Monday, 16 May 2016

December 2015 / January 2016

Prior to the trip home for Christmas, I managed to steal a weekend up in Newcastle, seeing Stuart and Andy - and saying a farewell to Luke before his emigration.  

My Attorney recorded a webcast documentary commentary to Tech Support, which I still need to edit.  It was great fun, and has inspired me to record similar commentaries for other important Libris releases.  Next up will be Grilly, talking about On Benefit, ten years after it was made available. 

The festive period saw another opportunity to record with Loss, this time with the multitrack equipment from Colerabbey Studios. 

I can tell you, it felt strange and ghastly exhuming those old mic stands and dusty XLR leads out of their boxes in my parents’ garage:  like disturbing an old pharaoh in his tomb, the shadows of those final Newcastle days.

The results were mixed:  a lot of faffing around setting all the stuff up as usual, and then Core Audio dropouts, no doubt because my MacBook Pro has difficulties running the Mavericks OS.  I felt really upset by it, it brought back all those bad memories of stressful sessions of yesteryear and all the reasons why I had left the whole process behind. 

Subsequent playbacks with the lads confirmed that most of the songs “sounded quite good with that massive bleep at the end and then total silence”, which made me feel a little better.

The end of the year also provided an opportunity to start cutting together two more Loss records from the bank sessions in Belfast that we had been conducting over the last year and a half.  They’re the antithesis of the stuff contained within Pattern Magic, Summoner and Tech Support.  Everything is recorded live in the room on the audio handset; and the results are thin, scratchy and raw.  But they have a certain quality to them that is very true, very satisfying.  Everything sits, pre-mixed, in this honest reflection of what was happening at that very moment.  Nothing is fabricated or contrived.  Nothing can sound out of place, unless it also sounded out of place in the room when it happened.  The psychology of mixing has always fascinated me…  it’s interesting to think that I have somehow gone backwards in terms of fidelity through my ten years as a producer, and yet ended up somewhere that at times sounds far better than anything that took up thirty tracks and half a terabyte of hard disk space.  The complete discography of The Fall that sat on my iPod for a year or so has clearly counted for something.