Sunday, September 04, 2005


I don't know if your computer screen is as dirty as mine. Mine is filthy. It's a G4 powerbook, and I need to get something to put between the keys and the screen whilst I carry it around. It's causing indentations.

(To the tune of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Pie Jesu)

Enough of this gay banter. How's the LP going, you ask? Neil says that every time someone asks him that selfsame question he's responding with the phrase "Well, we appear to have had another breakthrough." 'Tis true. God knows how many breakthroughs we need until the damn thing births in a gush of amniotic fluid and baby screams... but we're certainly having 'breakthroughs' at the rate of one every 2.6 hours. The Jukebox Will Tear Us Apart finally gave way a couple of weeks ago, with a late night cut-and-paste session that ended with me playing the laptop like a keyboard. Skewered finally sounds like the snarling, beautiful wreck it ought to be, with an ending that turns a whole bunch of disparate elements into a massive, see-sawing pad of sound.

We all have jobs to do: Lists have been drawn up, tasks assigned. Essential surgery is being performed on select tracks, but a good 50% are pretty much being left alone, awaiting the final addition of properly recorded vocals. This will hopefully be the final element which unifies the album (if not sonically, then at least in our heads, an action that seals the process.) We'll be paying cash money for time in a fully equipped studio, with a big ol' room for vocals, a big ol' window through to the control room... we'll essentially be shelling out dosh for a professional vibe, a sense of urgency. We won't neccessarily use all the results; whilst the vocals so far have been recorded merely as guides (using hand-held mics with little care for clipping or popping or background noise in living rooms and bedrooms all over the country,) some of these rough takes have a vulnerable quality that we might want to keep. All the same, we'll be re-recording every vocal for every song, which means lots of strain on the voice and various essential prevantative measures: getting the lemon and ginger tea in, for one. And humming. Lots of humming, all morning, to warm the throat up. People tend to look at you funny in the street or in the shops, but the alternative is little nodes all over your vocal cords for weeks. Who wants nodes? Nodes are bad. No nodes for me, thanks.

We're also addressing the thorny issue of how to translate the fruits of four years studio knob-twiddling into something that is playable live. Doug recently recounted the story of seeing the wonderful My Bloody Valentine in his late teens. He remembers the entire gig as sounding "like the inside of a seashell" with no discernable connection between the band playing on stage and the sound coming out of the PA. Sure, those guitars were being strummed. Sure, the drumkit was being battered somewhere at the back of the stage. Sure, some people were standing behind microphones and maybe, just maybe, their lips were moving. But did any of it connect with the overall noise the audience could hear? Did it buggery.

Our problem is not so much that you can't connect between what happens physically on stage and the sound we produce: it's simply that in its recorded form, most of our material is the result of so much manipulation and digital warping that it has become impossible to play on conventional instruments... and we don't necessarily want to be three blokes standing behind laptops throughout the entirety of our gigs.

Qualifier: there's nothing wrong per se with three blokes standing behind laptops. Or even four blokes standing behind laptops. Hell, even five blokes, a rhesus monkey and a bag of salt behind laptops is fine. Or two women behind three laptops. Or just a kid with a calculator. It's all good. I'm not getting fascist on the asses of laptop groups, 'K? It's just... that I'm not sure we're that sort of band. One likes to hit stuff. One likes to chuck oneself around. One likes to sweat one's arse off. I don't, however, want to spray streams of sticky sweat all over my powerbook. The fucker's dirty enough as it is, you know?


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