Friday, 17 July 2009

Studio Log: Day One

Y'know it always used to confuse me as to why albums took so long to record – and I'm not sure that I know the answer even now! But I would read in the music press how bands like Yes, Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys and even The Beatles would spend literally months shut away from the world in the murky depths of Abbey Road or somewhere similar in order to record around 45 minutes of music... and I thought, 'What are they doing with all that time?'

My own studio experiences, of course, are a lot more modest. A lot of my books come with CDs and, in general, they all took between one to two days of studio time to finish. However, my first all-music CD 'Nocturnal' took over a year. It seems that when creativity comes a-calling, something weird happens to one's own personal space-time continuum.

Naturally, I wasn't in the studio every day for a year; all-in-all I would suspect that there were around 14 sessions during that time and it was my work schedule and, I must confess, a certain scant regard for self-discipline that drew the whole process out. I made the album in what was essentially my 'spare time' you see... I really do work better when someone gives me a deadline!

So when it came down to making another album, I told myself that it wouldn't take anywhere near as long. I couldn't tell you how we spent all those days working on 'Nocturnal' and so, in order to make sure that every session on its sequel – 'Arboretum' – is accounted for, I thought I'd keep a log.

So 'day one' was yesterday and both myself and my engineer/co-producer Martin Holmes knew in advance that we wouldn't get any actual recording done. Yesterday's mission was merely to mic up my new Fylde Falstaff acoustic to see how it recorded, generally talk things through about how we were going to project-manage the album – and drink tea.

We ticked all the boxes; the Falstaff sounds lovely with just three mics on her and the snippets of new material I played in order to reach that conclusion sound good, too. The main obstacle I face now is to get rid of a bit of what I suspect is tendonitis in my right wrist – and the only way to do that is by resting and not practising like crazy like I ought to be. So 'day two' is already an unspecified date at some point in the future.

I'll keep you posted!

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