Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Day 3

Today it is actually warmer outside than it is in the church, which seems to have gotten progressively colder as the week has gone on, or maybe we have just complained about it more. The latter seems more likely. Despite the temperature things are going well. We had an early scare when we thought cabin fever had set in but I don’t think we’re quite there just yet. A good sing along to some James Brown classics got it out of our systems.

As Chris B has sat around scrutinising my every move or wrapped up in a blanket like Babushka most of the day, all he has done on this entry is the paragraph above. Typical English student, more context viewing and less writing. Sorry Chris, that’s payback for yesterday.

I’ll begin by saying that on my drive home last night I saw a man running like he was being chased, wearing a Santa outfit. Too early, too late, in danger or mental? You decide.

Today I are bin recording my guitar bits on everything, which started surprisingly well in ‘Abacus’ but soon went downhill in ‘Moscow Peasant March’ as my hands were falling off due to the cold. Today the church is like the bat cave: cold, hidden and full of people rapidly developing split personality disorder.
After many attempts at “Moscow…’ I had to warm my hands as finger picking was becoming impossible. This helped and a few takes in the funeral waltz was achieved.

Waltzing it.
Our latest song was next. Gypsy/punk/thrash/post-rock crossover romp ‘Little Spoken Wars’. Again, a smooth ride after some intonation issues were resolved. The delay heavy chorus sounded magnificent in here.  It must be said however that my telecaster is starting to show signs of its abusive life style.  
The song currently known as ‘Plinky Plonk’ was completed in minimal takes, this pleased me as this ones finger picking pattern is more difficult but I suppose being on beat helps.

‘Art Is An Escape, Escape Is An Art’ came next. Room mic in place to capture what the bowed guitar was producing in the church and we were good to go. This caused much frustration but after a bit of jiggery pokery and multiple runs at it and some overdubs we gained a hefty sounding section.

Onward into ‘Our Heavy Hands’ or ‘our attempt at a pop song’ as its more commonly known. As we have become horrifically conditioned to this song we can practically play it in our sleep so recording this was a welcome respite and done in a few takes.

What goes up must come down. Other newbie ‘Untitled’ proved a lot of fun as: 1. We grossly over estimated the length of the intro and 2. Tuning to the capo was just not happening. After Chris D and myself pricked around tuning by ear we gained the desired sound. Many runs through, with and without effects and its considered fit for consumption. My mother, brother, his girlfriend and niece, disturbed the first run through. Probably dropping in to make sure I was doing drugs or hanging around with women of a doubtful reputation. The problems with this are many. In this part of the world the drugs that exist are arthritis pills and the only women around take those pills, go figure.

The idea of taking drugs and having a party in the ‘studio’, a myth perpetuated by many pop stars (Lady GaGa is the biggest culprit for it). The grim reality of recording is that you spend a long time sitting around doing bugger all waiting for death. Maybe its different if you’re recording in LA, but somehow I doubt it.

Break for lunch, as provided by my mother and auntie. Again it was wholesome and enjoyable.
Straight back in for never played outside of the practice room ‘Follow Me Around’. This one produced major issues, as the swelled effect I use was producing some strange sounds through the microphones. Chris D worked some magic with my equaliser pedal and dulled it down so its now listenable.

I threw my guitar, mass of effects pedals and leads back in their boxes. I’m done until piano, cornet, mandolin, vocals and whatever else is required. Time to sit down while Chris B takes the helm.

He followed the same pattern as me. Luckily for him he doesn’t play guitar for every song and with the style of music we play you spend a lot of time crippling your back gorping at effects pedals. Trust me when I say, it grinds you down.

‘Abacus’ proved a little challenging, as the final crescendo wasn’t flowing as smoothly as it does when we all play it together live. However Chris persisted with it and gained something he was happy with.
‘Moscow..’ Chris doesn’t usually play guitar in this song however some swells are required in the first verse so he swiftly obliged. 

Chris gets away with no guitar in ‘Plinky Plonk’ or ‘Art is…’

As I said we’re all well versed in ‘Our Heavy Hands’ so a few takes of the swell, the stadium rock chorus and closing section came together with relative ease.

The subject of the stadium rock chorus is of some controversy amongst us. As when we recorded the demo of it, it did not exist. Last summer we were asked to record it for a friend of a fans uni recording project in Cardiff. We went through all our parts respectively until Chris’ part came up and out of nowhere this Bon Jovi-esque cock rock riff came out. No one really said anything until we went out on the night. Jordan asked “Where the fuck did that stadium rock chorus come from?” From then on he hasn’t lived it down. Neither should he I say.

Next up ‘Untitled’. Chris has never been keen on what he plays in the chorus so first of all came the re-arrangement under Chris D guiding hand, which began smoothly but he gave up to back to it. A wise move, cause if you get pissed off with it you make a hell of a lot more mistakes. This lead to Chris recording the last section of the song, plagued by cold hands this was not easy however persistence won the war.

By this point I was convinced that cabin fever/Stockholm syndrome had set in as Jordan, Jake and our friend Joe were dancing about like unmedicated lunatics.

‘Follow Me Around’ required some guidance as it’s much of a muchness, so I sat in front of Chris miming like a terrible early nineties one hit wonder pop act on TOTP. One take is all it took.

Backs turned on the bulk of the material; it was time for the little details to be tacked on. Chris messed around with 3 DL4’s to loop some ambiance for ‘Abacus’. At this point Amber turned up from work to make sure we hadn’t killed each other and to see what we’d got done.

Ambiance complete Chris turned his attention to the harmonium for ‘Art is..’ and ‘Moscow..’ I have to say, it sounds fantastic in here, almost like the instrument was designed for this setting.

Hefty organ is also required in ‘Abacus’ so Chris fired up our keyboard. We did attempt to use the churches organ in residence but we couldn’t get anything out of it that didn’t sound like the boss level on a classic gameboy. With that done, using the same keyboard Chris vinraphoned the hell out of ‘Plinky Plonk’ and so brought a conclusion to the third day.

And so we head home for Chris B and Jake to cook something for us. Lovely



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