Track by track rundown of ~An Inexact Science~

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I – Stable

Co-written by Naomi, Nicholas and Steve Wheeler, ‘Stable’ started life as a fairly subdued dulcimer, beats, bass, flute vocal song. By the time the recording was finished it also included dramatic walls of fuzzed out guitars!

II – Found

‘Found’ was one of the last songs written and recorded for the album and is one of the few songs to feature a prominent synth part (many of the sounds on the album that sound like keyboards are actually treated guitars, etc.).

III – Muscle Memory

This song made its live debut in Bucharest in May 2003 and quickly became a favourite. It features Steve on bass, Rebecca Howell (Becus) on piano and also some amazingly beautiful violin by Daniel Stefanski. The final section of ‘Muscle Memory’ is one of the heaviest things the band has recorded to date, a fact which is all the more remarkable given that it does not have any electric guitars at all.

IV – Malphacyte

One of the first songs to be recorded for ~An Inexact Science~, we had been playing this live for some time before recording. It includes over 20 tracks of guitars (16 tracks of which are germanium fuzz/whammy/ring-modulated/tape distorted Les Paul) and Steve’s big warm and snugly 70’s Telecaster bass. It also has some tape flanging done on an old reel to reel that we bought from Nick Larkins for a slab of Coopers Sparkling Ale!

V – Tulip Eyes

This was an older song co-written by former bassist Alistair Galloway, that was almost forgotten but was found on an old MiniDisc rehearsal recording and resurrected. Alastair was living in London at the time so Nicholas recorded the bass guitar – using Alastair’s old bass. The track initially featured bowed psaltery, but this was later replaced with violin played by Melisa Collins (The Restless, Deloris).

VI – Black Glitter

Another track featuring the vintage tape machine, this time used to distort and time stretch the drum loop. The main guitar chord sequence for ‘Black Glitter’ was written by Nicholas as a teenager but had never eventuated into anything. Next came Naomi’s vocal melody and lyrics and once the basic tracks had been recorded we took the laptop and headed around to Steve’s house to record his intricate melodic bassline. Amongst the numerous guitars used to record this song was Naomi’s old 70’s lawsuit Ibanez strat. The outro features a veritable choir of Naomi’s.

VII – Starry Messenger

This song is based upon a dulcimer melody written by Nicholas that has been used as the basis for some of our instrumental jams at various live shows. Bec Howell added the beautifully dark piano line and then Bart Kowalski (Season, Subnormal) improvised several takes on drums that that were later cut up by Nicholas. The textural guitars that form the bed of the track are the result of tape manipulating guitars that have been through a variety of stompboxes. There’s also some backwards electric 12 string guitar in the bridge.

VIII – Little Pieces (i)

This was recorded mostly live by Naomi and Nicholas late at night with other textural guitars and synths added later. The main guitar is one of our favourite recorded guitar sounds and is about as clean as a Strat can get. Nicholas also used Richie from Catnip’s 70’s Telecaster for some of the background washy guitars.

IX – Little Pieces (ii)

This is based around Nicholas’ lute part, which was recorded in the dining room of Withers’ Farm, the 19th century farmhouse the belonged to Walter Withers (one of the Heidleberg school of artists, along with Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton). No reverb has been added to the lute - it is all just the natural ambience of the house. ‘Little Pieces’ also includes a string arrangement by Nicholas that was played by Melisa Collins (violin) and Anita Quayle (cello) and recorded at Cavalier studios by Justin Skims.

X – For The Next Time The Whole World Floods With Tears

This was the first piece recorded for the album – written and recorded the first time the new Mac/Motu recording gear was set up. Analog filtered synths meet reverbed out electric 12 string guitar with hammered dulcimer and ghost vocals. This is the only song on the album that hasn’t been performed live.

Banner image by Colin Page