From Ocean To Sky” was written when I’d been reading a lot on Pythagoras’ discoveries of the mathematics of music and the mathematical foundations of Da Vinci’s paintings. I’ve always wished I could draw or paint. The long outro didn’t work as I’d hoped; the first take had some screaming feedback guitar for the last 45 seconds which the engineer’s son accidentally taped over when he was pissed. Ah well. Vox are Bruce and Alison, quad-tracked harmonies so there’s never a breathing space in the vocal lines; violin by Naomi Cooper. Guitars and keyboards by Bruce.
Found another song lurking on a dusty cassette – that never got recorded in a studio because I never managed full lyrics – " Then you Come Down". It was made on a rainy Sunday; the tune came into my head, the scratchpad words while working out the chords, and the demo was made in an hour: headphones on, quickly plug a mic into the Fostex 4-track, point mic at guitar and subsequently at mouth, and you’re done.
The analog 4-track is still a great machine; sure, I’ve got 256 audio tracks at 9 gazillion bits/ second sampling rate on the computer, no tape-hiss, but by the time you’ve got everything set up, you’ve forgotten the song.. The Fotex really is plug-and-play.
The Lucies’ first ever attempt at recording. Shez on bass; Andy Cope on drums, me on guitars and vocals. Mark Ponsford guested on piano. I wrote it about getting to know a girlfriend at the time, and spending ages in conversation through most of a summer but somehow not really managing to say what we felt.
This song was written on Koh Samui island, Thailand, at the start of the monsoon. It’s supposed to be like a meditation to concentrate on the moment. Alison and Bruce sing vocals, Alan Wrightson wrote and played the sitar part, Bruce plays guitar.
So, we were both sitting there sadly having yet another end-of-romance post-mortem, and she said ‘When we were “in love”’, making little quote marks with her fingers. And that one hurt; not the love fucked up, but the denial that it had actually been real. What’s the point of hurt if it can’t be transmogrified into bitterness and then made into a song, hey?
Tidying up, found an old cassette tape containing some old songs that I’d forgotten writing. These were doodles done with a Fostex 4 track home studio, a machine which played one side only of a normal cassette tape, thereby getting 4 tracks (the 2 sides’ left and right stereo tracks make 4, you see) then you mix them out and record them on another cassette. Great for testing ideas, harmonies etc before presenting them to the band.. or forgetting them entirely.
Here’s a 3-chord wonder, that Shez added bass to after I’d done the rhythm guitar and vocal line. I remember getting drunk and coming back home, plugging in the guitar and doing the guitar solo here with no planning in one take, oblivious of the overdriving of the amp or clipping the sound through the mixer. You may well say it sounds like what it is – a drunkard with no rehearsal; to me, I love the sheer nastiness of the solo that reflects the lyrics, ostensibly a celebration of the current girlfriend – but really a petulant thumbing of the nose at a previous romantic partner. Heh.
Here’s a solemn warning against drum machines, over-enthusiasm on guitar and making up lyrics in the studio after beer and amphetamines. A band composition: Andy Cope/ me / Nick Sherrard / Shez, called “Nothing Of This” because I liked the painting by Ernst.