Monday, 2 January 2012
The Limbo Diaries. 8. (Lucky Limbo)
TJ: Can’t get off work. Mad scientist goes solo in lonesome lab shock!
Hang on…all classes cancelled, so I make my tardy way, north to south, across London, to the studio, unknowingly incurring a congestion charge fine as I do!
After a natter and a cream donut (one and a half hours later) we have a listen to ‘Yuri’s Dream’. Marcus has played a great slide motif in the intro/outro sections, and we try doubling it with various ‘music box’ type sounds. They bring the riff out of the mix nicely, a bit of subtle ‘hifi’. We try not to be too gratuitous with them, as we love the sound of the slide. Although the track is now quite ‘big’ with strings etc, we decide to warm the sound with a Hammond part, which works well. Often the Hammond can fight for the same place in the mix as peddle steel, so it’s good to give the organ some space to work in. We hope to get BJ and Melvin in again (they’re part of the MM sound now) but don’t want to be over reliant on that gorgeous instrument.
Next we listen to ‘Lucky Limbo’. Only a pad, a loop and some strummed acoustics but it sounds great. We decide to lose the strum. Marcus picks up his battered Spanish guitar. Of dubious pedigree, it has a neck the width of the Thames, and strings (as old as my underpants) that even I’d be ashamed of. It’s a bugger to play so…he hands it to me! I play along with the track and develop a simple pick. It does sound good, adding to the ‘lullaby’ quality of the song. Marcus then plays along on piano. First take sees quite a dramatic Rachmaninovian approach, Marcus all heroic and windswept. We like the drama of it, but then Mrs Mills, sorry, Marcus, comes up with a lovely 3 note counter part in the chorus. The simplicity of this prodding part sends us down a more modest path; suddenly the song sits comfortably. I think that this is one of Mr Cliffe’s great strengths: the ability to refine his performance, until he’s totally ‘in tune’ with the song. He has the musicality to take it anywhere, but we always seem to end on the same page.
MC: I’ll remember this Friday for a long time. By the time Trev arrived I was in quite a distressed state. I have been going through a separation over recent times and for some reason that morning everything got the better of me. Trevor and I have been close since we started working together, and today he was everything a friend needed to be. After tea, donuts and some TLC, we headed into the studio.
The music just flowed that day; whatever was recorded was from the heart.