They’ll be included in the Mute boxset which will be coming out this year.
Just before Christmas, we finished working on our remix for “That’s Thrift” which should be coming out sometime in February, I think. It was another 8-bit piece, in the same style as the remix we did for Tim Burgess earlier in the year. It gave us a little break from the album- and I found a way in doing it to mix the Vox organ with an 8-bit arrangement and not have it clash, which was something new again.
I’d been working a bit too long on the recording of a new Looper song called “Let it Go” before starting the remix, and it gave me some much-needed distance from that. It fell into place quite easily when I returned to it.
Since then, I’ve mostly been arranging and recording a spoken word piece called “Off-Grid: Off-Line” which has become quite central to the album. Initially it was called “The Fall of Elliot Grey”, but it’s developed a little bit in the working, and the full version is eight and a half minutes long. It was a tricky job arranging a minimalist set up of just piano, cello, double bass and shaker for such a long piece; trying to keep it interesting, but I’m happy with it now.
At the moment, I’m thinking it very well might up as the title track. Musically, it brings a lot of the melodic motifs from the album together, and it’s really awakened my interest in spoken word again. Its certainly the longest Looper song we’ve ever recorded. Hopefully, the rest will all just fall into place now…
Thankyou very much. Working on this new spoken word piece has felt a bit like a homecoming- and made me realize I’ve been neglecting something.
Hopefully more will follow… Thanks for the kind words.
Do you find the words hard to hear on those recordings? Im always so uncomfortable about the voice that I think they sound way too loud.
Thanks, Michael. Your message is really appreciated. I’ve always done the spoken word pieces on a sort of faith-in-other-people’s-opinion basis, because I’m so uncomfortable about them. So it’s always a great help to get some feedback on them.
With most of the new album falling into place now, I’ve been starting to get the feeling that there’s something kind of light-headed about the whole thing, that it doesn’t feel properly anchored as a work overall. I’d been concentrating so much on making it as melodic as it could be, that it started to feel that it might just float away.
For a while I couldn’t really work out why, then I was going through some old files and found a longish poem I’d written a while ago, and it occurred to me that Looper albums were never really all songs in the past- the spoken word pieces used to always play a big part in the picture.
I think I’ve always been uncomfortable about the spoken word pieces. When I was growing up there were some spoken word songs I was a big fan of- “Coney Island” by Van Morrison, “The House at the Top Of The World” by Bob Geldof, “Coney Island Baby” by Lou Reed, “Brownsville Girl” by Bob Dylan… It seemed like a great form if you had the right voice for it, Irish or American; out of the question otherwise.
Then I heard Arab Strap…
Then Stuart Murdoch took the singing off of Century of Fakers and asked me to tell a story on top of it…
Then I made my own band to explore it further…
And I still felt uncomfortable about it. By the time of The Snare album I’d tried to dispense with the spoken word pieces altogether. In retrospect, they might have added some light to the weight to that album. I brought them back again for the MP3 EPS and finally felt I’d made something of the form with The Spiderman and Pale Blue Etype.
I don’t really know why I’d been trying to leave them off of this new album. In a way, they sometimes feel like cheating, not like real songs. But finding this long poem, “The Fall of Elliot Gray”, made me realise that if I could arrange a good piano piece to accompany it, based on the recurring melodic theme of “Our Own Way Home” (the theme that first shows up in our little Intro Song) then it could make a great centre piece for the album, and tie the whole thing down.
That’s what I’m working on at the moment. Hopefully it’ll pay off…
You can have a listen to the first Looper single from the new album on Beats Per Minute today:
We hope you enjoy it!
It was lovely for us to get such a warm response to the little intro song from the new album we put online a few weeks ago, especially after us having been away for so long. Interesting too to watch how word of things spread now. The last time we put new material out there was no Facebook, no Twitter. No tumblr. Not even any Youtube.
It’s pretty good fun now.
So I think we’ll try putting the song we’ve been thinking about making the first single from the album online next week, to see what people think of it. We’ll probably put it on Soundcloud. It’s called “Oh, Skinny Legs”, and a version of it already featured in a play at The Arches in Glasgow called, “If These Spasms Could Speak”, in a different form, a variety of arrangements done by Scott Twynholm.
I’ll put in online next monday; 08/10/2012- or 10/08/2012 if you’re American.
Watch out for the link on here or on the facebook page. And let us know if you think it would make a good single…
I took some time off recording the album last week to do a remix of Tim Burgess of The Charlatan’s new single, “White”. Once again, I did it in that B-side spirit I mentioned in an earlier post, an opportunity to expand the palette of sounds and the ideas I’d narrowed in on for the album, in the hope that some of it would come with me when i went back to the album again.
It was great fun doing the remix, and I was thrilled to be asked to do it too. It turned out that Tim was actually a Looper fan, and once saved a gig of ours at The Troubadour in Los Angeles from descending into chaos. The batteries went flat in one of our samplers mid show, and Tim ran out to buy more for us. We didn’t know it was him who got them at the time, but heard rumors years later.
We thought it was just an urban myth.
So it was great to do the remix. A real privelege to be able to listen to all the tracks individually and see how the song had been put together. I decided quite early on to do an 8-bit mix of the song. The bassline of the original was the key for me. I hadn’t noticed it too much in the full mix, but listening to it solo i realized how cool it was. I replayed that with a SidChip sound, and then worked on writing a couple of riffs to go along with it.
Originally, I thought I would just drop in some repetition of the “Heartbreaks on Hold” vocal line now and again, and have it mainly instrumental. I had also found some very cool gospel chorus lines that I couldn’t hear in the full mix, and I thought I’d mostly use them. But somehow, once I had my little riffs, the whole song fell back into its proper structure- quite easily.
Tim seems to like it, and its already had a play on Jim Gellately’s Podcast. You can hear it at this link, around the 18 minute mark- NEW MUSIC PODCAST
And ii’s done its magic now that I’ve gone back to the album too. It gave me new ideas for the bassline of “Another Random”, and got me started on a new little 8-bit song too. A happy little interlude…