In the studio today on the bass. I was using Kevin the engineer’s 1963 Gibson EB2. It’s deceiving to look at in that it’s semi-acoustic and heavy. I am not able to take all my instruments with me across the oceans so I’m at the mercy of who has what. Luckily working with Fred in Minneapolis he has a great collection of guitars and a 1964 Vox AC30 that I really like. Having said that the studio (The Terrarium) also had a fine collection of amps, Marshalls, Fenders, and a Vox. At Pleasantry Lane in Dallas, there’s an array of amps, and engineers Kevin and John have brought in their own amps so we have a varied choice of sounds before we start on Space Summit 2 on Saturday.
We saw Jason today who will be playing drums on the Space Summit album. He plays with The Polyphonic Spree and has also played drums on the Valley of Salt project, all albums in the process of being made, mixed, or readied for release. As Jason was here we had him play percussion on a mystery album track as he had a handy metal guero close by – as you do. He also brought in a marching drum for use on future projects and as it happened whilst listening to a track in the control room from the live room, I started hitting the drum and as usual with random ideas, we recorded it for the track in question.
It was a hot day in Texas and you are trapped inside with the air conditioning, I’m unsure what’s worse, stifling heat or freezing vents, it seems hard to get it exactly right inside and outside is out of your hands. I haven’t been bitten to death by mosquitos this time around but the studio has some kind of anti-mosquito automatic spraying system that keeps them away. Last year I was the food source for every mosquito in Dallas.
Shelley and Jason visited today, fans of Salim who he met whilst playing with Rhett Miller in Philadelphia. They came and listened to what we were doing, we were laying down violins through the evening and working our way through the songs fixing bits, adding bits and asking the songs what they needed, fulfilling their desires. Sometimes you have to talk them into things, other times they ask for your help.
The gardeners were out today with their dastardly leaf blower and space-age lawn mower, making a racket. We try and record with the background noise, wondering how we can utilize it if we can’t avoid it. A studio with great microphones is a wonderful thing but sometimes they pick up the sounds of fighting butterflies, petals falling off flowers, and giant machines, growling.
Music today has been Shirley Collins & Davey Graham – Folk Roots, New Routes (1964). Shirley Collins has a new album coming out on the 26th of May called Archangel Hills, she is 87 years old and essential.
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