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Entangled – Preperation

My previous blog talked about where I am now and how Entangled came about. This one is going to be an update on what is happening rather than what has happened. This blog covers preparation for recording and the material needed for cover design, including label codes.

Before reading on make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and my mailing list to get notified about the album and make sure you are following me on your streamer of choice Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer.

Next week I’ll be heading down to Manchester to spend a day rehearsing and then two days recording with the Aurea Quartet.

I’ve had the dates booked for about 6 months but the realisation that it is next week brings everything into focus. So today has been a day of preparing for the session. I’m going to be doing the mixing and the editing so I’ve been looking at the scores to work out where we can cut that both makes musical sense and will make my job of editing easier at the end of the month. Also had a quick conversation with the studio so they know what the plan is (4 x 3h sessions 10am to 1pm / 2pm to 5pm in line with the MU/BPI agreement) and what we need with regards to mic setup and a clicktrack for one of the pieces.

The easiest way I’ve found to make a clicktrack is export the midi data from your notation software (Dorico, Sibelius, others) and import it to Protools. Make sure to tick the box ‘import tempo map’ and then all your tempo and time signature changes will be imported. Just make sure you’ve added an up-bar before exporting the score. Also Protools likes to make the click for some tempos dotted so just go through and double check each time signature change. Finally add an instrument and choose a click and you’re done. Setting it up this way means it’s easy to navigate to ‘bar x’ in the session to record multiple takes.

Cover Design

I’ve decided on exactly what the cover images are going to be. Marisa and I both struggled to get high quality images from the film for Entangled but I ended up taking screenshots on my large iMac screen. They seem to be the best quality we can get and Hlavi (my designer) seems happy with them.

Black and white draft of an album cover with waves and shadow dancer.
Raw image sent to Hlavi for the cover. Right hand with be the front, left hand the back. Original image from the film for Entangled by Marisa Zanotti

Hlavi has done all the design work for The Night With… and Dichroic Light so we have worked together for quite a few years. At the moment the shape of the text for the CD is finished but not the detail (for example the exact track order and I still have to name some of the pieces). But it is enough for him to start working on. The Dropbox folder I’ve sent him contains:

  • All the images for the cover wrap around, the inside and on the CD
  • PDF template from Discwizards (who I’m using for the release)
  • Text for the cover, inside cover, back cover and CD
  • Logos, label code and barcode

Most of the above is pretty self-explanatory but some of those things I’m going to talk about specifically.


For the Cover, inside cover and back cover it is mostly whatever you want. Though should probably include the album name, your name, performers name (s), producer, engineer etc. (if not you as well). Also, it’s polite to include where you recorded it.

On the CD itself you should include some kind of copyright statement, the sleeve code and the label code. This needs a bit more breaking down. For Entangled this is what I’ve put:

[MW 1901] [] [All rights of the producer and the owner of the works reproduced reserved. Unauthorised copying, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting of this record prohibited.] [LC: 69006]

MW 1902 is a catalogue number for the album. From what I can tell it is more important if you are a label releasing loads of things and just an identifier for that album. This should also go on the spine of the album. It can be any number you want but for me it is 19 (the year) 02 (the second release in 2019, Unda Malacia was the first).

My website is just my website so if someone picks up the CD, they can find me and contact me.

The copyright statement is on almost every CD I’ve looked at. I don’t think it needs to be printed but there is no harm in including it.

LC: 69006 is the label code. This is something I didn’t know about when I released Dichroic Light. In Germany they have a slightly different system for distribution and require the label code to make sure the royalties are paid correctly on any broadcasts. In the UK PPL can sort you out with one but more info on it here

Logos, label code and barcode

For Entangled I’ve received support from Creative Scotland and Help Musicians UK to write, record and release the album so both of their logos need to go on the back of it. You might have your own record label logo or anything else you feel is appropriate but if you have received funding you need to acknowledge their support. In the UK this might be Creative Scotland, Arts Council of England, Northern Ireland or Wales, PRS Foundation, Help Musicians, RVW Trust or any other countless trusts and funds or even private funding.

As well as being on the CD, the label code should be on the back cover beside the barcode so it is easy to find.

You need to have your UPC/Barcode ready before the album artwork. I’m using CD Baby for the release (I’ve also used RouteNote before and there are other aggregators such as TuneCore). They can all supply you with a UPC but each has their own system for doing so. With CD Baby I bought the distribution and UPC a few months ago because they had a sale on. So it was easy just to copy the jpeg from my account. I didn’t have to upload any music or choose a distribution date when I bought it though so its an empty release awaiting my files.

The final thing that made everything come home is paying the first part of the fee to WildKat for PR of the album and sending them a really long email with all the detail and context about the album. Some of which you might find out some of which is just useful for them to build the PR campaign around.

So that’s where everything is sitting at the moment. The next big hurdle will be the recording next week. Fingers crossed it all goes well! This thing has been over a year in the making so far.

Since writing this post Entangled has gone through the system and is now available to pre-add here! If you click after 25th Oct 2019 it will still work and just take you to the released album. I’ll talk about how to setup pre-saves/adds in a later blog post which you can find on the Entangled page.

1 thought on “Entangled – Preperation”

  1. Pingback: Studio Week | Matthew Whiteside

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