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A recording diary - click opera Page 2
February 2010
 
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Wed, Dec. 17th, 2008 01:35 am
A recording diary

To get you in the mood for the next release in the Creation Advent Calendar -- which will take us up to 1991, and my Hippopotamomus album -- I want to give a much more hands-on, unglamourous description of how an album comes to be recorded.



It's easy to get carried away with the sociology, the poetry and the glamour of an album, and forget the fact that recording is work, sometimes boring, repetitive and frustrating work. I've found my diary from 1991 and transcribed the entries dealing with the period -- a couple of weeks in March and April of that year -- when I was at work in the studio, recording Hippopotamomus. It's full of details I'd quite forgotten -- the fact that my brother came into the studio and laid down a spoken-word exegesis of deconstruction, for instance (it was supposed to go at the end of Bluestocking, but got replaced by my French ex reading some Duras).

There'll be a proper Hippopotamomus entry later this week with the songs themselves, the themes and assessments and context. The glamour! But here -- straight from the horse-faced young man's mouth -- are the interestingly boring details of how Hippopotamomus got pieced together, day by day, and how I came home to Cleveland Street and played the mixes to my New Zealand flatmate Vicky. This will be boring for many -- perhaps nobody will read all of it -- but that's kind of the point. It's here (under the cut) to show that being a musician means getting up in the morning and going to work as a musician. Oh, and queuing at Safeway for sandwiches.

Recording diary for Hippopotamomus, 1991Collapse )

52CommentReply

pay_option07
pay_option07
Wed, Dec. 17th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
Missing channel nursing her spots.

Something for you and Hisae to enjoy!

http://www.thestar.com/Food/Recipe/article/554883


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Dec. 17th, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
Recording Stars forever

Hi Nick

I find it interesting you refer to the "work" of recording this album. I remember an entry on your website when you were recording Stars Forever where you sounded almost ecstatic with the joy of it - I had the impression of you isolated, immersed, like an astronaut seeing everything from far distances, and entranced with the beauty of what you were creating.

Was Don't Stop the Night so very different for you? I have to say that I like Stars forever much more...

Wayne


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Dec. 17th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Recording Stars forever

You know, the difference is between studio recording and home recording. Once I started recording at home, I could basically lose myself in the process of work. I've never felt at ease in the kind of relationship where you have ideas and delegate them to an engineer. Or to a band, for that matter. I'm sure some get off on the hierarchical relationship, but it makes me profoundly uneasy, and there's always a huge boredom, as one person works and the rest twiddle their thumbs, do crosswords or drugs or whatever. Working on your own, you're always absorbed in something. And you're not connected to "the engineer" or "the band", but to universals: everybody who'll hear the record, "God", people you've loved, the characters in the songs, people you miss...


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Dec. 17th, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
complan

The first time i came across you was when Douglas gave me a copy of a Happy Family cassette which i'm sure came with a booklet with some of your diaries in it, that was before we met. This is pretty much how i remember making records in those days too, a lot of sitting around, boredom, disatisfaction and waiting for people to do what you wanted them to do. The diet was the same for me in the studio although sometimes i forgot to eat altogether. It always seemed a miracle when a record when a record appeared at the end of it all.
I remember the flat with the Andy Warhol cow wallpaper and you and Vicky arguing like a long married couple though you were not an item. The food yes, you proudly told me once you hadn't left the flat for three or four days and had been living on complan which was a kind of vitamin drink to keep people alive who couldn't eat. It tasted foul.
I think you started home recording around this time because i remember dropping by once and we both tried to play some fuzzy guitar over something you were doing and neither of us could make it work. And wasn't there a pub a few doors down that was always empty?
Kevin


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Dec. 17th, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC)
Re: complan

Ha, Complan? I'd forgotten about that! I'm sure it's true, but the gourmet crew are going to give me an even bigger kicking now for being so puritanical.

