I emerged from the car into the Somerset night at around one in the morning after a full day’s work with Joe and subsequent journey back through various extremely loud groups of drunk people shouting at men kicking a ball at a person in a net – they were calling some of them all sorts of uncharitable names. Somehow making music does not seem so strange an activity when you see what other people get up to.
I poured myself a rewarding glass from one of the boxes of red brought back from France, stuck on the headphones so as not to disturb my good lady or the good cat, and put the item pictured below on to play. Even if the CD player in the car had been working (should I get it fixed? I like having all that thinking time…) I would have waited to get it home to give it a proper listen.
Of course, I had heard some of the hot-off-the-mixing-desk sounds when we were in the studio, but yesterday was the first time I had encountered the final versions of what we had recorded, and when you think that the mixing and mastering process on its own has taken around a month you will have some idea of how much attention to detail has gone into this project from the start. The complexity of the arrangements has also added immeasurably to the challenges posed, but the sound balances and highlights in a thrillingly effective manner, small gaps in the texture filled by a dab of strings, a chord or choir, or a bass guitar run.
So what is it like? Well, I do not want to get ahead of myself, but the first thing one notices is Joe’s playing, which is simply magnificent, assured and controlled to the very last degree, but then there is the recorded sound and the quality of the performances from everybody else as well. I think I might just get a little excited about this, because it really sounds very fine indeed.
You will have to take my word for it for now, though, because the album as it stands is only half of the full project, but we are hoping to have the complete set of songs ready by the end of the year. What the second half will sound like is a mystery even to us, for we only begin writing next week, but hearing what we have achieved at the half way point has made us really optimistic and upbeat about the many, many hours of unrelenting hard work that lie ahead, reinforcing that the ends, at least in this case, more than justify the means.