Bubblegum

The last week has been pretty exhausting for me. Listening to the final mastering, going back to the studio and making small corrections, listening again, drifting alone in a sea of probable decisions, struggling with last minute doubts, feelings of anal holding on as well as a driven longing for letting it all go, instead of listening to the same songs AGAIN. Too little sleep and too many worries. But the work is done and I honestly don’t feel there’s anything we can do to improve on it.

By now, with cold dark scandinavian january closing in all around me, I wish I could go on a holiday somewhere warm and sunny, but unfortunately my bank account is completely empty, the result of 4 months making the album, which means we just didn’t play as many gigs as we really needed to, financially speaking. I feel tired, but relieved that I will be able to shift my focus to other things the next couple of months.

I’m listening to the final result right now and thought I’d share some general thoughts about it. Soundwise, the closest comparison in my back catalogue is probably Chasing Rainbows or the last Dragontears, but with much more bass (the instrument)  than ever before and also vocals that aren’t as loud in the mix as usual. We’ve also tried to use less elements in the mixes to be able to get a less confusing soundscape.

This was very much a conscious decision – but I guess I’m still learning a little bit every time I make an album, so next time I think I might have an even better idea of how the mixes should interact with the mastering for optimal results, a process that can really be compared to developing a photograph.

When you’re looking through the lens and your finger pushes the button, you might have an idea how it will look eventually, but your level of experience is the key to taking everything into account, light, distance, contrast, etc… These days, possibilities are so many, you can practically go on forever, (hopefully) improving your work in the mastering or digital development. It has to stop somewhere, but in this case I’m not really emotionally finished with it till I hold the actual LP in my hand.

I have never been a fan of bass heavy modern sound, I think 20 years of listening to nothing but 40 year old vinyl has corrupted my ears significantly, something that often causes conflicts with technicians, producers and mastering engineers. Sometimes it seems no one in the music business really cares about analogue sound anymore. A shame really.

Everytime I enter the studio, tape machines haven’t been used or even serviced for years (often since my last visit) while the protools is all updated and ready to go. I’m not even sure how many people are aware of this or how many take it into account when pressing vinyl, but it is actually possible to make a 24bit master for the pressing plant, but as soon as you burn a normal cd with it, you’re gonna have to live with 16 bit, which makes a huge and clearly hearable difference.

Musicwise though, the album is an entirely different matter. I really think I’ve entered some (for me) previously unknown territory – not only with the postpunk sounding WFTW, but also on the stoner heavy Loop type riff of BULLSHIT and the Hawkwind inspired spacerock assault of the title track. Naturally there are a few typical BW tracks that sound like they could have been on any other album by me, but lyrically, my feeling is that this is as good as I can do. Generally I think my lyrics are much more worthwhile and perhaps with more of a message on the recent albums, compared to the earlier stuff.

Today, my local mailman brought me an LP sized package that got me out of bed a bit too early for my general liking – a sealed STONEMINT copy of EVERYTHING’S ARCHIE by The Archies. It only cost me 30 USD including the shipping, but plays like a dream. This LP fulfills a hole in my ever growing sixties bubblegum collection. Next on my “animated rockband” wantlist is THE CATTANOOGA CATS on the Forward label, probably a lot harder to find. I’m pretty sure most people would get surprised if they knew the cheesy stuff I own on vinyl.

My next blogpost will probably be about the artwork for the album. I’m looking forward to hear people’s reactions, as it’s honestly also something a little bit different this time. Very thought provoking and quite appealing to my personal sense of humour. Till then…

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