My home recording started in 1993, after Vicky had moved back to New Zealand. Her Andy Warhol cow-wallpapered room then became my studio, and I made Timelord there.


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Dec. 17th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
Re: complan

Blimey they still make it. Perhaps you were right all along........

"Complan provides the nourishment you need when you are off colour or recuperating from illness. Complan is absolutely packed with the good stuff you need. It's fortified with 12 essential vitamins and 6 minerals for health and vitality."

K


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poesiaemdegustacao.blogspot.com
poesiaemdegustacao.blogspot.com
Wed, Dec. 17th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)

Interesting. People shoul have a good idea like yours.
i'll glad u visit my page too.


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the_sullz
the_sullz
Sullz
Thu, Dec. 18th, 2008 02:01 am (UTC)

Thank you for posting this. It must be difficult to post an old diary like this, but it's really a fun read for some of your fans like me. I've really been enjoying the Creation Records tracks you've posted so far. There are a lot of tracks I had never heard before. You're giving me the second-best Christmas present I'm likely to get this year (Joemus being the best).


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manwithoutwords
manwithoutwords
Thu, Dec. 18th, 2008 10:25 am (UTC)

This was written at the peak of my fascination with Momus and for the young me the records evoked an existence a million times more exotic and refined than the one described here. I'm not sure that if I had been privy to these details at the time it wouldn't have taken away from the magic of the albums. And I'm not sure that even from this distance it doesn't take the shine off a little to have such complete insights into the conception of these masterpieces (for me they are), but I can't help reading, I want to know. Those first records have always been things of wonder, and now I need wonder no more.
I'm reminded of the excitement of seeing you live for the first time after the release of Hippopotamomus, some dingy club underneath the arches, it seemed an inappropriately unglamorous venue as we entered, but as it transpired it was the perfect setting as you previewed most of the songs from the Ultracomformist that night, will the mysteries of that album be unravelled this advent? For better or worse- I hope so


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Dec. 18th, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)

It is demythologizing, of course it is! But it leaves out the writing, and all the sex that informs the writing. I really wanted to show how boring the actual recording process can be.

The Ultraconformist won't be included in this series, we're just doing the Creation albums.


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manwithoutwords
manwithoutwords
Thu, Dec. 18th, 2008 09:54 pm (UTC)

Well tell us about the sex and the writing then! Ahh go on.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Dec. 21st, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
dear desperate diary

listening with "acceptance merely".being a fellow musician i know that feeling so well as you nervously play people close to you, your work for the first time.im sure your own mind fills in the relevant aesthetic blankety blanks of the song that probably remain obfuscated and a mystery to the listener.the wee nuances get lost etc..how can they ever really be expected to give the reaction you require...impossible.
in my opinion your last four works have somewhat devitalized you early albums.i certainly dont mean diminished their musicality ..just..just . its just your last four are totally out there miles ahead of the(contempory) competition.in many ways because of this youll never be relevant and in time,your innovation is self defeating.
what would momus of today say to the rather cocky,snobbishly opinionated middle class boy who wrote these dairy musings.. i wonder.part expose part self aggrandizing vignettes .its very brave of you to print, very inclusive indeed and great,great reading.maybe a mike alway type "edit"or spin on these would be fun or even the unreliable tour guide(of 2006) fellows interpretation would make fascinating reading also,just a thought.
hope you continue this reevaluation of you albums right up to joemus(your best?).please.!
ps you come across a wee bit patrik batemanesq at times when describing the destitute londoners .im sure you were in character whilst writing.
the lunatic engineer.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Dec. 27th, 2008 07:37 pm (UTC)
Re: dear desperate diary

I also prefer my last 4 albums to anything I did in the 90s and to most of what I did in the 80s. "Self-defeating innovator" is now printed on my business card (though perhaps I should add "and partners", because a lot of the innovation this decade has come from John and Joe).

I think this blog shows I'm still pretty cocky and snobbishly opinionated, alas! And the internet has only made me more impatient in supermarket queues.



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