Archive for August, 2008

Recording starts tomorrow!

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

I’m excited to say I will officially begin recording my new album tomorrow. I am going to put down backing tracks for 3-4 songs, with musicians Matthew Seligman (bass), Kevin Armstrong (guitar), Neil MacColl (guitar), and Liam Genockey (drums.) This will not necessarily be the lineup for the whole album, and I hope to collaborate with several more musicians over the course of the album, but reuniting with good friends like Matthew and Kevin seems like a great place to start.

I have never worked with Neil directly before, but he played on a couple of Eddi Reader songs I love, ‘What You Do With What You’ve Got’ (which I mixed) and ‘Kiteflyer’s Hill.’ One of the songs I’ve written requires an arrangement of two nylons string acoustic guitars so I asked Kevin who he recommended, Neil’s name came up and it makes perfect sense.

Liam has played with both Kevin and Matthew in the past. I was familiar with his work with Robert Wyatt, one of my all-time heroes (never heard Soft Machine’s ‘The Moon In June’? You don’t know what you’re missing!) The pedigree of these two should give my album a good luck charm.

Of the dozen or so songs I have close to completion, these ones are a natural set in terms of the feel. The songs seem to fall into three distinct groups. Which gets me to thinking about novel ways to approach this album…. three EPs that appear sequentially but combine together into one body of work? Oh how I envy writers who can embark on a novel, a collection of short stories, or an entire series. And these days there’s absolutely no reason a musician needs to be constricted to the tired old single/album format. There are so many other possibilities!

So I won’t be recording this album in a single chunk. I think the years of insane hours, all-night sessions and perpetual mixing and remixing are behind me. Many artists/bands have to commit to a contiguous chunk of time to record, due to touring schedules and record label marketing windows. I’m delighted to have that burden off my shoulders, and feel very fortunate. I may take breaks for other projects, or just to step back and clear my head with a little family time or traveling. I have no clear idea of how long it will be before I release anything, or what form it may take. And I’m trying hard not to feel intimidated by the fact it’s something like 15 years since I released a new studio album; or that expectations are extremely high. But I know for sure that it’s going to be a grand adventure.

Watch this space…..

house guests

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Matthew Seligman and Kevin Armstrong came to stay with me for a few days, and we routined some of my new songs.

They sound AMAZING. What a delight to play with old friends. We understand each other so well. And they’ve both kept their chops up over the years, ever since the early days of Local Heroes, Low Noise, and my first and second albums.

When they came onstage with me at the Islington Academy last October, it felt like a reunion. The reaction was so warm and positive, it took me quite by surprise. I’ve played with many backing bands over the years but these two have a unique place in Dolby folklore. We worked over 5 songs and we’re planning to record three of them in early September, with a drummer (as yet undecided.)

Here’s a couple of neat pics of them from the Academy (thanks elekgtricgypsy!) Kevin’s in the specs.