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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:40 pm 
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Apparently, that's about yesterday: "I not only got to witness the intricacies of the recording process, but also got to see the results – including a jam session with Harvey and her guitarists, and her singing one of her brand new songs that will be featured on the new album.

The vibe within Harvey’s space was creative yet relaxed with Harvey even joking: “What am I doing? I’ve not even written the chords down for this song!”

Although it was a comfortable atmosphere, Harvey had a very specific vision when it came to her sound, going into great detail on exactly how the guitarists should play the music or singing the same line in a few different ways to herself to find the one she seemed to think fitted best within the piece."

http://roarnews.co.uk/wordpress/?p=16273
____________________________________________________________

And about today...

@PutUp0rShutUp: "Just watched PJ Harvey produce "one of the worst guitar sounds" Flood's ever heard." )))


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 6:23 pm 
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@ashleightoll: "What we did / Why we did it / I make no excuse / I believe in the future we could do some good."

@fleurneale: "As long as it's not skanky, you can do anything" - instructions from @PJHarveyUK today in the studio @SomersetHouse"


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 4:40 pm 
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I found this photo on Twitter - I don't think it's been shared here yet - the image on the drum is the PJ Harvey "crest" that's on the wall of the studio.

Image


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:09 pm 
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I was lucky enough to attend the 3pm session on 12th February (sorry it's taken me a few days to get around to posting a report here). Having never witnessed any studio recording process before I was absolutely fascinated by everything and could've stood there watching all day, so add in the Polly factor and my excitement levels nearly sent me over the edge!

When we arrived, Polly and Flood were discussing the vocal she had recorded for I'll Be Waiting - they liked the emotional quality of the first take, as Polly described it she was "feeling her way into it", but there was some brief debate over whether it mattered she had dropped her "t"s and "d"s too much - ultimately they decided that it worked for the song for the vocal to be "less confident" and that if Polly was to re-record it with the intention of enunciating better then she would be concentrating on that to the detriment of emotional expression.

Then they moved on to recording various overdubs. I'll Be Waitng was played back in full and in parts many times throughout the session and it was so interesting to hear the effect of different layers of sound coming in. Forgive me for not being able to fully identify each musician, as some of them are multi-instrumentalists and I wasn't familiar with all of them - there were about 12 or 13 people in the room, including Polly, Flood, John, Terry Edwards, Seamus Murphy and the sound engineers. Alessandro Stefana recorded a spine-tingling guitar part across the whole song. Some low humming (male voices) was added to the chorus. Finally, John Parish was supposed to sing a backing vocal of "I'll be w-w-w-waiting", but he kept getting it wrong! He was coming in 1/16th of a beat out each time and just couldn't seem to get it right, despite Polly singing it for him over and over as a guide (yes, we briefly heard that magnificent voice of hers coming live over the speakers, so thank goodness for John's mistakes!). At one point, they had heard him do it so many times that sime of the musicians weren't even sure which was the right or wrong version anymore - it was pretty funny and got a good laugh from both inside and outside the studio. Next time I'm messing something up, I'll remember that even the musical God John Parish makes mistakes sometimes ;)

And then time was up...

I really cannot state how privileged I feel to have had this experience. I love the democratic aspect of each viewer only getting a brief snapshot of the process - it's just enough to be tantalising without completely demystifying the magic of a full album coming together. I really wish everybody who loves PJ could have had the chance to go...


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:20 pm 
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sallytbyml wrote:
I found this photo on Twitter - I don't think it's been shared here yet - the image on the drum is the PJ Harvey "crest" that's on the wall of the studio


I see now that Black Hearted Love shared this in Pic Of The Day just an hour before I put it here - sorry for the double-posting! Great minds...


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:13 pm 
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sallytbyml, thanks for your report, and could you give us a link to original Twitter post?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:45 pm 
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Sure, here it is: https://twitter.com/pigwillnot/status/566313046210281472


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:55 pm 
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I went last saturday (valentine’s day) to the 3 p.m. session. They (Polly & Alain + Flood & Parish) were fine tuning guitar bits for one song (don’t know which one). No singing during this session, I guess those parts are done. Loved to be a voyeur for 45 minutes!

