Wednesday, January 26, 2005


We are the clipboard kings! Word documents, sub-folders, two big bottles of beer and a comprehensive audit. Plus crisps. Lots of crisps. How much more rock’n’roll is it possible to get?

Tonight we’re opening up all the files we have on every potential album track, and trying to get ourselves on the same wavelength. Sure, it's all very well adding that fantastic series of interlocking piano riffs to Cut Down The Middle, but if no-one else in the band knows that you’ve done it (and you’ve sort of forgotten yerself,) what’s the use?

On most of the music we've ended up chaining many different bits of recording software together... it’s fun because each program gives you a fresh take on the song, a new approach, and between the three of us we often surprise ourselves with the combined impact of ideas generated miles or even years apart. But it can also trip you up; often it's hard to keep track of what's been added or amalgamated in any given arrangement. Imagine living in a house where new rooms keep appearing at random... you open a door and suddenly you’ve got an indoor heated swimming pool you knew nothing about.

"This song has a swimming pool," you say. "Why didn’t somebody tell me?"

"Oh, yeh. Sorry, should’ve mentioned that. I installed it a while back but it makes the whole chorus smell of Chlorine. So I just sort of shut the door and left it there."

"You know," someone else says, "That’s funny. Just the other day I was thinking that this song could benefit from 20 lengths of backstroke."* ...And you all nod sagely.

This is how art gets made, people. It's like walking fully clothed into a swimming pool you haven't got: Inexplicable and largely unscheduled.

So I’m not going to write about the hours spent slowly sifting through guitar takes we couldn’t remember recording because we were drunk or stoned or maybe even not actually there, or the analysis of serial piano parts where one note changes every 34 seconds. No, I won’t bore you with that, or any accounts of the painstaking re-loading of projects in order to line everything up to 115.84 bpm (rather than the troublesome 116 bpm it was beforehand. Integers? Fuck ‘em) which just wouldn’t interest you in the slightest I’m sure, and I’m not even going to mention the intriguing sine waves that suddenly cropped up all over Compatible, I wouldn’t do that to you, in the same way that I wouldn’t bang on and on about experiencing the dawning realisation that half of untitled pop song only exists as midi files and nothing else, and that the DPS12 and MPC2000 for all their good points have got - how shall we say - less than perfect MTC synching. The crisps? They were Sweet Chilli flavour, since you ask, and we ate the whole goddamn bag.

* You might like to know that I originally mis-typed this as "This snog could benefit from 20 lengths of backstroke" which is altogether a far better sentence, resembling one which you might read on a much more interesting blog somewhere else.


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