Behind an unassuming door, on an unassuming suburban street, in ever so leafy Surrey, lies a recording studio. It may not have the glamour of Compass Point in the Bahamas, or the country-house chic of The Manor (now sadly both gone), but Thin Ice Studios has seen the birth of many a prog classic. Arena, Pendragon, Threshold, Galahad - to name but a few - have all plied their trade here. I myself have warbled within these walls on more than one occasion.
And now I’m back again. With good reason…
That ‘difficult second album’ - or as I hope it becomes better known, ‘Honey on the Razor’s Edge’ - has reached that delicate stage where I have to get my arse out from behind a computer and commit some real instruments to hard drive. The arrangements are (more or less) finalised, the bulk of the key parts worked out, and the lyrics written (well, not quite, but there’s still time). So it’s time to bring the beast to life. And for that you need a drummer.
Scott Higham (for it is he) and I go back a fair way. I clocked the first time I heard him play that he’s got feel and finesse way beyond the usual thumper of tubs. He breathed life into my first album, and he’s back, defibrillator at the ready, to do the same for my second. He’s heard the demos and we’ve talked through what I’m trying to achieve, but you never really know what’s going to come out until the red light is on.
I’ll be honest. Drums aren’t my forte. I can programme a basic rhythm for writing purposes, and I ‘know what I like’, but I’m not a natural percussionist. One of Scott’s undeniable talents is to be able to listen to my rough ideas and garbled explanations, and turn them into magic.
Alan’s studio exploits will be regularly updated on the Prog website.