This weekend I went back to the room to try and put down a few more tracks for the Eighties record. What I ended up with is a collection of six new tracks that are completely different. Whereas the initial songs I recorded for Eighties were mostly freeform noise pieces (with the odd guitar synth section), and all the songs so far recorded for Peripheral Vision are looped* pieces; what came out this weekend was some sort of bastard son of the two.
My good friend Dave, whose band ‘Holy Ships‘ you should check out, came down again to press buttons and act as a sort of self-indulgence barometer. He’s a progressive, lenient judge as you’ll hear hopefully once the songs are out, but I find having a friend in the room lets me relax about trying to set the 8-track and also makes me consider that these songs aren’t just for me.
I was worried by the fact that once the mics were set up and the flourescent lights on the ceiling switched off, leaving the room’s ridiculous inbuilt disco lights creating the atmosphere, I still had no idea what I was about to record.
*I’m really beginning to start to appreciate the power of guitar loop pedals. They’re a device you can use to sample something you play and keep adding layers of sound. I’ve been using one properly for a few months now. I began just repeating a single chord and within a few moments had something approaching a new song.
Combining the looper with an ebow, a hand-held thing that let’s you get ‘violin type’ sounds and infinite note length, the material started to come thick and fast. In under two hours Dave and I left with 35 minutes of stuff on disk.
Once I listened back t0 it I remembered how even a couple of hours after the event I often have no idea how I made a lot of the sounds coming out of the speakers.
Unfortunately I also noticed that some tracks have been recorded a bit too loud which has added an annoying crackle in the speakers. This is a hangup from my days with an analogue cassette 4-track where pushing the levels often fattened things up a treat. With digital, it just sounds nasty. It must be said that the recording was meant to be fuzzy, but in a way that will get speakers pushing air. Ironically, I thought at first it only affected the right hand channel. It turns out my left ear is in worse shape than I had thought as I simply couldn’t hear it. Thank you tinnitus.
Definitely a lesson learned. Four of the six songs may not be usable, which will be a real shame. My very talented pal Wayne has kindly taken the .wav files off my hands to see if there’s anything that can be done.
I should know in a few days, and I’ll keep the blog updated. The two tracks that recorded ok are really exciting – one of them includes an extended section so unsettlingly heavy that all regrets that I just sold my Subdecay Noise Box pedal have gone out of the window .
All this means we’ll either have two tracks available for download or a whole album. Here’s hoping…