Phase Three

After bank holiday respite Rob and I return to Analogue Cat for more of the same, we’re half way through tracking but the schedule as it stands leaves us barely two days to mix 11 songs. In the heat of the momentum we imagine this will be possible and crack on regardless. Tim arrives on the Wednesday and adds his backing vocals to several tunes including the becoming a bit controversial IMAGINE [the only song selected that Rob’s not keen on…which of course means I’m working twice as hard to convince him of it’s worth]. It’s a song about writing a song like Imagine. When I first recorded it at home I used all the piano clichés and the vocal slap back effect on the voice and whilst I admit there was a certain comedic thing going on I kind of liked the absurdity of it all. Rob said it sounded like something Richard Stilgoe would do, like satire or something. I said so what. He said it was naff. And so it went on from there. I changed some of the words at his request and agreed to do it as a guitar thing. Hindsight is now telling me this was a mistake. We did a mix of it and although it sounds good there’s something not quite right about it. So it won’t make the album; I reached that decision the other day. Rob is relieved.

Tim also plays guitar on a song called UNIFORM. The song has some resonance for Tim and I as it stems from a time when we discussed writing of songs about identity, professions, labels and the likes. The song UNIFORM is like the mother of these songs, others include ‘Kiss me I’m a Social Worker’ from the Good bye My Angry Friend album, and of course ‘Music Teacher’ from Growing up with VP. It’s like a running theme or something. Another song from that period, ‘Nurse of The Year’ has similar baggage; we get Tim to sing b/vs on this one too. Leah Wilkes arrives on Thursday morning to sing backing vocals on a couple of tracks, she’s driven up from Brum and no soon as she’s done she’s off. We bank her up like the TRextatic wall of Voice on Metal Guru. It sounds great. We are working later and later into the night. Each day we are a little more tired. Rob Cotter brings us triple strength filter coffee at midnight which speeds us up a treat. A frog pays us a late night visit hopping across the studio and getting trapped behind the tape machine. This feels more dramatic than it sounds…I guess you had to be there. On Friday night I do the vocal for the cover of Sun Comes Up, it’s Tuesday Morning, I just about through it, it’s even wordier than one of my own songs! I give it as much rock n roll treatment that I can muster; we add some Rickenbacker sparkle and magic echo and call it finished.

I want this album to feel alive. There are fewer actual sonic tracks on this album than previous ones [tape limits apply]. Tape also gives greater sonic fusion than digital; it’s an altogether more accidental process here in Analogue World. At the end of the week we take away nine of the twelve songs, all mixed in next to no time on tired ears. We return to the studio for a final mixing session this weekend. We’re almost there. I will be adding tracks to the myspace player in due course.

To keep me grounded I’m reading Bill Drummonds brilliant new book 17. He thinks all pop music has run its course and it’s a dead art form no less. He has a point. Perhaps I should just erase the tapes and be done with it…hmmm, as if. But he does have a point…more on this when I’ve read it. VP

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