Tidbit: I ‘accidentaly’ picked up two programme booklets (from different piles) and noticed a difference. There seems to be a second printing. In the first run they forgot to mention Seamus Murphy... and fixed this with a small sticker. The second printing lists Murphy without a sticker (among a few other minor lay-out changes).

Spot the differences!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:32 pm 
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About February 7: "The working group were in playback mode, listening to a song ‘A Dog Called Money’, going back and forth between two very different versions of the same song: discussing which they preferred in pace, rhythm and feel. Differences of opinion highlighted a tactful yet comfortable diplomacy, which became even more evident when they moved onto another song: one which Flood didn’t feel was working. A discussion erupted around whether to ‘cull or keep’ the track. PJ was emphatic that she wasn’t yet ready to let this song go, though agreed its current semblance wasn’t up to scratch. Sensing that Flood also didn’t want to waste time, she immediately offered a resolution that they’d set a time by which they’d decide. Harvey listens intently to the opinions around her, and when she speaks, expressing her opinion, everyone returns the regard. Throughout the session, she walks back and forth to the wall chart adding and crossing out notes on the songs, inadvertently asserting her ownership over them. These ordinary yet weighty moments were punctuated with broken laughter of familiarity and a sense of intimacy. Just as we started to feel involved, the sound cuts."

https://joelvmills.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/recording-in-progress-an-art-of-process/


Last edited by Kuk91 on Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:31 pm 
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Noticed a few more changes in the 2nd edition of the booklet. Mainly on the credits pages (15-17 + 20). James Johnston and Seamus Murphy bio's were added. And the b/w pictures are way brighter. Here's a quick 'scan' I shot with Scanbot (iOS app).


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:01 am 
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Thanks a lot, error.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:31 pm 
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February 5, 3pm session, song is "Homo Sappy Blues" ("It’s a lively romp of a blues song, funny and probing"):

"We were ushered in and Polly and her band were already going. They were clapping. All of them. About ten guys and the miniscule PJ, clapping into mikes, her vocals and other music playing in the background–an earlier track. Flood, her oftentimes producer, sat on a couch with a notebook and a pen, bouncing to the music."

"The music that everyone was clapping to was messily mixed. This was the work in progress. Mind you, a messily mixed PJ song is a wonderful thing. But to note that–to note that it didn’t sound “done”–was a thing unto itself."

"After the clapping track was recorded, Polly started to do a vocal track. It wasn’t a first take. The chorus she sang was, “What God Gave You.” <...> At one point she stopped, laughing, “What was in my headphone?” [about some “honking” noise.] And the track had to be redone. And again."

"Polly played air guitar, making funny faces, laughing."

"After she did some vocals, she had all the men, her band, do background vocals. They sang, headphones on. Then Polly said “[It] needs to be messier, you’re all singing too accurately.” And so, they sang again. She showed them how they should all sing very low, and she sang very low, and said, even if that’s not how “you naturally sing”. And she said, do it “with headphones off.” So they did that. The room was miked."

http://thefanzine.com/pj-harvey-recording-in-progress/


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:18 pm 
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http://www.thelineofbestfit.com/features/articles/pj-harvey-recording-in-progress-2015

"Chain of Keys": "A key so simple and bright, how can it feel so desperate?"

About recording of "The Revolving Wheel" ("Three little children, I heard it was more like 28,000"):

"The snare drums rattle and the bass drum rolls as Harvey gets up to take seat by the hurdy-gurdy. She taps her feet in time to the beat, commanding the room with the smallest of movements. After a while drummer Kenrick Rowe takes off his headphones and says: “sorry, I’m just trying to get in the right headspace” before he goes back to rolling the same, wonderful beat cycle again and again. “Hopefully it will fit with the track,” he adds. Producer Flood – the most animated man present - looks across the room and says “If not, we’ll make the track fit you.” Everyone around me smiles, we agree Rowe’s in one hell of a groove right now.

