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James Henry - Pluck : Mastering Session

Updated: Aug 1

The new 12-track James Henry album, "Pluck", was mastered by Jon Astley of Close To The Edge in London.


Jon Astley has a considerable musical heritage.

His father was Edwin Astley who was well known for composing themes and incidental music for several revered, British TV adventure shows such as Danger Man (1960) starring Patrick McGoohan, The Saint (1962) with Roger Moore, The Baron (1966) starring Steve Forrest and, one of my favourites, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969). This featured Mike Pratt as the living private detective and Kenneth Cope, the dead one who returns as a ghost to help Randall solve his cases.

Jon, like his father, became involved in music, firstly as an engineer, doing tape-op duties for amongst others Eric Clapton. This led to him co-producing the Who album “Who Are You” in 1978, taking over after Glyn Johns pulled out part way through the project. Later, Jon took on production duties for other artists, including Barclay James Harvest and his sister Virginia, before achieving success as a recording artist himself with the album “Everyone Loves The Pilot (Except The Crew)” in 1987 and “The Compleat Angler” a year later. A single from the first album, “Jane’s Getting Serious” was a top ten hit in the US, as was a second single, “Put This Love To The Test”.

His current incarnation is as owner of the mastering company Close To The Edge, based in Twickenham, South West London. He has mastered albums by George Harrison, Tori Amos, Van Morrison, Sting, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. He oversaw the re-mastering of all the Who back catalogue. Back in 2009, I went there to have my second album “Overspill” mastered by him. Thankfully, he was still in business when I called him, some ten years after first working together!

I’ve got a brief video of the session that day in October 2019. As much as I know a few bits and pieces about recording, I found the breadth of gear Jon had at his disposal and what he was doing with it completely bewildering. Mastering is a refined art and one I wouldn’t have a go at without serious supervision by an expert.

Jon is one of the nicest people I have met in the music business. His all-round expertise is second to none. He massively improved the sound of all my mixes, provided a calm and welcoming atmosphere when I attended the session and had a fund of interesting stories to draw on, about many of the big names he’s worked with. Through him, I managed to have my single “A Girl Like You” remixed by Adrian Hall – a long time friend of Jon’s who was another great person to have involved in my project. Jon went on to master Adrian’s final mix and supplied me with all of the necessary formats, to release album and single in both physical and digital form. I would heartily recommend him to anyone, especially those who are, like myself, independent musicians.

If anyone who is reading this would like to hire Jon, you can reach him here:

https://www.closetotheedge.biz

You can reach Adrian Hall here:

https://adrian-hall.com/

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