It’s Just A Ride…

We have now decided to stop recording and start mixing the album. I’m part relieved that most of my job is done, but also I have this creeping feeling that I’ve missed something somewhere, ever since I woke up this morning. A detail that could have somehow done just the right thing for one of the tracks, another voice or guitarpart or a sound effect sample or some crazy idea – but on the other hand I can’t really think of anything. It’s always a matter of compromise when to stop. We’ve always thought of the limit being when we run out of tracks on the tape or channels on the mixing board, but this time we actually have as many as 60 tracks for some of the songs, so you can imagine it’s quite a hassle to clean up and pick the right elements of each individual song. Yesterday we had a little listening party for Bad Afro boss Lars Krogh, cleaning up the tracks, making a last few corrections and discussing different matters concerning the album. We also had quite a few beers, spliffs and recorded some late night freakouts, using a Roland Synthesizer and a Space Echo for some of the more spaced out tracks.

Right now, Anders and good old Ralph are discussing whether to run an acoustic guitar through the Fairchild or a Tubetech, as we have started mixing DOWN TO THE BOTTOM, which I’m thinking could be the opening song for the album. It’s kind of a standard minorchord Woodrose song in the same vein as Let Yourself Go, with a title taken from an old blues lyric and a psychy Farfisa organ riff. I thought I’d better spend the time updating you on the ongoing process, between listening and giving directions, but actually it’s quite nice to just sit here in silence for a change, undergoing a shift from looking at the music from one angle to another, completely different. I mean, when recording I’m so into throwing ideas around, playing the instrument or singing the vocal, putting my best effort into it and trying to imagine where the song could go or inventing it as I go along. Mixing is more about details, listening closely, making decisions, diving into each little element and weeding out what doesn’t work.

As I hinted at last week, we have 11 finished tracks, but I’m thinking more of a final 9 song tracklist, which means that both BUBBLEGUM and LIGHT UP YOUR MIND will be left off the album for B-sides or other purposes. I really like both songs, it’s just that they don’t quite suit the general mood of the album plus there are some really long tracks recorded, so it’s gonna be really hard to fit it all in. There’s a few tracks I havent really told you about yet – one is the 7 minute sitar drenched LOVE LIKE A FLOWER, which I’m thinking we might have to edit a bit as there’s a long meditative outro featuring four different sound effects of rainfall. I mean, I would love to keep it in, but then something else would have to go – but, we’ll see. Another track is IT’S JUST A RIDE, a lyric which is heavily inspired by a Bill Hicks rant. That song is also quite stretched out, with some bubbly lead guitars playing pseudo arabian scales all the way through the song with Elevators style echoplex.

I’m thinking the album should conclude with HONALEE, a 6 minute acid folk ballad with lots of wind chimes and more rainfall effects. The song has an interesting back story. Originally titled The Eschaton, there’s an apocalyptic theme running through three verses of lyric, but some of it was inspired by reading internet chatboard trip reports, which coined the term SWIM (“someone who is not me”) and bits of Terence McKenna isms like “dissolving boundaries” and talk of lucid dreams. However, much later on, the original verse melody was coupled with a different chorus idea that had no verses. They seemed to fit together and counterpoint eachother magically, so the song changed into HONALEE – a title some might recognize as the land where Puff The Magic Dragon lives! But apart from being a reference to sixties pop culture, drug conspiracies, childhood memories and subliminal messages, it’s also relevant on a personal level, because of a crazy story, where a friend of mine underwent hypnosis for the sake of a radio documentary and mind travelled back to his childhood, where he somehow associated me with the song, so it became Guf (long time nickname for me) instead of Puff!

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