Alan Reed Studio Report Pt. 2

Lots of tidying and editing for Karl first thing, so a relatively lazy start for Scott and I…

After some discussion we feel we’re ready to tackle the centrepiece of the album. A track which spans almost nine minutes and covers a lot of ground in terms of styles and dynamics. The drum programming on the demo is very sparse, working around the 12-string guitar part which is the track’s central spine. I want the drums to do ‘more’ without detracting from what’s quite a delicately balanced piece. We’ve already discussed ‘the big climax’ where we plan to overdub several takes to create a wall of drums. We just have to work out how we get there.

We take it section by section. Experimenting with parts till we find something that has the right balance of simplicity and interest for each one. It’s giving Scott some major brainache. It’s a bright, jazzy feel I’m after, but that’s a lot easier to say than achieve. Some of it’s clearly out of his comfort zone, but I know that’s when he often delivers his best stuff. It’s one thing working out a part. it’s entirely another figuring out how to play it with confidence. Especially as some of it seems ‘back to front’ in terms of which stick goes where.

Karl, tidying and editing...

Karl, tidying and editing... (Image credit: Alan Reed)

It’s slower progress than yesterday, but the track grows steadily with Scott adding a host of little touches and details which enhance it’s dynamic range. Before we know it we’re at the closing section.

On the demo this features a repeated military snare pattern which grows in intensity as the track reaches its climax. ‘Up the stairs to the scaffold’ is how I’d described it. To this end Scott overdubs a number of parts so it sounds like a small army. Then things start to get serious. A further three kits worth of interlocking tom patterns go over the top to create a veritable drum orchestra. Finally a soupcon of tambourine is added for extra flavour!!! It sounds tremendous. Karl observes that it’s going to be a nightmare to edit and mix - but, he says - it’ll be worth it.

Not easy to follow that, so it’s a bit of light percussion work to finish the day. Windchimes, cabasa and even my trusty rainstick all find their moments.

Scott, and his small army...

Scott, and his small army... (Image credit: Alan Reed)