Sunday, 24 February 2008

The EBB got together last monday to begin work on the new recordings. We spent two days setting up our collective equipment and began programming parts for the song Soldiers of the Light which some of you will know from live shows last year. For technophiles the screen shot above is of an old Atari system running Cubase. The machine is rock solid and still meets all our our midi sequencing needs. The sequence shown is the first click track for the song Six white horses. Luke spent most of last week working on the drum track and checking with Steve while Art and I played bass and acoustic guitar to assist the programming and check the feel and groove. The first job is to establish the arrangement that we will settle on and the the general speed and groove. We spend quite a long time deciding such things.

Long hours sitting in front of screens refining parts and the feel of the song

After setting up for two days we were amazed that everything worked. We had a few problems after Steve rigged a new patch bay but he quickly sorted things out and we got down to work in earnest. There is always something to adjust after the initial setting up but this was about it. We managed to crash the old Atari computer on only two occasions during the whole week and that was down to me being a bit quick with buttons on our main digital recorder that the Atari is synchronised with. Luke managed his key board and sampler sounds with a cool head and hands. It has been a long time since Luke and I have recorded together so to combine all the equipment with out hassle in one set up, away from our base, was a joy. As we re familiarised ourselves with the process and procedures Steve was quick to begin to get to grips with new technical possibilities and after a day or so we were well under way. Art had a long, knackering wait to put down a bass for real but we got a decent backing track for Soldiers of the Light and a groove for Six White horses which was mixed to a PC and sent as MP3 s to our home computers for evaluation. We will all spend time now working on parts and ideas at home.
Tea is an essential ritual in ebb world

I am sure I didn't play that

What ? ? ?

Me with Art's lovely nylon strung classical guitar. It is very easy to play and has a piezo pick up. It is very much like the guitar I write most of my material on and I expect this instrument will be featured quite often on the finished recordings as we work our way through the new songs .

Last week was a valuable time for us to concentrate on the work but we also spent a lot of the time in discussions and chats about most every thing. We took turns cooking food and stayed up long hours and laughed a lot. It was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to stage two.
Next weekend we will be rehearsing for the show in Bergen at The Garage on the following weekend. It looks like this will be a special night. We have had an invite to return to Athens for a show at the Gagarin in Athens. That was a special night for us and we look forward to a repeat performance. I know every one is shattered after the work last week though happy to have finally made a start.


copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2008

Sunday, 17 February 2008

The above photo was taken some weeks ago and has the colours of my mood and geography of my heart. Well, the days have rolled around and raced by. I can’t believe how long it has been since the last post here. I seem to have been very occupied with other things lately and I must try harder to keep things rolling off the press as it were. Tomorrow, Monday, we begin the next EBB opus of recorded work. It has been a very long time and in terms of continuity it makes my lack of recent posts a small issue indeed. It has been many years since the EBB made Superchip and although we have recorded bits and pieces since then, including some of the material on what I call the pink album, which is the one called the Ones that nearly got away, none of it constituted a new album. Well enough procrastinating the time has come and it looks to be a very interesting project.
We have the songs and we will start on Six White Horses and Soldiers of the light. Steve has been re-organising his music room and making space for Luke’s keyboards and all. He is good at all that and very handy with tools. That is not my particular forte though I am happy with smaller scale productions. I like the kind of “manufacturing / do it your self projects” to fit on my table top. Larger scale projects i.e. building renovation and general carpentry is not my thing. Luke is a bit like me in that respect but does not hold any technology in awe as I do. He does how ever have solid production values and is the one who reminds me of the good bits in my music that would otherwise be lost in the mists of …. well I’ll leave it at mists. I am the one who will oversee the technical operation as far as the new recordings is concerned while Steve has lots of music production skills and we all have clear ideas of how final mixing should be achieved and what are the most important elements. Art will be the realistic and sensible hand on the wheel when we all get lost in the mire of technical problems. He is usually optimistic and can usually bring reason back when it has temporarily gone absent from the proceedings.
On the subject of technology my beloved DAT recorder / player gave up the ghost and finally broke down last week. That was a blow because all of the pre-production mixes and demos Luke and I have made over years are archived on DAT tapes. We have to find another machine to play them on. This means that production of the CD s for the winners of the last blog competition will be further delayed.
It is extraordinary how attached I become to certain bits of equipment and I hate having to buy again what I already had. Still, to be fair the Sony DAT machine had earned it’s keep over and over so it owed me nothing. I have never been disappointed with any thing Sony made. While packing mine and Luke’s equipment ready for the recording at Steve’s, a beloved valve compressor limiter fell over and is also a dead ‘un. So, last week was not a good equipment week. I was a bit upset by this to put it mildly but the weekend was a tonic in more ways than several and it was a time to remember what a very fortunate person I am.

