Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gavin's birthday EP, Sludgefeast, etc.

I haven't done this before. So bear with me. If you go here: you can listen to three tracks that me and Chris recorded in our nifty little "home studio" last Saturday. Recording with Garageband is really impressive if you ask me, fairly clear sounding, nice effects, etc.

They're not in the right order either, but anyway

1 Rotating futures (Helium Voice mix) - yes, that' s me with the helium voice treatment. You don't want to use effects like these too often, haha, but it works a treat. The lyrics sound kinda like I want them to sound, over the top, creepy, with an added layer of alien sweetness. I like the hushed barely audible first-take vocals layer grounding it underneath. Whenever we record , on at least one or two tracks we end up using two or even three vocal layers, and quite a few effects, reverb, etc. I dunno, I like hiding in these effects and layers, it works for me, and I don't want the lyrics to be too clear. The lyrics here are from a notebook entry where I'm reflecting on something ou might want to call Retro-futurism or something like that, scribbling down thoughts and impressions while simultaneously watching old and new sci fi movies. I use the same entry and another one in the last song, they're at least partly about an environmental conscience that was missing at the time the future was imagined in this old sci fi stuff but is overhanging it now, all these kitschy, now slightly rusty and outmoded looking utopias that have contributed to an environment and a way of living that is basically unsustainable for much longer, and generally a reflection on shifting times and shifting perceptions of the future. I used these notebook entries for this blogpost (some of the "helium voiced" lyrics from "Rotating futures" are found here, and I like the way the text is recorded, slightly warped, out of kilter, unsettling and pseudo-cute) and also as a brainstorming, kinda stream of consciousness exercise for this experimental science fiction novel I've started writing a while ago (it's gonna take a while before that is ever finished...)

2. Flickering Curtain

3. Walking the foodmiles. This is probably my favourite of the three. A weird, warped pop song about "trashing the planet like an old hotel room of the past" . I want to use that title for stuff in the "future".

So since this was Gavins birthday weekend, the EP is dedicated to him, happy birthday, Gavin!
After we finished recording for the day we ate and headed out to the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town to see Sludgefeast and Winners (and missed three other bands before them) . I didn't really know that Winners consist of three (out of four) ex-members of Do Me Bad Things, and you can still hear a certain exuberance and willingness to rock that is vaguely reminiscent of the DMBTs but there is also a more leftfield indie/powerpop thing going on, I hear Pavement and my beloved Superdrag in quite a few of the songs. Explains why Tom (ex-DMBTs drummer) told me the next Do Me Bad Things album would "sound like Pavement". That sounded so incongruous at the time, and alas, it wasn't to be as the DMBTs imploded soon after but I see how this has been channeled into the Winners project. A winner in my book.

Sludgefeast: short, mostly one - to - two minute songs, um, limited vocabulary ("mf come on"), superheavy riffs, shades and in James' case a fake American accent and big hair. Excellent live band. The night before I saw them play a completely different set (reunited with former band mate Andy for one night only), I've got the setlist for that, 25 songs in 25 minutes (they wanted to do it in 20 minutes and even had a member of the audience measure the time on a stopwatch), it's got titles like "Andy's No 7" and "James No 44" indicating the vast catalogue of (very short) songs at their disposal. Also on the bill were (more Nu-Pavement!) Four or Five Magicians and a rapturously received show by early nineties indie rockers Done Lying Down (well, I didn't actually know them and I even thought they were over from the States since their singer is American, but the gig was great, people loved it and it just rocked, very good!). ..So... at the Bull and Gate I'm wearing my black "80s hairmetal" wig and shades which is really the best way to see a Sludgefeast show, you don't want to see too much anyway, just dive into the heavy, dark sound... James lets Vanessa who is naturally at the front of the action play a few chords on his guitar and later Gavin gets a birthday cake handed from the stage. And the big surprise happens in the end when James replaces everyone in the band with a bandmember from each of the other bands to play a Sludgefeast tune and, you know, to be Sludgefeast for one number, and ... it worked! Really great evening! Happy birthday! I want to see Sludgefeast in the Netherlands now (where they have a booking agent!)!

1 comment:

Gavin said...

That was a fantastic birthday present & a fun night. Thanks very much.