Sunday and in the studio again today working on the last Arctic Lake song. It’s an instrumental and I found myself playing the Fender 6 string bass which is always a pleasure as it has such a distinctive sound. So we went all Shadows today, Jet Harris used to play Fender 6 and then when it came to electric guitar we started with Dare’s red Fender Stratocaster which actually sounds more like a Strat than my Strat, perfect for this instrumental piece and the part I played was reminiscent of something that Bruce Welch, The Shadows’ rhythm guitarist, might play. Some organ, some lead parts on my Strat and we’ll try and finish tomorrow with Olivia singing some ethereal vocals and we’ll be on to mix. This will conclude stage one of this project. On Thursday we will be finishing the recording for Ahad’s album (we have recorded 13 songs). The album will be mixed in December. Space Summit is done. Sessioneers are making records, what a journey it’s been.
The weather comes in waves, like a marauding army of bandits that attack and leave and then return for more. They leave behind misery and pain and as you see them disappear into the distance you’ll know they’ll be back to ransack your village. But today I ventured out in a period of calm, walking along the pavement still wet from the last raid. The evidence of autumn lay on the ground, broken twigs and piles of leaves pushed to the side against the wall, unable to decay back into the earth as they sat on a bed of concrete.
As I walked past the school, I heard what I presume was a leaf blower, the most irritating of distractions. Where do they blow the leaves to? I never see them putting them in sacks to be taken away. They always seem to just blow them to the side waiting for the wind to blow them back to where they were.
Olivia has been buying German Christmas goodies from Lidl. Lebkuchen have that sugar and spice Christmas flavour often with ginger, mmmmmh. They come in all shapes and sizes, are soft when you bite into them and have a sugary frosting. I always hated Christmas food starting with Christmas Cake. Then worst of all there were mince pies and of course all that greasy meat and stuffing. One Christmas I had Tofurkey, it was rather like eating a deflated football but harder to chew. But on a positive note, Arnaud dropped by the studio today with a freshly home-baked sourdough loaf. We are eating it now – thank you.
I never really talk about food because it always ends up with me listing what I don’t like and often people telling me “you obviously haven’t tried”. Agggh, there’s nothing worse than when you hate tomatoes when somebody tells you you haven’t tried a really good one. I would rather have my ears stapled to the wall than eat a tomato. I can’t bear being near them, in the same house, the same street, town, country. Olivia is the same with bananas or even worse, she would move carriages in a train if someone started eating a banana. I’m not sure why people are such adamant food evangelists, it’s hard enough not liking things to have someone shove it down your throat (appropriate phrase) but we don’t complain, we just want to be left alone.
Have you ever stopped and asked for directions and halfway through the pleasant person’s explanation of where this hard to find place is, you realise that they are telling you as if you already know, projecting the image of the place into the instructions as if you can also see them. The traffic lights, the hotel on the corner, the old fire station, Smith’s, the bend in the road and the giant oak tree. It’s all there, a clear and obvious picture but you just got lost at the left turn at the bottom of the hill – or was it right?
Another day in the studio tomorrow and three sessions so I’d better get to bed. It’s also the last day of the Duolingo French week and at the moment I’m No.1 in the Obsidian League, one league below the top league, the Diamond League. Promotion is almost sure but it would be nice to be promoted from the No.1 spot – like Leeds.
Music today comes from Jon Anderson’s first solo album Olias Of Sunhillow recently sent to me by sessioneer Brian in Florida (thanks Brian). Anderson plays all the instruments, including the harp as well as many other instruments, bass, guitar, mandolin and the saz, or the bağlama, none the wiser, right? Well, it’s some kind of Turkish stringed instrument which suits this array of organic twangs that complement Anderson’s distinctive pure vocals. Although there’s also electronic noodlings (that he doesn’t play) which make you wonder if the idea was to try and blend these two disparate elements together. Anderson always strode the ground between Progressive and World Music and on this album, it is most prevalent. Asian scales, African drums and western synthesisers, oriental strings, American acoustics and a northern English voice from Accrington, Lancashire. If you’re from up that way, you can occasionally hear his accent jumping out from the yoga class.
The album was recorded in 1975 and 1976 and released in 1976 between Relayer (1974, with Patrick Moraz) and Going For the One (1977, the return of Rick Wakeman). At this point Yes were releasing their first compilation album, Yesterdays (1975). Roger Dean was too busy to do the artwork so it was designed by David Fairbrother-Roe and put together by Prog designers Hipgnosis. Fairbrother-Row also did Nazareths’s Hair Of The Dog and Popol Ace’s Stolen From Time as well as Sci-fi writer Anne McCaffrey’s book covers. This from Wikipedia: “It is a concept album which tells the story of an alien race and their journey to a new world following a volcanic catastrophe on their home planet”. Go Jon!