Revisiting old haunts

Rob and I spent the evening at The Mullberry Tavern last night where we saw four pretty awesome bands. I would say the they probably represented a bit of our style in a way. Firegarden are a brilliantly talented rock and prog (and a little grungey sometimes) act that never fail to put out a good set. Then there were two other bands (who’s names passed me by [Baranovich and Modern Day Dukes :Rob]). One did covers of traditional rock tracks whilst the others were more on the punk side. The headliners were the super amazing Hands Off Gretel who put on another dynamite show. So much stage (or lack there of [Tiny, tiny stage. I think Sean’s hair probably reached across it :Rob]) presence and songs that sweep high and low as well as full on power tracks. Lauren’s voice seems to get stronger every time I see them. A brilliant night all in all. I can’t wait to start gigging again!  [I just hope we’re as good as these bands :Rob]

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5/4

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontOf course we would write a track in 5/4. It’s only logical and of course it’s a track about fish. What else would it be about? Pete. It’s Pete’s fault. He’s to blame. Totally and utterly Pete’s fault. And a bloody good idea it was too. The fish theme fitted because of the nursery rhyme that starts 1,2,3,4,5, once I caught I fish alive. But obviously we can’t have anything about life in this track, so it’s got death in it. ‘Send him a death letter’ is Pete’s influence. I also count to five. (Took hours of figuring out and writing.) Then I list five parts of a fish.

This track is really only a filler. The idea was to have a couple of tracks to bridge some gaps. Little fade in/out sections, BUT I think this one works on its own. It’s quirky. It’s random. It’s not in 4/4. It’s in keeping with the album concept/theme. Enough said.

10 missed calls…

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontI Heard You Calling (But Alas I Did Not Answer) is the next track on the list. I love this track for its colour and complexity. It is the track that has had the most work thrown at it but in the end it was certainly worthwhile.  The intro has layer upon layer of vocal harmonies. Some pitch shifted, most with a dollop of reverb mixed into them. The intro is in 13/4 (I think) and is based around a melody/riff (what is the difference?) I came up with. It starts off with clean(ish) guitar and builds till the distorted guitar is prominent, and then everything falls away again leaving just the distorted guitar and an atmospheric phase+reverb background guitar.  The second part, I think was from a bass idea from Pete. This bit is far more aggressive. Like a musical punch to the face. It kick out from the intro and sets things up for the verse. I added a bit of floating trem wobble to this hiding away in the back ground. Next is the verse riff and vocals. The vocals pretty much follow the riff, although the guitars here move to 5ths at different stages. It was tricky to match the pitch towards the end of each line hence the reduction in volume. Next up is a Pete inspired 7/4 section. Kind of dreamy and surreal. There is some phase guitar on here to add to the flavour. Rob did an amazing job with the drums on this section also.  It really feels so screwed together and original. I could quite easily commit to a whole album of this type stuff. I believe Rob recorded his guitar parts after the initial track was committed so he’d be best placed to guide us through that process. The lyrics were started with Pete’s idea (which is also the title) and for a while there was only one verse. The second verse was written when we were firmly in the realm of progressive rock, hence the noticeable tint of poetry (kinda) to them. I’m pretty sure this track has the highest guitar count of any we’ve done to date.

I Heard You Calling is probably the only track on the album which doesn’t have partner. Most others seem to have another track to sit along side it, but this I think sits on its own. Maybe Deep Within The Sea I Sleeps is the closest one to this in terms of direction mainly due to the sounds used. The vocals or concept aren’t really matching. There was a lot of listening to King Crimson around the time we wrote this. Even the guitar effects if bought for this album suited the style. (Analogue is the past AND the future!)

(Skip to the end) Hope you enjoy it. When you eventually hear it. Either free on SoundCloud or purchased from all good online music stores.

So very very close…

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontIt’s nearly time to share the fruits of our labour. The songs we have written. The music we have played. The mistakes and bum notes we’ve recorded. (Find them if you can, like a musical where’s Wally.)

Looking back its quite a mixed bag of songs. Different styles and different approaches. Different influences and different time signatures.  (Sorry. I blame Pete and his prog influence.) Lets look back at the tracks in no particular order, but starting with the first one we commuted to digitalness, Village of Dolls.

How many bass parts is there here? I’m pretty sure we all played at least one. We started writing this based on a news article Rob brought in about a village in Japan where the population had decreased so much that a resident had started to make dolls to replace the people. Simple enough ideas and abstract at the same time (I doubt it would’ve gotten Mr Cowell’s approval). I think this came together pretty quick. We didn’t come up with a structure of parts and instruments and we just chucked stuff at the mic to see what held. The result I think is a little unusual. Starts busy and full and reduces in complexity towards the end. Not a shouty loud song but one that teases you along till the end finally comes. It certainly gave us something to build upon through the coming weeks and inspired us to carry on the ‘hot pot’ approach of writing on the fly for a few tracks. A lovely start to recording Space Cowboys Under the Sea of Japan.

Where’ve we been?

Busy writing and recording, that’s where.  The next album is getting surprisingly close.  We have these songs and are mainly waiting for the polishing phase now:

  • Clementine
  • Corrupted Tranquility
  • Deep Within The Sea It Sleeps
  • Electric Eels
  • Fractions Of A Fish
  • Seahorse With No Name
  • Snow Bones
  • The Noise
  • The Oyster
  • Village Of Dolls

I think we cover rock, prog, hardcore, funk, post-punk, electronica and western with this lot.

Will try and keep you updated…