It's getting late. We've been working on this album off and on for months. We're nearing the end of the last mix, and it's sounding pretty good. It came together fairly easily, as we'd carefully critiqued sounds, takes, and overdubs along the way. Everyone in the room knows we worked hard on this track, and that it's paying off now. It sounds "right" to us.

Over the decades these people that I first met in my studio have become my friends. They came to me with their abstract dreams of what their songs might become, and I tried my best to contribute to their sound. For years we all honed our skills, and I believe the songs and albums prove it. Every album gets a little better than the last, and lessons learned always make the process go more smoothly. It is rewarding.

The last note of the final mix fades out slowly. A long sigh of relief courses around the room. "Well, shit. We're done."

We set the computer to backup our session and pop around the corner for a beer or two before retrieving our hard drives and heading home to loved ones. I raise a beer and toast my friends on another fine album completed. Everyone is tired but satisfied.

I feel honored to be a part of this process and to help people create records that come out better than they ever imagined. Honored to be their trusted sounding board and guiding hand in the studio.

This is all I ever wanted, and I feel lucky to be here right now. 

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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