Thursday, 23 April 2009
Where there's prog there's brass
The first of a number of videos on the making of our new album, The Underfall Yard, can be found here. This short film is about the recording of the brass session for the album and, if you have a fast enough internet connection, is best watched in high definition.
One beautiful summer's day, a couple of years back, I was in Bath, near the Parade Gardens, when I heard the stirring sound of an English brass band. I can't remember what they were playing, but it was a slow piece, and this extraordinary, melancholy music filled the gardens where children played and old men slept in deck chairs. At that moment, I realised that Big Big Train needed a brass band.
We commissioned Dave Desmond to to write some arrangements for a brass quartet and recorded a session with Dave (trombone), Nick Stones (french horn), Rich Evans (cornet)and Jon Truscott (tuba) a couple of weeks ago. It was a very enjoyable session which captured the sound that I had heard on that summer's day in Bath.
The video contains music from three tracks on the album, Evening Star, The Underfall Yard (which builds on themes established in Evening Star), and Victorian Brickwork.
Next month, there will be a second video featuring the first vocal sessions.
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Thanks for letting me hear the demos Greg. I've always loved the band but this is easily your best work.
The Underfall Yard title track is going to have the prog heads wetting themsleves. The use and effect of the brass band is quite unexpected. If I had to describe the song I'd have to relate it to a very modern take on Supers Ready. The most obvious similarities are it's epic scale, the very Englishness of the sound, the many changes in mood and tempo, and the wonderfully, triumphant closing section. It's absolutely inspiring.
The very best thing about the album is the fact it relates so well to retro 70's prog but not at all in a predictable way. If Genesis had continued to develop the genre after the Lamb, they may well have made an album as good as this one.
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