Tuesday, March 25, 2003

New songs then. We've worked on three in the last few weeks. The first week after we finished the demo we decided to have another play of one of my older songs - You should know - which has hung around on the edges all this time without ever being worked out. We added a kind of instrumental section to the verses which, back home when I was trying to work out words, became a a nice, high pitched, dramatic chorus. Playing it together again Pete added some backing vocals and we reversed the quiet verse / loud chorus approach of the demo to make it a little odder and sweeter. It sounds good.

Next we worked on a great song of Andy's which, on first play, came across a bit like an early Blur number. By the time we'd mucked about with it a bit it had acquired a slightly darker hue but retained a big, rolling chorus which would have not have been discarded by even the most discerning of late 80s indie-dance acts. It doesn't have a name yet I don't think. But it's a really good one.

Lastly, a rare day off from work earlier in the month gave me the opportunity to turn a short bit of guitar I've been playing for a while into a whole song - probably the song I've been most pleased with since I wrote Losin My Mind nearly a year ago. I'm really enthusiastic about it; it's kinda Smithsy, Idlewildy - potentially much more of a 'song' than my usual efforts. We only played it together briefly last week. But it's next on the list. Being for once proud of the lyrics, you can read them here...

Thursday, March 13, 2003

The longer you leave it the harder it becomes to write. That's one kind of fact. But another is that the longer you leave it the less is required. Details which might have seemed essential a few weeks ago don't seem to matter so much now. So I don't have to go through every middle eight.

So what have we done this last month or so? We did a demo, which meant I had to re-write some lyrics, having failed to revise the improvised ones I'd come up with when the songs were written. So I did a little but they seem to have acquired meaning without still very much meaning anything at all. Although they don't mean what I might once have thought they would later mean, instead they mean what I was thinking when we wrote the song. They recall that experience, and for me their meaningless doesn't seem to matter so much. It becomes part of the point of the song. Hmm - maybe I try too hard to rationalise my laziness. But if I am attracted to the first take of a guitar line and reluctant to perfect it (which I am, and see no problem with) why do I feel nervous about the words? Because they are words, and I know what words mean, I suppose, whereas notes and chords are alien things which I can strike if I wave my arms frantically in the air. I think. Ah well.

The demo came out really well; recorded fairly quickly, pretty much live and without too much fuss. You can hear the four songs here. We're pleased with them, so pleased that we plan to do some more soon.

This done, there's a strange kind of release. Hearing the recordings back was like readng a letter from a child that you'd released into the world; a letter that told you they were getting on fine. That was one less song to worry about. Or four less, rather.

here's a good link - Agony Andy

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

This week one fifth of Assistant is listening to

1. Blur - Think Tank LP (Their best album in a long time)
2. The Futureheads - 1-2-3-Nul! EP (Terrific art-pop from Sunderland)
3. Har Mar Superstar - Power Lunch (don't know what to say about this)
4. Faust - The Lurcher (incredible Peel session version)
5. Aphex Twin - Bociferous Bouncing Ball (Vic Reeves played it on Desert Island Discs! great)

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Once again I am fillin in details retrospectively, which is not really the way I wanted this diary to be updated but I've been busy lately, so.

Last night (I'm pretending this was really written on the 4th March) we did some more recording. Readers who don't remember any being done in the first place can be reassured by the fact that I never mentioned it. But last week Andy, Pete and Ali recorded two tracks using Ali's fabulous 8-track recorder, and we did two more today. We've been weighing up the idea of going and doing a proper studio demo for a while now but in the end worked out that with Ali's equipment (and considerable talents as a producer) we can get four tracks sorted out during our normal weekly rehearsals. Today certainly seemed to bear that out. I haven't heard the products of last week's session (Bomba and No-one Need Ever Know) yet so I'll just concentrate on what we did today.

Which was basically whizzy, no frills but great-sounding instrumental demos of Losin My Mind and Get Away. We did our thing. Ali bashed away at his drums (at a deafening volume), me and P hacked at our guitars and Andy played all sorts of scattered, brilliant basslines what you can only hear proper once you've recorded it, or you're not thrashing away at your guitar elsewhere in the room at the same time. We did a few basic overdubs, marvelled at the technical wizardry of Ali, and packed up.

And bands spend years in the studio! Next week - vocals and a bit more guitar... then we should be done.