As you know today is May the 4th. I grew up on Star Wars. I saw “A New Hope” when it came out in 1977 at The Tivoli with my dad. We pretended that our Austin Allegro was an X-Wing Fighter on our way home.
Empire was sold out when we went to see it in Bournemouth so we went to see Superman 2 instead. I saw Empire on VHS after Jedi. I saw Jedi in the Bournemouth Odeon. I was so excited I was sick on my chair in the cinema and moved a few rows back.
I’m notionally an adult now, but I still have a space in my heart for these three films. So much so that I wrote a song about an aspect of each of them. If I was to assign a genre to them it would be space country music from a galaxy far far away.
Burning Under Desert Suns is a song from Uncle Owen’s point of view when he discovers that Luke has left early one morning with C3P0 & R2D2. Uncle Owen tried to bring Luke up as a farmer but that was not to be.
Now Is Not The Time is a song about Han & Leia’s kiss on Bespin prior to his carbon freezing. What a moment.
With My Own Eyes is about Vader & his relationship with Luke. It was pretty complicated & Vader was not the best dad in the galaxy but he made up with Luke in the end.
I recorded these songs on Tatooine, Bespin & the Death Star respectively & they were kindly mixed by Ian Carter on Hoth.
On Southwark Park Road there is a pawn shop called ‘Captain Pawn’
There is a guardian at the threshold.
A T800. My my; Cyberdyne systems do get around. I was unaware that shops on Southwark Park Road needed this degree of security.
Terminator & Terminator 2 are a couple of my favourite films. In the 80s cinema trailers on VHS rentals would be watched & rewatched sometimes more than the films themselves & T1 was one of those.
A fantastic example of tech-noir, T1 stands up to watching even now. I saw T2 when it came out in a cinema in Leicester Square regions & it is one of those sequels which may possibly be better than the original.
I have a copy of the directors cut of T2 on DVD which is a compelling argument for not giving directors everything they want.
T3 & Terminator-Salvation are passable, but not in the same league as the James Cameron directed films. I await Genysis with interest….
I wrote a country song from the point of view of the T1000. As you do…
I love folklore & have a goodly library on the subject.
A book I have been perusing recently is called “The Chime Child” by Ruth L. Tongue
This little gem is a collection of songs collected by the author in the 19th & early 20th century in her native Somerset. Ruth was a Chime Child, born in the Chime Hours between Friday midnight & Saturday daybreak.
As the old verse goes:
“They that be born on a Friday’s chime
Be masters of musick & finders of rhyme,
& every beast will do what they say
& every herb that do grow in the clay,
They do see what they see & they hear what they hear,
But they never do tell in a hundred year.”
I was captivated by the story & wrote a song about this particular brand of cunning folk.
I plan to record this with my band, GentleFolk, later on this year as part of a piece about magic & cunning journeys through England.
I probably shouldn’t mention this, but I was born in the Chime Hours….
I love film, particularly science fiction & horror. So it’s only natural that Alien is one of my favourite films. Jonesey is the ship’s cat in the film whom Ripley rescues from the monster.
For those of you who don’t know the film, it is about a ship responding to what it thinks is a distress call when it isn’t, a terrible monster & treachery in an enclosed place. Naturally I wrote a song about it.
GentleFolk have been going for 10 months or so now & it’s been really good fun. We are starting to get very comfortable with our repertoire & we have a good run of shows coming up over the next few months. So recording beckons. One of my jobs in music is producing so I have been mulling how to approach recording a GentleFolk record for almost as long as the band has been playing together. Being a folk outfit, it’s always been the plan to record the record live, it’s been more about what aspect of the performance I want to feel the most.
One of things I really like about GentleFolk is the warmth of the chemistry of the performance: we are a friendly bunch & I want that to come across. I want there to an intimacy, a sense of closeness, which to an extent is the ambience of the room which we record in. I also want there to be a real sense of relaxed free confidence in the performance, so I need a place where I have recorded before & am really familiar with. As I am singing & playing & well as producing I need an engineer to do the recording & work the desk.
I have booked a place called Sugar Cane Studios in Wandsworth. It used to be called Raezor. I’ve used it a lot so I am very relaxed there. It has a great desk. It’s an SSL E series, made by Solid State Logic in the 80s. SSL started off as a company making components for church organs before moving into recording equipment. This particular desk is very friendly & warm. Because we won’t be using tape, I would like to find ways of injecting character onto the signal & this desk & the UREI compressors should help considerably. The recording room is carpet-lined so is nice & dead, it’s also really relaxing. The microphone collection is fit for purpose; I’m pretty conservative in my mic preferences so U87s & 414s will cover the bases supplemented by my KM184s. I don’t want acoustic separation between performers so we need to look at how we position ourselves & the microphones to get the balance. Balance in the room will be key. To a large extent that comes from planning in advance, having a really good bead on the instrumentations of each tune so we can adjust where we sit accordingly. The engineer is called Even & he is really steady & nice.
The piece we are recording is called “Into The Greenwood” & is performed as a continuous 30 minute song & story cycle (spot the fan of prog.) It may not be possible to record this in the studio as there are instrument changes which need different balances; so we may need to record the songs out of sequence & then join them up afterwards at mastering.
The key thing to the session is that everybody feels great going into it. That involves putting the focus on the fun & the challenge of going into a studio to record music you love. Being well rehearsed is key: in my opinion studios are there to capture the best of you not to effect a rescue! We are going in in March & we are already at the right level so it’s a matter of continuing to enjoy the pieces & honing the little corners until you feel happy.
Good food in the studio is key. Fruit bowl, salad, lovely breads, hummus & stew are on the agenda. There is an excellent pub around the corner.
I think I got it covered.
Now all I have to do is not accidentally write a whole raft of new material before March.
Like the song I wrote last week about the Chime Child.