BEHIND THE COLLECTION

"Music will always live on"
Pixie Costello (nee Williams), 2011

Originally recorded on seven fragile shellac 78 rpm records, allowing only one song per side, the collection had not been gathered together in one place until For the Record. The project to create the album was a labour of love, discovery and restoration for the Blue Smoke Records team. 

In the spirit befitting New Zealand's original music recording pioneers, Producer Tim Fraser engaged the services of New Zealand's leading mastering engineer, Mike Gibson of Munki Masters.  Renowned for his attention to detail and empathetic approach, Gibson spent several weeks trialing the world's latest restoration equipment and talking to global leaders in the industry before deciding on the best approach for this project.

"It was a thrill to be involved in a preservation project of such cultural significance and to imagine that new generations of listeners will be able to enjoy these beautiful songs, now and forever.  Absolute care and respect were the cornerstone principles in the remastering of Pixie's work.  Through the remastering process we ensured we kept the impact on the music to a minimum - wanting to illuminate rather than change the sound.  It is a fitting tribute to a reluctant and humble star."

Tim Fraser, Executive Producer

Mike Gibson, Munki Masters

Without the original masters to work from, Gibson had to create the new masters from much loved and played shellac 78s.  From these mono recordings, unwanted noise was removed to reveal the overall quality of the music and then painstakingly the layers of static, pops and scratches were unpicked to be transformed into quality recordings for today's listeners.  It has been an incredible feat of skill and patience.  Pixie Williams' incredible voice can now be clearly heard, as can each instrument, brought together again in perfect harmony as if the band were performing, and recorded, today.  


Beginning with an idea in 1982 and finishing with the release of this digitally remastered collection 29 years later on Pixie Costello's (nee Williams) 83rd birthday in 2011, we hope the work we have done sets the stage for further discovery in the restoration and release of historic New Zealand music.

"I thought Mum's voice, these songs, were stunning as they were, with the scratches, pops and skips of age simply adding to their beauty.  The original idea for the project was to capture all of Mum's recordings into one collection.  This was going to be a feat in itself.  I hadn't thought about remastering, but Tim suggested I listen to part of a song Mike had experimented on, just in case I might change my mind. The rest is history.  The tears ran and I was speechless. It was an amazing moment for which I will be forever grateful to Tim and Mike for pursuing."

Amelia Costello

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