Monday, 27 February 2012

'The bird is not the metaphor.' Part 2.

We spent an enjoyably exhausting 9 hours in the dankest rehearsal rooms that Birmingham has to offer this weekend. Saturday's time was spent revisiting, 'Bow down,' 'Latch,' and 'This is how I cut my own throat' from the previous session. So - somewhat predictably - 'Bow down' has now lost the dronerock intro that was so lovingly constructed a couple of weeks ago. To say that there was some eye-rolling and groaning at this decision, is to understate the extent that our practice room briefly resembled the killing floor of an abattoir at the peak of the BSE crisis. Interestingly, I think the song itself is tangibly better 'with' the absent intro section, than it ever was before the intro even existed. How can this be? I don't know. Call a psychologist.

'Latch' benefited from some final decisi0n-making on drums, violin parts, and the fine-tuning of Andrew's free-floating guitar. It is done.

And 'This is how I cut my own throat' was a revelation. At least, it was to me. We have been chipping away at this one for months, and until now it has retained an elusive and intimidatingly 'interesting' quality, without ever having the feel of something that would be good to hear. But on Saturday the chorus that we thought might actually work, did actually work. The beginning section now has a vocal and a structure that also seems to work, and after one of those excitingly serendipitous mistakes, the bridge also got an unexpected little boost. The whole thing feels like a song for the first time. [I have always thought of the bridge as the 'Girl on a Motorcycle' bit, but I've just googled 'Girl on a Motorcycle,' and the music from the film bears no relation to my recollection of the music from the film. Maybe the bridge just sounds a little French.]

On Sunday, we restored some dynamics to 'Let's Get Fired,' injected some swing and swagger into 'Things are Sticky,' and were given permission by John to extend the ending to 'Horse You Rode In On' by several minutes. We reconstructed 'Simple and Easy' and 'Dirty Names,' creating some nice new parts for drums, violin and guitar as we went. Once or twice it looked like we might even persuade Tom to write something down. But he didn't - so you'll be hearing in a few weeks about how many of those new parts he actually remembers ...

So that makes eight. I was convinced we'd done ten, but apparently not. We do already have pretty good arrangements of the remaining songs ('100W bulb,' 'We Are In Water,' 'Tethered Not Caged,' 'Magpie,') however, so I think we are about on track to hit the small window of recording time available to us at the end of April. Fingers crossed.

Now I need to eat some proper food.
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Sunday, 5 February 2012

'The bird is not the metaphor.' Part 1.

We braved the impending severe weather warning and made a trip to our rock n' roll meridian [Milton Keynes] on Saturday afternoon for the first four hours' work on songs for the new LP. Despite the frozen pipes in the rehearsal rooms, and the lurking expectation that we would emerge into a silent winter wonderland at the end of it all, we made good progress on 3 songs.

'Bow down' now has a splendid dronerock intro; 'Latch' has ditched its pretty-but-pointless middle section and fessed up to being the popsong that it probably is, and 'This is how I cut my own throat' has a version of the chorus that may even, eventually, work. Also making their debut, a new handbuilt pedal made and played by Andrew [it was loud] and the new bareknuckle pickups on my partscaster [they were lovely]. And, if we get sick of the putative LP title [above], then John coined an alternative [LP Title Pathway B]: 'I am the auditor.'

To top it all off, it hadn't quite started snowing when we all pealed out at 4pm, and if it hadn't have been for Birmingham's notorious inability to cope with the snow, I'd have made it home in decent time, too.

Recording booked for late April. Yip yip!
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