A quick update from sunny Los Angeles: visa vie the Herculean efforts of one T Lee, drum tracking on 3 songs has been traversed; with ANAISE (pts 1 + 2), MONUMENTS, and ANTI-HERO now all in the fold, and TIBERIUS on deck. And though the art of this sort of recording leaves little to report on (“let’s try that one again, if you please”), I can attest to a number of smashed heads and imploding snares, unlike anything this reporter has ever seen. This includes the fracture of unbreakable sticks, and the death of microphones incapable of handling such concussive effect. To quote Herr Howard, “there is loud, and then there is Tommy.”
So stay with us on this journey, as there are many, many exciting days to come…
No, that is not 3 men sitting around a tribal fire. That would be a snare destroyed by T Lee, the lugs literally disemboweling from within. Sounds like the true definition of heavy drum vibes, no?
I’ve found by experience that when true rockers play, things melt, splinter, shatter; and people cry. Oh yeah: and poseurs perish.
So what are we really doing? Technically speaking, tracking drums against the last of the demos, and which when done will be re-adorned with: guitars, bass, vocals, bird calls, the howling storms of Odin.
Spirit wise we’re having a lot of fun, the stories shared the stuff of legend; rings in the fire narratives. Young man goes into a BLANK and then BLANK and BLANK happens. Which then requires a BLANK to be hired to clean up the BLANK.
Back to this reality we’re knee deep in ANTI-HERO, improving by degrees the songs continuity and storytelling. Which is a tough but pleasing process knowing we’re going the extra mile to bring the urgency required; for isn’t the world sleeping?
“Wait,” says Anonymous AL427, “what if I want to stay asleep? Isn’t that my right?”
Reply: “You mean though your every move is being tracked, cradle to grave, by commercial and technocratic entities?”
“Yeah! But they are my friends! I know because I’ve seen the commercials.”
“Sorry AL,” says multi-dimensional Billy, who embodies every era of his musical 9 lives in some sort of weird, anime time-warp construct. “The rock cannot be stopped.”
“But when you say ‘rock’ BC, that confuses me? Since every song on the new album is not heavy! Heck, one is even disco-like!”
“Buddy, that’s what the kids like. Haven’t you heard? But don’t worry. T Lee’s bringing the real deal upside your brain. Think spinning pentagrams digging into your cerebellum and you’ll get the idea.”
“Whoa, sounds cool, but scary too!”
Hearing that, BC, who is different than Billy, WPC, William, and Zero, patted AL sympathetically on the shoulder. “It is my friend. It is. Just trust you’ll thank us later.”
I begin this post with events of today, which featured what I thought for a moment was a dead baby deer; so inert was this poor creature in the drive. Calling 911 I was told to call 411: “We don’t handle animal emergencies. Click.” And just as the right number was sought the babe staggered to his feet and made his way meekly to the forest. So against that I have no transition; work irrelevant against those small windows of humanity where we mustn’t consider the consequences of doing nothing. Yet it seems possible that this child was abandoned by its mother; for reasons unknown; its story still pending.
Spent the afternoon mainly on the end’s piece of ANAISE, a sort of elegiac coda to what comes before. To Jeff I’d suggest that we each develop our own melodic solo passages without hearing the benefit of the other’s handiwork. And impossibly so our parts fit together! With only a few alterations required; the timings generated unique I thought.
That left 9 songs to sing, and I’d huff through 4: ONE AND ALL, ANTI-HERO, DRUM + FIFE, ANAISE. Tomorrow our last day before the advent of a final series of drum tracking.
Gosh, I wish I had something more interesting to report than ‘did the same thing today as yesterday.’ But it’s true! Hence you might see that making an album is a bit like that groundhog day concept: die, repeat, die, repeat, pro tool.
Reportage-wise the tracks are a blur now, as I’ve laced them all with guitars and the occasional non-techno synth (SP joke alert).
“Hey Bill, did anything funny happen today?”
Bill: “Sure. Jeff and I suggested Howard would be happier if he had a cat sitting in his lap whilst he manned the computer.” Howard said, “that’s probably true.” So now the search is on to find our producer a stuffed plushy toy kitten with an automatic purr function.
And in case your wondering, all this PAWS fame has gone to Mr. Thom and Sammi’s head. They’ve gone from complaining about food every 60 seconds to every 30. Plus they fielded a call from a reality show producer. Unreal.
What else? Lots of bleeps and pops today in amp land, fuses doa’ing. Must be those stars. And that good ‘ol stairway to ‘em.
Looking forward to the eventual reissue of a restored and recompiled MACHINA, work has begun on transfers from the original 24 track tapes, as well as a host of select live shows. The effort will be unprecedented for Smashing Pumpkins et al, as Billy Corgan has indicated plans to put the album not only in it’s original and intended double/triple album sequence, but has designs on commissioning new remixes of all materials as well. The intention he says is clear: to present MACHINA in the original form in which it was written; or in his words, ‘as a theatrical narrative.’
Other possibilities of coalescing the story exist: including the addition of extant materials such acoustic alternates, re-contextualized soundtrack pieces, and use of spoken word to create an immersive experience.”
“I’m also not opposed to asking current artists to participate, singing songs as such on the compositions meant for other character’s voices,” Billy adds. “Finishing what the band started so long ago, and we just didn’t have the strength to end.”
Lots of bassin’ today, as all 9 tracks were covered, and then a continued trawl back through (in the same order) with rhythm guitar. So not much to report other than it’s a bit of an assembly line. The exciting part is within essentially 2 weeks time we’ll have everything set to go: lyrics, arrangements, drums, most guitar parts with only overdubs to write (visa vie guitars and keys).
This means we’re essentially on point to be finished with recording on schedule; a rarity! But that said, the album is leaner than most, with a hyper-focused tautness that feels steeped in some form of modernity; if modernity is progress and not moral decline.
A side line note for amusement: I’m currently mulling the release of a ‘best of’ (which if you heard the stuff you know I’m joshing) of my many demos from 1985-1986; something along the lines of AEGEA; where a limited-edition vinyl edition will do for the right crowd. Guessing, and given the rights issues of what I own outright and isn’t related to others, I’d say there might be 10-15 albums worth of stuff. And there to my surprise on tape 3 of 60 (or so) there was a song idea (long forgotten) called ANALISE. Unfortunately it wasn’t very interesting or would have made for a heck of a story. But there’s plenty of other stuff worth a chuckle or a nod: some goth, some heavy metal, and even some electronic stuff.