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It is often said that what we look for in the record-making process takes time. This luxury is something few artists are able to afford themselves but you’ll find no apologies here for us using it to the full. Studio Two at British Grove has become our well-worn playground and the toys that lie within generate warmth, body and soul. The gorgeous API Legacy console on which ‘Tracker’ was mixed (on the monitor section, no EQ, thus avoiding as much circuitry as possible) get a well earned rest whilst the Neve 88R takes over in Studio One. Outboard? The Neves, Broadhurst Gardens and the new addition of the ancient and lovingly restored 4-channel RCA broadcast console and its fearsome microphone amps. Compressors and limiters such as the Fairchild and our ‘warm-as-a-fireplace’ Decca (it’s full of valves!) are still a happy part of the recording chain. None of this is of any use without a good song, material is key and from Mark’s prolific presentations of the songs, the arranging, recording, overdubbing, post-producing, mixing through to mastering, we prefer to take every care and not simply go ahead with the first sound or idea that comes to mind. The first of two ‘band tracking sessions’ took place recently with in-house engineer Martin Hollis at the helm assisted by none other than Rowan McIntosh (yes, son of Robbie) and Poppy Kavanagh. The tea flowed as freely as the performances. We had the luxury of three drum kits set up simultaneously, just to save a little bit of time and to give instant gratification of drum spaces. There was the usual splendid array of basses (only a fraction of which are pictured) and amps and a slightly larger than usual keyboard setup bolstered by various in-DAW bits and bobs which include a wonderfully lush set of soft synths from the boys at UVI in France called Falcon. The Yamaha CS-80 still needs a bit of a tune-up (no mean feat as I can testify having once blown up the power supply trying) but isn’t that part of it’s charm? A Prophet 5, Vox Continental, Wurly, B3, Nord, Roland Juno 60 and very rare Yamaha GS-1 all at the ready. It was great to have band genius Jim Cox over from LA along with Glenn Worf lending his usual sublime basslyness. With Danny and Ianto providing a luxury engine room, what could be nicer? More in January…!

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