We're currently in the studio, mixing the fruits of our labours into what will hopefully be a very enjoyable and interesting album.
The songs have been through a number of phases: firstly, tiny unformed ideas, captured on a mini-disc player, then the construction stage, where I try to get a group of ideas into the foundations of a song which is recorded as a demo, which then evolves into a work in progress as drums, bass, voclas and other parts are developed and recorded. Finally, when nothing more of value can be changed or added, it is time to mix.
Mixing is a very skilled and painstaking job. At this stage all of our creative work, broken down into its various elements, is exposed to the scrutiny of a fresh and highly trained set of ears. Generally speaking, we'll sit in the background while Rob Aubrey works on Pro-Tools. This is detailed work: Rob may spend an hour sorting out, for example, the reverb setting on an individual floor tom.
Occasionally we'll get to a section where Rob expresses reservations about what we're trying to achieve. In Pick Up If You're There, for example, there is a short section with a bit of a Steely Dan / Van Der Graaf influence, where a number of different instruments seem to be doing there own things. Rob heard this bit, turned around and said:
'It's a fucking mess.'
'It needs some careful mixing' I ventured.
'It's a fucking mess' he said.
Our involvement becomes more crucial as the mix gets closer to the final version. After agreeing on a mix, the recordings are taken away and listened to in various environments before final changes are made.
The pictures show Rob and Andy at yesterday's mixing session.