Thursday, June 23, 2005


> Mary, Doug’s wife, has been filling in a questionnaire whilst we work. It’s for her high-falutin’ job in marketing, and involves questions such as “Which would you rather deliver: Justice or Mercy?” Every now and then she’ll look up from the page and, to a background of electronic ambient wurbling, ask one in a series of vague but loaded questions. We begin to add our own variations, increasingly nonsensical (“Who’s your daddy? Answer yes or no.”) I begin to think about writing a list of questions directed at the album as an imaginary entity, or for particular songs. Dual option. No evasions, no excuses. Answer quickly without thinking.

> Doug discovers a piece of software which can potentially stop our studio having the acoustics of an empty swimming pool. He calculates the point at which frequencies strike the walls, and what reflections are caused. He’s marking out bass notes in thin air with a retractable tape measure.

> Neil has taken delivery of his brand-spanking-new Apple Mac G5, but a week later the stupid bugger still hasn’t unpacked it. I had precisely the same experience two years ago when I bought my Powerbook. It sat for several days, wrapped in plastic, untouched, and I did my best to find all sorts of reasons not to plug it in. Neil knows, as I did, that once you open that box you’re going to be incommunicado for the best part of a month. Just deciding what cool amazing brilliant and cool picture you’ll have on the desktop is gonna take you two and a half hours, then once you’ve settled on something (the Last Supper done in Lego, or whatnot) you’ll spend twenty minutes walking around the room admiring it from a variety of angles. Software installation, the reading of manuals, calibrating of hard-drives; that unopened Mac box is actually a bumper pack of glowering portent. Yes, it’s full of adventure. Yes, and mystery. It might as well be a huge ancient metal trapdoor that has inexplicably appeared in the middle of your living room, the surrounding floorboards splintered and cracked as if it had just been hammered in by a pissed-off Norse demon, a massive rusty ring on its central panel, waiting for you to heave it open on un-oiled hinges and stick your stupid fucking head in…

> Milo will be 2 years old in July. He is definitely his father’s son in that more than anything else in the world, the kid loves pushing buttons. Let loose in the studio he can produce some interesting results. On one occasion he manages to re-program a controller keyboard so that it operates purely in random atonal clusters. Not only that, but it plays those clusters on a MIDI channel no-one has ever heard of before. I say to him: “It takes Karlheinz Stockhausen months to come up with this sort of bollocks,” and he replies by shouting “OUTSIDE!” before suddenly running into the garden.
Well… That showed me.


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