Saturday 27 August 2011

The English Electric Vocal sessions: Part 1

On  the 22nd and 23rd of August 2011, Andy, Greg and I went to record the vocals for English Electric with Rob Aubrey at Aubitt Studio in Southampton.

We managed to get a great amount completed. The initial idea was to concentrate on capturing as many lead vocals as possible and leaving backing vocals until later on. 

The sessions were fast paced and during those two days we have managed to complete not only the lead vocals but also the backing vocals on Swan Hunter, Curator of Butterflies, Leopards, HedgerowEast Coast Racer and Uncle Jack.

We also discussed, planned and tweaked our release schedule. English Electric is going to be a double album and it will be released in two parts. 

The artwork and concept behind Station Masters was fine tuned on our Tuesday morning car journey from Bournemouth to Southampton.

We also spoke about instrumentation for our 'Big Big Thing'- Project (remember that?)

We also discussed how, where and when Big Big Train will play live. Lots of things to consider! 

Greg 'Live blogged' his way through the sessions ( See Big Big Train's Facebook page for the posts) 

We have another vocal session planned for October 2011 and then Nick D'Virgilio will be in the UK at Christmas once again to record more drum parts.

Thursday 11 August 2011

String Driven Thing

Leopards and A Boy In Darkness string session at Regal Lane Studio 09/08/11
BBT with Louis PhilippeThe Covent Garden String Quartet
L to R:
Sue Bowran Violin I, David Longdon, Geraldine Berreen Violin II, Teresa Whipple Viola,
Louis Philippe string arranger, Andy Poole and Abigail Trundle Cello
photograph taken by Ken Brake

Andy and I travelled to London to record The Covent Garden String Quartet at Regal Lane Studio. The string parts were arranged by Louis Philippe (Philippe Auclair) and the session was engineered by Ken Brake

We worked on two songs which will be featured on English Electric. Leopards is straight forward in terms of what it needed string-wise and I knew that Louis would be perfect for the task. A Boy in Darkness is a little more unusual and has been written using an experimental process. It is in three sections:-

In section one, the strings add eerie and unsettling textures. Section two heads off at full gallop. Greg and Nick are pounding away in the rhythm section and Louis has scored some finger knittingly rapid lines for the quartet which they take in their stride. In section three the strings are full and emotional.

It was great fun to record. Louis has written some wonderful arrangements. Despite the length of the session the girls played beautifully with energy and spirit throughout.

I can't wait for you to hear it!

After the session we went into Camden for something to eat and in the evening sunshine sitting outside the Spread Eagle, it was business as usual. Londoners carrying on.