Thursday, August 18, 2011

I’ve got a fuzz box and I’m gonna use it…

Some time ago my friend Andy Trill, who I know best from being the one who knew how to play all the songs in the Picturehouse set properly and you probably know from past blogs as the grumpy one who originally joined temporarily to substitute for The Singer and then never left, reflected that while on tour once with Mr. Fish - in Zurich as I understand it - he was struck with the name of a progressive rock suite that he would one day produce. It was to be called Mannequins on a Turquoise Beach. When I finally skipped out of the band one of the last things we promised was that we would get together one day and collaborate on making real that concept. Of course, we never got round to it. 

Much later, while reflecting on having recently listened to a Megadeth’s Countdown to Extinction in the car a few times (a purchase made after reading Dave Mustaine’s autobiography) which I very much enjoyed, and a free CD that came with a magazine called Classic Rock presents Prog, which I very much didn’t, it occurred to me that it might be time to dig out the trusty Gibson Les Paul and have a bit of a noodle myself, and so I contacted Andy again to see if he would be interested in coming down to That Nice David Booth’s studio to spend a day faffing about with some guitars, just for a bit of a lark. TNDB agreed to play drums, and I also brought my niece Roanna along, as she was interested to see what went on in a proper studio and had promised that her tea making was exemplary in both form and execution. 

We turned up at nine in the morning, I played through what I had in my head, Booth interpreted my air-drumming as appropriately as he could, Andy sat at the back and worked things out on bass and then when I’d done my guitar bits to as proficient a level as I felt able he embellished them very beautifully with some extra parts before accepting some vague pointers from me about some other bits we needed doing in the mean time. I walked out at five that afternoon with a CD of the roughly mixed article in my hand.

We then sent a copy off to keyboard player Tony ‘TT’ Turrell, who has history with all of us in various ways, forms and combinations and he very kindly worked out what we’d done & where we’d left spaces and then filled in what he perceived as the gaps before Andy and I went back to the studio with TNDB to buff it all up in terms of electronically shaving bits off the edges of notes, chopping sections out and making sure the dB levels stayed sufficiently in the red zone for long enough to keep me happy when I looked at the fuzzy lines on the computer in between making cups of Fairtrade tea. 

Andy, not entirely happy with one of his earlier takes, spent a bit more time dive-bombing the whammy bar at home and then mailed it over to the studio before TNDB tidied the whole thing up once again with the diligent application of digital processes on the reverse flange overphase chorus buss and, in all probability, dobly in between moving house, performing child care duties and maintaining his own proliferation of musical projects. Multitasking I think they call it.

So here it is then - you can listen to it now if you like (see link below). Roanna suggested putting in the bit toward the end where there are two bars of a reverse-effect bass figure before the end section, by the way.

The ‘band’ and the track are both named Future State Map.