Recently some one told me of a family member who has been using a well known brand of patches to assist with giving up smoking for four years and continues to smoke. I guess there is a message in that somewhere but what is clear is that Pig Business is making a fortune out of the new societal imperative to give up smoking. I guess they will always try to sell what ever they can and find a way to make us buy what we don’t need. It takes about three weeks to give up any thing except love. At least Pig Business has little to do with that area of our lives but it does have a negative impact on the possibility of us all cherishing each other. Some times it is as though their own values are imbedded in the product.

A few of years ago a large UK county Police Authority decided to train police officers for specialist work around child protection and tacking and arresting padeophiles. They trained for two years to facilitate this work and were recently installed in the offices to be used which housed state of the art IT equipment. They are still waiting to start work but every thing is on hold because the authority can not afford to buy the data retrieval software used to check suspects web sites and computers.

If you want to see the marriage of pointless pomp and dreary litany from old men in skirts combined with glorious choral music go to St Paul’s in London for Evening Matins. Nice gaff is St Paul’s and well worth the visit. If there were no great religious buildings and we had to start to build our nations cathedrals I think the resulting works would be extremely underwhelming due to a lack of funding from the people. Recent statements by church leaders and those going back for many years have shown time and time again that the churches are increasingly out of touch with our reality and in particular, the genuine spiritual aspirations of the young.

Here is a story of a small but significant victory. An elderly deaf woman becomes extremely distressed. A local support worker asks appropriate people for assistance. The fear is that unless some thing can be done to help her she will be sectioned and hospitalised. It turns out that she has had concerns for the two dolls that live with her. Her main concern is that she is no longer able to look after them and cater for their needs. A smart social worker listens, sympathises and suggests that she take the dolls away so that they can be properly taken care of. The woman is immediately calm and happy for this to happen. The social worker takes the dolls away. Result. The woman is not sectioned and is happily still safe in her own home. The moral of the tale? Wake up Gordon before it is too late. Stop the exodus of dedicated and able workers from public service and by the way, if Meals on Wheels is to become the standard issue for people in need make sure it provides food you would eat yourself.

That is about it for now. I will take a photographic diary of the upcoming recording sessions and post them from time to time with a short account of progress made.


copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2008

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Dearest Beloved,

Soon after all this time I will be home. I dream of meeting you at the small jetty on the edge of the Wide Meldings. My heart beat races. I am filled with anticipation and longing to see you on the shore, still waiting. How long has it been? When I look in the glass I fear you might not recognise me my love. My age is showing now. In all these long years we lived with out a thought of fading. I am cold. I must see you soon so your sweet love might warm me when we are joined. I am well though exhausted. My tiredness seems of little account when I look around at some of my comrades.
Going as far as the Tanial Spur was a mistake. No one on this expedition believes we were right to go or to do what was done. I am afraid to think of it. We are loaded with fantastic specimens. We have brought back riches of great value and knowledge beyond understanding. Our heads are full of new things that none can comprehend. The ship groans with over load and all are weary.
So many times I have thought of you beneath the star field of Sway. Do you remember when we hand lined for crabs from the jetty as children, when Iceni was young? How I long to climb upon it again and meet my sweet heart once again. I am not who I was when we first set forth. No one here is. We are so changed and some are ill with mental confusion and hearing the voices. How I long to feel the quickness of my youth and to run with you through thunders crack laughing at the lightning dancing at our skipping feet. You serious and concentrated and me laughing, leading, racing through the low-pressure ridges of The Wide Meldings. Do you remember when we paused to hang in the wind and looked down from the beacon upon the stricken phalanxes of the Praetorians? Ah! My love I do not wish to distress you but this expedition has seemed to be the greatest folly. Still if I can but be with you for one more age I will never leave your side and will be restored in your arms and in your bed. I would lie with you for eternity, still and calm in the quiet, just to have you beside me in the dark. When our demons rise we shall hold on together and give to each other, what ever we can for loves sake.
Bam says familiaries talked to him last night telling him terrible lies to make him do dreadful things. He has to be tied during the moons according to custom and for all our sakes. Some of the men are worse and endlessly gabble nonsense with out ever sleeping, so afraid are they of the dark sadness that seems to inveigle it’s way into every one of us and every thing. Many have succumbed from the strain.
I know you must feel the slowing and it is this that will allow our assignation bringing us together again, in time. I swear I will love you forever and never let you go or leave you ever again. Those that cannot support us in our union must find their way with out us. I will not be thwarted in my pursuit of our happiness together unless you should choose other wise. I come to you with much to tell and bearing special things. We will laugh and talk. We will play sweet games all day long until the sun sets. I will hold you safe against the night until dawn when we both shall fall deeply, into a dreamless sleep.

What did I do to have someone like you, fill my love with life?
How did I, somebody like me, get it so right?
What a lovely day, watching children playing feel like I must be dreaming
What did I say to make things go so much my way?
I don't think I'll ever know the answer.

If all goes well with us we shall arrive as dusk falls. Wait for me by the waters edge my love.

Your devoted servant.

copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2008