Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Limbo Diaries. 7 (Yuri's Dream)

TJ: Another song written last week is ‘Yuri’s Dream’. I’d read an article about the first man in space, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. He rose from humble beginnings to become the first man in space. An uncomfortable celebrity, he had trouble readjusting to the earthbound life. He’d only been weightless for a short while (the flight lasted 108 minutes) but returned a changed man. He hit the bottle. Just before he was about to make his second trip into space (8 years after the first),  he was killed in a routine training flight. I tried to place myself into his dreams, just before that fatal flight. What were his hopes on being heaven-bound again?
We start with a loop and a strum, then our usual three vocals and a ‘comp’. Marcus works in some odd ‘space noises’, and then plays along with a bottleneck and guitar. We develop a slide hook for the chorus, in looking for Ry Cooder we find his brother, Barry! Marcus then just “plays along” and we cut and paste the bits we like, most of it actually. Slide, like pedal steel, is great for loosening up an arrangement. The foundation of a recording is often rigid out of necessity, so it’s nice to blur the edges early.  Only when Marcus busks along on double bass do we realise that we’ve got a ‘Walk On the Wild Side’ kind of groove going. Thanks Lou, from one space cadet to another! We record two passes on the bass and decide that the first one is a ‘keeper’.

MC: After the acoustic was recorded (same as above) I just for some reason heard slide guitar. The guitar in question was my Dan Electro, it’s a copper sunburst, with the action raised up high so I use it just for slide. I saw Mike Henderson playing with Mark Knopfler years ago and he was playing the same guitar so I thought ‘I had to have one’. It was recorded through my PodXt pro on the Vox AC15 with quite a bit of compression and drive for that lovely singing tone.
The double Bass was recorded with a Rhode classic mk1 valve mic through a Joe Meek VC1 pro mic pre with a touch of compression on the way in. I some times use the UAD 1176 for a bit more compression after its recorded if need be with a touch of pultec eq.

TJ: More work on ‘Yuri’s Dream’. Marcus adds some percussion: two shakers and a tambourine, then some orchestral cymbals (strapped between his knees) that announce the choruses. He then routines a string part for the choruses and outro. I play some Duane Eddy style single bass notes on a detuned Telecaster. Marcus is desperate to play kazoo and penny whistle on this one, but keeps failing the audition.

MC: The track sounded great when we brought it up in the morning which is always a nice experience. After a long day of working on a track you can loose sight and sometimes on first listen the next day things that sounded good at the end of the day before aren’t right, not today. I’m going to keep practicing my Kazoo and whistle playing…..I’ll get there.

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