“Fuck” … “Can you come over here?” I can’t quite tell who is speaking but PJ Harvey moves towards the back room where the computer screen generates the recorded waveforms - watching someone watch a visual representation of the sound emerge feels apt somehow. She returns and they begin to play through a song, for the most part it’s recorded but now they’re listening back with the additional drums. I’ll never be sure if that “fuck” was a good thing, or a bad thing.

A deep burst of saxophone emerges as if from nowhere, I move around to a different window to see Mike Smith warming up for the afternoon. A couple of melodies drift over the song before its dark golden body struggles and splutters. Something seems to have gone wrong, Polly Jean goes over to investigate. “It’s really old,” says Smith. “But that’s what makes it so brilliant,” she replies. After a lot of indecipherable chatter it’s clear that the Sax is broken, they discuss the nearest place to get it fixed – there’s this place on Baker Street they’re going to try called Howarths. PJ mistakenly hears “Hogarths”, and everyone laughs at the idea of taking a Saxophone to be repaired by a painter. Perhaps the nature of recording inside an art gallery really has got to them. They accept defeat and move on."

"Back at the window and Harvey looks like she’s getting ready to sing but barely a note escapes her mouth, the vocals to this track have already been laid down. She takes off her jacket and rehearses a clapping rhythm with Alain Johannes. She can’t see us but she gives a knowing smile in our direction, hopefully finding it as surreal as we do that we’re about to witness a 5/10-minute clapping recording. Once they’ve got the pattern down, they begin. She starts sitting down, then standing, then sitting - her leg constantly changes positions, it’s clear she’s not particularly comfortable. The backing track winds down. The clapping is quite intense. “Mike, are you arms stronger than mine because mine are dropping off?!” She laughs, the clapping is too much of a strain! She splits the rhythm with Mike and they begin again.

Suddenly, the music stops and we’re told that’s the end. <...> Dawdling as much as is possible when being ushered from a room, we see the song has finished and PJ Harvey is rubbing her arms and bent double laughing."


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:02 pm 
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https://mariloup.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/pj-harvey-recording-in-progress/

"I was present during the recording of vocals for one of her tracks, ‘Imagine this’. In general, I very much liked the song. It is a pop-song march in 4/4, beginning with the tambourine that sets the beat. The lyrics are the primary element of the song, considering that the melody is rather monotonous and repetitive (very catchy though). For this song, Harvey has used a number of acoustic stringed instruments and percussion – however, I couldn’t hear any bass guitar. I assume it will drastically change by the end of the recordings."

"She and the producer were the ones making suggestions on everything. Her biggest contribution was a suggestion to sing all vocals of the song louder and powerfully. This did the trick – it gave the song a really strong boost. Otherwise, it would be rather flat and dragging. I was surprised when Harvey asked the drummer to sing. Perhaps it wasn’t his best day, and it didn’t work that well. They had to drop the pitch lower to help him do this.

The living artwork – the musicians – seemed to perform excellent their identities and roles. All very polite, having a banter at times (although Harvey didn’t seem very amused, but did not complain at all)."

And a very believable interpretation of Polly's crest:

Image

"I glanced the coat of arms, which featured a two-headed wolf that passed a food plate at the top of a shield (the main section of the coat of arms) to a skinny goat that wore a bullet belt. Under the shield, the wolf stepped on a rifle. The shield depicted three birds and three keys. Everything was allegorical and political – it’s a story of modern wolf-minded people who pretend to be taking care of the seemingly poor, but somehow empowered ones, whereas under the table, they give them no choice but to do as they’re told. It’s along the lines ‘you’re uncivilized, we’ll treat you well and teach you to behave. But drop your weapon first’."

Don't know about "three birds" - seems more like three snails to me.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:23 pm 
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Maybe someone will be generous enough to scan those 8 lyric sheets reproductions? I checked, and its delivery to Russia almost triples the price, which is way too expensive (and not only for me, I think).


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