It’s been a while since I was involved in any recording as a collaborator ‘ full-time member – I did a mixed bag of recording at the tail end of last year as a session musician / bumper / hired hand, but that’s rather different.
Sunday, however, saw vital foundations being laid for the next Kindred Spirit recording (or six tracks of it – it is increasingly likely that this will be about half of a full-length album with the rest being not only recorded later but currently mostly unwritten!) at Skyline Studios in Ashford, Surrey.
The main priority was getting Les Binks’ drum parts recorded (hence why in the above photo he is out of sight in the live room to the right, with Elaine, myself and engineer Jez Larder crammed into the control room).
But even with a click track, drum parts are pointlessly hard to record in isolation. So the band were there to play the songs and record guide tracks to help us navigate the tracks when we come to overdub our parts (and, in my case, some overdubs born of my relentless arranging itch) for real.
The observant will notice that even with drums out of shot, some of a five-piece band seem to be missing. Cat Cooper is still recovering from surgery on ill-mannered wisdom teeth; Mike Hislop had been laid low by one of the many strains of flu that have been rampaging this winter. This left Elaine (thankfully!) and myself to try and sketch out enough vocals, guitar and lead line framework to let Les and, later, the rest of us navigate six tracks – roughly, two straightforward pop-type songs, one issue-driven classic heartfelt anthem, and three deliberately prog journeys.
One of the particularly interesting bits for me (which hadn’t been done recording with The Filthy Spectacula in the past) was Les’s willingness to do one take as a trio, and then keep mine and Elaine’s guide parts from that, plus click, and amend or even entirely redo his drum parts with those in his ears – a slightly paradoxical-seeming situation of the drum parts, which will be followed by everyone else, following the guide track. On one track, which had had less rehearsal and possesses a particular diversity of time signatures, speeds and moods, Elaine and I recorded a ‘sketch’ track to the click and Les then experimented with drum parts from there.
My overdubs (electric violin, acoustic violin, viola and mandolin, sometimes multiple parts and double-tracked!) will hopefully be done on two Fridays next month. Also to do: flute, upper saxes and backing vocals (Cat); bass guitar and double bass (Mike); guest cello and perhaps baritone sax (Stevie); and a choir! Going to be epic.