyond that now. ** "

Hope springs eternal.
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