It must sound most peculiar to most people when I say I was up bright and early today at a quarter to midday! Well, it’s all relative, we go to bed in the early hours, we get up in the afternoon, we are night people. But sometimes night people have to get up early in this case for a session with Rohan in Sydney and what a complex web he weaves, a great talent at 22, I so hope he can take it further. I was doing the session in the studio control room and had agreed with Dare that he should leave home at 1PM so I can get my sesh with Rohan finished before he arrives, but he forgot and arrived early. So he went for a walk around town for half an hour and when he got back I was finishing up and we soon got started on sessioneer Ahad’s next track. Is it really song 10 we are up to? I was thinking we might work on the last Jerome Froese/me project track first (I need to play the bass on a song) but Dare thought we could do that next week. We are in Ahad headspace and we want to get the guitars recorded so we can finish the music and get Ahad over here from Istanbul to sing, presuming he will be able to travel from Turkey to England at the end of September. When will we know we are in the clear, will we ever be in the clear, is there something else around the corner and why are there so many horrible people in power in the world?
I was playing all kinds of guitars today starting with the Rick 340 6 (1966) playing some special ‘sprangs’ that can only come out of this guitar. Rohan mentioned the Sing Songs EP today and this was the guitar I used on The Night Is Very Soft and Ancient History. I also used it for some chunky chords but there’s chunky…and there’s this guitar’s chunky – it’s growling, edgy and chunky, it’s hard to explain, it sounds like something you would hear on a Small Faces record, The Who or The Beatles. I needed Dare’s ’62 Gibson 345 for the next part, an arpeggio and I added this wonderful guitar to those chunky Rickenbacker tones and the blend between these two beautiful beasts was something special. For the solo, I used my late seventies Strat with the wah-wah and I doubled the original guitar riff with the Fender 6 string bass. I tried my three available acoustics but ended up keeping the main demo version and adding a Takamine 6 string rhythm part. The lesson here is that when you are doing your demos, make sure it’s in tune and you do a decent job of recording it because your unique feel might be the missing link to a song’s magic and it’s very very hard to get it back into a song when it’s gone.
They say making records is a curse because it makes you aware of other people’s misdeeds, haha, but you can also appreciate someone’s great work. Often it’s just a taste thing, when we were mixing the Space Summit album we wondered about the bass levels so we played some CDs in the archive and compared bass levels between contemporary releases and the difference, wow! Jeff Lynne’s latest records, no bass. The Hip Hop gods were furious. But it’s taste, heavy bass, simple songs, little bass, complex songs, great melodies, stoopid lyrics, great lyrics, out of tune singing. Everyone sees it differently.
Last day in the archive, getting ready for Noel to arrive with eight boxes of records tomorrow, trying to get the letter ‘s’ sorted, so many bands and artists’ surnames come under ‘s’.
French was short and sweet today but it was day 90, I must have learnt something but I wouldn’t let me loose in a St Germain café just yet. Pasty shop was surreal today as we discussed tomorrow and what we don’t know about it. Weather went from chilly to mizzle and Olivia went out dry and came back wet. It was all just a normal day in Penzance.
We watched the first episode of Humans – Season 3 over dinner, it’s now been cancelled because the ratings have obviously gone down. But Coronation Street prevails. I don’t get sick of a show, I get more into it. I get into the characters. But it seems that the audience gets excited about a show and then their interest wanes and it’s gone. I didn’t watch the last couple of seasons of Game Of Thrones or the last few Walking Dead seasons because I just got so sick of mutilation, decapitation and all kinds of horrible violence over dinner. I would have continued if there had been less blood but I guess the blood and the gore and the death is the point. Are there happy shows and I don’t mean comedy or romcoms but just stimulating shows where no one dies and no one is humiliated? Or don’t we humans do that as entertainment? That’s why music is amazing because it creates happiness and stimulation, wonder and love and doesn’t need violence to blow your mind.
Music today comes from the talented A.A. Williams. Cellist, pianist, guitarist, singer-songwriter and another Bella Union signing. Heavy, sensitive, thoughtful, brave, dark, her debut album Forever Blue (2019) is really something. Too new for a Wikipedia page whilst being reviewed in the Guardian and the Financial Times? What can you say about an artist whose debut album’s opening track is entitled All I Ask (Is To End It All). Have a look at the links to see what people say.
Weyes Blood released Titanic Rising in 2019, it’s her fourth album and the first on Subpop. Her first two EPs were self-released and are very hard to find and expensive. I have the last three albums and her voice and retro mood make her a contender for the “if she’d been around in the seventies she’d be a legend” prize. My only criticism of her work is that the drums are the feel and sometimes they don’t make it, I don’t want them loud, I just want them to have that feel that the legends of the seventies had, where’s Kenny Buttrey when you need him? She tries to keep the drums low in the mix but machines can’t hide. Often compared to The Carpenters’ Soft Rock, the difference – Karen Carpenter was a drummer, she knew things.
Nadine Shah’s latest album Kitchen Sink, her fourth, was released on June 26th and I’ve followed her from her first album, this is the first chance I’ve had to listen to it where it felt right. She’s an intriguing mix of cultures and ideas. A Pakistani father, an English mother with Norwegian blood and growing up in South Shields in the North East. All that can only give you a unique perspective on the norms of the universe. I like her voice, the urgency in her music, the lyrics are smart and observant and with her collaborator Ben Hillier she makes original albums that make me think she’s a younger distant cousin of Johnette Napolitano.
I’m such a fan of Anna Calvi, I even interviewed her once in Stockholm and saw her play there. Olivia and I saw her twice in Germany (Frankfurt and Cologne). Her voice is incredible, the story is that she hid herself away until she could really sing and wow can she sing! She plays a mean Fender Telecaster but people are more excited about her going nuts with the guitar and thrashing at it than her actual skills. She also plays the violin but not anymore, she’s on another trip at the moment and I like it. Her latest album is called Hunter (2018). There’s also Hunted which is some kind of remix with guests. Citing Bowie, Scott Walker and Nina Simone as influences…what are you waiting for?
Song Of The Day
This is the only video that I didn’t find distracting. I like music, not videos.