When I came to the point of realizing this record I was wedging a bargain with my thoughts in between “What on Earth was I thinking when getting myself into this” and self satisfying smirk that yells with “OOOH,YEEEEEAAAAAH”.
Start was a smooth ride, laid down the tracks in the simple arrangements and send them to the guest artists, basically I wanted to go with the flow of the classic jazz records as far as the recording sessions were concerned, meaning I’d record first takes trying to keep the essence of the experience from every artist.
The trick for me here was not to allow any of the artists to hear the takes of each other so they wouldn’t be influenced by anything else but the basic arrangement.
From the beginning I picked my partners in crime carefully and diligently waited until each had the right feel for the moment, this provided some of the more memorable moments of my life.
Besides working with John Kakiay and Nenad Radosavljevic aka Ned both of whom you know from “Coming of the light” there are few extra interesting guest appearances.
Let me start of with Praful,
After getting in touch with Praful through mySpace I had a chance to meet him on one of his gigs, we talked extensively and what a great guy he is, we clicked and few weeks later one evening at the early hours as I was about to check my mail one more time before shutting the computer down, I received first takes from Praful, WHOOOA !!! I listened to that super funky flute he sent me that you can hear on “Oh my love” and was instantly blown away, literally and figuratively, so I sent him a reply immediately and guess what, he was still there, recording. As the night progressed I was receiving more and more files as we were chatting, “this man is a genius” I thought “he’s just pouring that stuff out”, and then a miracle, he sent me sax tracks for the “One more day” I’m sure you will agree, that lick on the chorus is a thing of beauty !
Very soon after that a good friend and great guitar and cavaquinho player Nelson Latif from Brazil came by to lay down some takes, basically we wanted to record some Latin flavored guitars and some cavaquinho in “Choro” style for what he is so famous for, what happened during that afternoon was beautiful and so true to the Brazilian spirit of his, as we finished with lunch he started playing on pots and pans in my kitchen, man I just had to have some of that raw flavor, we recorded that on track “Love is the way”.
Just about the same time a week or two later another good friend Emil Kunto an accordionist from “Mala Vita” had a free slot and he complemented that very same track ever so beautifully with some intricate Balkan melodies with a touch of Tango.
Speaking of Balkan, I have an immense pleasure of knowing one of the most amazing jazz guitar players, Milos Dimitrijevic, who was there to give me sound advice and help me out with improving my skills every time I got stuck, his solo on “You & Me” is so smooth lyrical experience that breathes with simplicity and sophistication.
Since I’m hooked to that warm and Latin feel, I couldn’t have done some of the tracks without the input of Randy Winterdal a man with whom I had some of the most interesting musical conversations over the years, funny enough he was working on his 2nd CD at the time “Alma di mi tera” this naturally led to more musical conversations and was great to share the experiences we build up since our last collaboration, I always have good laugh with this guy, at one point during the session he detuned “E” on his 4 string bass to a low “B” on “The other way around” and we started cracking cause it was as if he was playing on rubber, but laughs aside his sound and groove are exquisite as always.
Somewhere in this period another great bass player RenÃ© Dissel had some spare time and this was a day to remember.
I met RenÃ© few years ago when recording some sessions in Amsterdam, I just couldn’t stop enjoying playing with this man, he’s so funky, raw and sophisticated at the same time. I knew instantly he’d be someone I had to collaborate with in future, so as I was writing my preliminary arrangements I had him in mind. He listened to the arrangements in the car on his way to recording session, came at “Silence Studio” and recorded 5 tracks in record time, just as we were to wrap up I noticed that he brought a bow with his upright bass so I asked him if he would play one more take on “Under the Sun” with a bowed bass, geee, that take was a pure magic if you ask me, you will hear RenÃ© gasping with relief and satisfaction at the end of that track.
Just as the luck would have it somewhere in the summer I received a call from Elliott Randall, with whom I had only pleasure to communicate through internet until then. Elliott was in Amsterdam for a Sound Engineers convention and wanted to meet up, things that happened that day… This man is a true legend and he was so kind to make my acquaintance with some of the worlds most renowned sound engineers and producers, soon before I knew it I was sitting with Geoff Emerick and was having one of the more interesting conversations of my life, as our conversation finished Elliott introduced me to Wes Maebe we talked a bit and in midst of our conversation he stopped and commented “aah the Tears for fears” I looked at him stupefied and tried to distinguish the track in that clutter of noise in the room, and after about 10-15 sec I heard it as well, I looked at him again and thought “this guy has to master my record when I’m done he’s got the ears of an elephant.”
As the afternoon progressed and event was coming to an end, Elliott and me took a short straw around Amsterdam and I asked him if he was interested in collaboration, explained him the basic concept and he was quite enthusiastic about it what made me feel in heaven. As he went back home I sent him the basic arrangements and very soon I received the musical response for “Move, Time won’t stop” and “Conurbation”. What can you say about Elliott’s guitar playing that hasn’t been said already, he’s simply GREAT, and I feel very privileged to have had a chance to collaborate with him.
Now, all I desperately needed were female backing vocals, but I had no more time, record had to be finished, I needed someone who’d be able to nail it in a crunch time, but I didn’t know anyone, luckily my friend Emil came through once again, he happened to know these lovely three Caribbean sirens. Indira, Deborah & Nadine walked at Ned’s “Silence Studio” after a few days of prep and sang it perfectly, they did exactly what I was hoping for.
I was done !
Well with recording that is 🙂 now I had to edit the whole and then mix it down…
SO, I opened up sessions, imported corresponding tracks, pressed play and instantly started hating myself, now for the very first time I realized the amount of work in front of me. Every track was going each and every way and I had to make sense of it all, bring it to life as if everyone played together for years. My gut feeling was telling me that I’m on the right track but the problem seemed as a steep mountain to climb. I took a deep breath and dived into the unknown, after I was done with the third track I changed my tune and thought this is the way to go, suddenly the whole started making perfect sense and things just started to fill each other, I could distinguish all the intricate details I needed and place them where I wanted.
Two months went by and I was done with editing and mixing.
It was time for mastering 🙂
Remember Wes Maebe, well I still was. Called the man and sat up a mastering session GHQ Sonic Cuisine. Meeting with him in London just made that positive vibe take a firm root. We spent a great afternoon and he pulled the best of analogue and digital worlds, to get that specific sound of this record. After we were done we jumped for a cup of tea at Elliott’s place to share and brag a bit while anxiously looking at his face to hear his judgement. He was all positive that made a huge burden fall from my chest, cause last thing I wanted was that Elliott Randall and other artists feel uncomfortable for putting their trust in me.
I hope you will enjoy this record and have many memorable moments in life with it as I had making it!