I spent this week in Paris, it had been a month since I’ve been home this long. Haha…one week….’this long’. Well, that tells you all you need to know about my life. I have been working *very* hard on mixing the Eva Auad album in my studio. It’s going very well. It’s very challenging to mix, as it’s not like any music I’ve worked on before. With Eva’s vocal prowess and her ability to do those wonderful melismatic runs a la your soul power divas, you could be tempted to put this album in that category, but in fact, the album owes more to Kid A than Beyoncé. The mixing of the Reveller album was easier, I *know,* and the band too, what they’re supposed to sound like. With Eva, there is no band…so we had to invent it. Pure fabrication, using almost exclusively software-based instruments. We have a little bit of real bass, played by either myself or her live bassist Jef Bakker. We are working on a string arrangement for one song (more on that as it develops). But beyond that, we have what she and I have played and programmed, and then her fabulous vocals. She can do contralto and she can burst in piccolo-ranged ultra soprano. Still, as she records her vocals at home, we don’t have a lot of variety of tone–it’s one singer, one mic, one mic pre. So, time is spent on how to make different Evas out her various vocals. As Paris is often sketchy at night after the bars close, one night, the night of the full moon, I slept at the studio, having worked til 4am on a mix. My friend, who manages MGMT (who watches the Watchmen, tho?), invited me their private show at the Paris Aquarium…and I couldn’t justify it, at that moment. The work matters to me, a lot. And this album, Eva’s, deserves some serious dedication–it’s truly an amazing creation.
I did get out for a couple of events– one evening I went to see Laura Jansen at a little place called Le Dandy, near Pigalle. This was a perfect show for me to attened–I had to go to Pigalle, where most of the music shops in Paris are huddled, to get some supplies for the upcoming Posies tour so I was able to justify leaving the studio. The show was at 18.45 and it was free. What more do you want? Well, you get more–because her show was excellent. She has beautiful, effortless songs that fly delicately from her intricate piano playing and singing. She is accompanied by a guitarist who makes all kinds of unusual textures and a drummer (from the excellent band Sunday Sun) who supplements his kit with synths and samples, controlled by various devices. Both he and the guitarist sing backup vocals. Le Dandy has a lovely living room vibe, and I was able to plop down on a couch and enjoy the show. After the show I went back to the studio to work…now, it’s a painful, multi-leg journey by metro, and there wasn’t a cab in sight. So, I Velib’d back to the 11eme, quite a feat from Pigalle, about 20 minutes, 5km, but it’s mostly downhill. My legs are still a little sore from that one.
Dom and I also rushed out to see Archive, that moody British collective that you’ve never heard of, unless you live in France where they are one of the biggest bands ever. For some reason, they were booked at La Cigale, so you can imagine this 1500 seat venue was thronged. So thronged, my 5’4″ French wife couldn’t see anything, and her 5’11.5″ husband not much better. With Archive, you are never sure which members of the collective will show up; Dom’s preferred vocalist was not onstage this night; nor was the string section that was rumored to be part of this show; nor was it acoustic as rumored. The droning tones and bluesy melodies, despite the triphop soundscapes, can occasionally sound a little generic, to my ears. But the albums are very good; in fact, it was a long Archive song that we looped for the soundtrack to Aden’s birth.
And now, back to work.