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Engineer In Focus: Andy ‘Hippy’ Baldwin

Andy ‘Hippy’ Baldwin was the first engineer at Metropolis Mastering to be taken on as an apprentice, learning his art from three of the most experienced engineers in the UK in Ian Cooper, Tony Cousins and Tim Young.

Over the course of the last twenty years, Hippy has evolved into one of our most trusted engineers. After his mentor Ian cooper retired, Hippy took over his mantle to finish the remastering of Oasis’ first three albums, featuring early demos from “Definitely Maybe” to lost recordings of “Be Here Now”. With a special talent for bringing out the best from a wide variety of mixes, Hippy really personifies the Metropolis Mastering ethos of supporting creativity and sonic excellency. 

Hidden Orchestra – Antiphon

Coming in at just over six minutes, ‘Antiphon’ from the 2010 debut album ‘Night Walks’ is sprightly, urgent and all too brief. Fusing ambient soundscapes with avant garde instrumentals and Hip Hop beats, Hidden Orchestra have a real talent for creating beautifully trippy and textural sound paintings. You can hear the precipitation throughout ‘Antiphon’, whilst the dripping wet backward guitars and pianos carry the soft and delicate tune until the drums kick in and elevate the track from pleasant background noise to cinematically dramatic hip hop beats.

“Joe Acheson is one of the most creative musicians I have ever worked with. His music is amazing but you need to listen really closely to his work to appreciate some of the more subtle details. The world is his recording studio, from raindrops hitting his living room window to a Bluebottle landing on an outdoor mic, it’s all in there in a twisted form for your listening pleasure.”

The Orb & Dave Gilmour – The Cult Of Youth Ambient Mix Parts 1 & 2 – Edit

Music geeks from across the globe rejoiced when Ambient House pioneers The Orb joined forces with Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour for 2010’s ‘Metallic Spheres’. This album represented a departure sonically from the more dub oriented material on previous albums such as ‘The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld’ and ‘U.F.Orb’. Otherworldly synths mesh with Gilmour’s effortless guitar noodlings to create a dramatically atmospheric piece

“LX Paterson, one of the purveyors of the UK’s ambient dance music, meets the King of Prog Rock! Having grown up listening to both these artists this record was a dream to work on, the listening experience is further enhanced with the binaural version on the two disc set. Get your headphones out and let Paterson and Gilmour seriously mess with your head!”

Blur – Under The Westway

Debuted live on Twitter by a reunited Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon, ‘Under The Westway’ is a beautiful piano-led ballad and a strong return to form from a grown up sounding Blur. Shortly after winning the Outstanding Contribution to Music at the 2012 Brit Awards, Damon and Graham co-wrote the song for the Olympic Closing Celebration Ceremony Concert in Hyde Park. The sombre lyrics reflect on middle age and an ode to life in a modern Metropolis (‘Girls and Boys’ this is not).

“I remember telling my folks I was going to a friend’s house to revise for my A-Levels but ended up instead at Finsbury Park to see The Cure. Blur came on as a surprise act and blew me away with acoustic numbers from ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’. Years later I found myself holding a half inch tape of ‘Under The Westway’, the first blur record to be released in years! I was blown away!”

Wretch 32 – Antwi

Wretch 32 is at his best when he’s spitting fire over an instrumental and with the track ‘Antwi’ Jermaine Scott Sinclair delivers a real gut punch of a track. The lyrics are hard hitting, calling out racism, familial loss and having to help his mum with the shopping. For those who are more familiar with Wretch’s work on chart-friendly tracks like ‘Don’t Go’ and ‘Unorthodox’, ‘Antwi’ and the other tracks on 2016’s ‘Growing Over Life’ album might come as a bit of a shock to you. As a Tottenham boy and nephew of equal rights campaigner Stafford Scott, Wretch 32 is here at his most reflective, raising concerns on important issues of race and class that became mainstream news during the London riots. Wretch 32 named the track ‘Antwi’ after losing his friend, mentor and former manager Richard Antwi in 2016.

“It’s a fantastic body of work, with its roots in the UK grime scene but accessible to a wider audience. I love the grime ethos and it’s great to see dedicated artists such as Wretch getting the recognition they deserve.”

I Can’t Explain (Live At Hull) – The Who

Legend has it that this live recording by The Who was always intended to be the definitive record of the band’s live talents. The show at Leeds the night before which eventually became “Live At Leeds” (now widely regarded as not just one of the best live albums of all time, but one of the best albums of all time FULL STOP) was actually meant to be the warm up for this show at Hull! Technical cock-ups during the initial recording however meant that the first seven tracks of the show were deemed unreleasable. It was only in 2012 when Bobby Pridden and Richard Whittaker realised they could save the project by splicing John Entwistle’s bass performance from “Live At Leeds” in place of the initial recording. Forty two years after the concert, “Live At Hull” was finally released..

“It’s hard to say anything about this band that hasn’t already been said. The live at hull gig was a piece of unheard history and working with Bob (The Who’s original sound engineer) was an experience I’ll never forget, it was simply a pleasure to be a small part of that historic event.”

To read more about Hippy’s work, head over to his bio on the mastering website by clicking here…

Book Andy ‘Hippy’ Baldwin  for your next mastering project by clicking here, or drop an email to mastering@https://www.thisismetropolis.com