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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:21 pm 
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Just wanted to say it has been an absolute pleasure reading of so many different experiences of fellow fans. I do appreciate the mix of detail, occasional quotes, and thoughtful observations that this thread is producing. Anyone up for pulling together a set of track-by-track commentaries to compare the finished products with? It will be fascinating to see (hear) how the final album versions reflect/don't reflect the versions we've observed.

And I am so glad that the nay-sayers predicting lots of "just watch a bass being tuned" and "no Polly" have been proved wrong!

As a side line, I'm also interested that there has been such a commitment to a photo record of this work. I'm wondering if there will be some sort of exhibition of photos and/or a publication to come from this.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:10 pm 
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I've been 2 sessions now;
The first was 21st Jan, they started off listening to a pre-recorded demo of a reggae arrangement that John Parrish had brought in. Flood then set up some spacey effects and they recorded some dubby drum pattens to match. I don't know which song it was but the chorus included some lines about hands and triggers etc. Polly played and sang guide parts for most of the session. Sounded very good but I doubt it they'll go with it, there was quite a lot of laughter. Didn't sound like LES at all.
The second was 4th Feb and they were putting layers of percussion on Ministry of Defence. Alain Johannes, John Parrish, Mick Harvey, Jean-Marc Butty were all playing parts. Mike Smith tried some baritone sax and Mick Harvey considered using his bass Moog pedals. Polly was pretty much an observer for the whole session.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:14 pm 
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derbyshirepaul wrote:
And I am so glad that the nay-sayers predicting lots of "just watch a bass being tuned" and "no Polly" have been proved wrong!

Polly can't see visitors, but I do think she knows the hours when they're coming - IMO she's just too well-mannered to make people watch lunch-breaks (although some might have loved to see those), so maybe she purposely "saves" the "dull moments" for "non-paid" hours.
_________________________________________________

@heavier_things: "Just saw PJ Harvey hailing a cab on Aldwych. Also went to Recording in Progress at Somerset House last night and it was the coolest thing in the world."

@bridgetmck: "Spent the day working at the Civic Shop in Somerset House, next to the room where PJ Harvey is publicly composing."


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:51 am 
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Kuk91 wrote:
@SctottMorris: "New song: "Homo Sappy Blues". Something about vodka, migration and tattooed children #pjharvey"

@supercharged10: "So what were those PJ harvey lyrics? What God sent you? A tattooed kiss on the forehead? that is definitely a number one"

From previous sources: another line in the song is "what God gave you".
__________________________________________________

"...So when I asked the security guard in hope, his eyebrow raised itself and he announced with a giant grin: "I think this is your lucky day!". He then led me to a side room in Somerset House's New Wing, introduced me to another staff member who confirmed that yes, this was the first time they'd ever had a no show and I would be welcome to join the session in progress. I had missed the first fifteen minutes or so, but I didn’t care!" - What a lucky bas... MAN. )))

http://melmelis.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/pj-harvey-recording-in-progress.html

Image

"Peej herself was wearing all black, headphones on, her black hair cascading down in waves, either side of her face. She was testing her vocals on one of the new songs, which turned out to be the “The Revolving Wheel” I believe. Her long time collaborator John Parish listening intently, brow furrowed in concentration as she played the chords she wanted him to reproduce on his acoustic guitar. Flood the producer bounced energetically around the room alternately clutching a cup of coffee and a red moleskine notebook, occasionally scribbling something down, occasionally offering sage advice. “You could bring in the instruments one by one” he suggested on one such foray from his two seater sofa, a statement more than a question. “No” remarked Polly laconically, with a smile. Perhaps a polite reminder that this was her album and vision. Flood didn’t argue, he smiled back. This seemed like a team without friction, a professional but easy going atmosphere to work in. A photographer, I’m guessing Seamus Murphy who created the wonderful films accompanying PJ Harvey’s brilliant last album “Let England Shake” duelled with Flood for centre stage, taking shots of the artists. Also in the room (I think) were the drummer Kenrick Rowe and Terry Edwards, who was ready with his saxophone as well as another unidentified musician with a wondrous beard [possibly Alain Johannes]. A couple of sound engineers dipped in and out at times too. Mick Harvey was also there, sitting next to John Parish, he seemed in a quietly jovial mood, perhaps because the onus was on Parish for the next few minutes. And then some magic happened, Parish played on an acoustic guitar and Polly sang. It was beautiful. We heard the whole of “The Revolving Wheel” from the new album. At the end, I, like many other people in the audience resisted the desire to clap. I saw the two girls in front of me clasp each others hands more tightly. I saw other people smiling in loving appreciation, me too.

The band then seemed to be building up to play a more complete, multi-instrument version of the song, perhaps a version which would end up on the album. The anticipation was building as they tuned up and jammed little elements of it. Mick Harvey’s guitar delivered some pounding bluesy derivatives of the main chord structures but unfortunately our time was up. We were asked to leave the viewing area."


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 6:57 pm 
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Location: Moscow, Russia
Alain Johannes on Instagram: "Having dinner with these amazing badass gents Mike Smith and Jean-Marc Butty after another wonderful day in the studio in London"
http://instagram.com/p/ysVGYFFUon/?modal=true


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:57 pm 
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06/02/2015, 11am: "For the first minute in the room, I did not understand what was going on. It was easy to tell that the band had been working on something before our arrival and it quickly turned out to be the backing vocals of two different songs. Yes, backing vocals. Which means that I didn’t get to listen to PJ’s voice apart from her striking up the melodies of how she wanted the guys to sing their parts. PJ Harvey works exclusively with male musicians and the overall vibe was very harmonious yet professional. The guys were making a lot of jokes but the greatest joker of them all must have been Flood, the producer of the record. <...> Polly Jean herself seemed a bit reserved but not in a negative kind of way. You could tell that she was listening attentively to what the guys were saying. She is not some kind of diva who wants things to go her way, I think to her it is much rather a process of shaping the record together."

"The only lyrics that stuck with me from the session were "Now I hate everyone / Before I used to love" and "I'll Be Waiting" which has some amazing layers of vocals of all musicians."

http://motherof-unicorns.tumblr.com/post/110261657655


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:59 pm 
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I have 2 spare Recording In Progress booklets that were given out for free at the Somerset House sessions, if anyone wants one. Guess the fairest way to decide who gets them is I pick a number between 1 and 100 and whoever is closest will get one. I'm giving them away free and I'll even pay for postage.

PM me with your guess.
Contest ends Friday Feb 13th.

Good luck.


Last edited by sanvean on Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:20 pm 
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@SharonBrennan: "Stood next to Cillian Murphy watching PJ Harvey at Somerset House & of course I didn't have a clue it was him. Fantastic show though"


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:34 am 
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Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
So wish I was able to attend this, but unfortunately I'm in the United States. "Have fun" to everyone who is going! I'm sure you will. And thanks for posting all the great pictures alongside the information.

_________________
"I feel sexually stimulated by minor chords, heavy bass, heavy music." - PJH
"It's better to be a bit of a mess and be happy than to have it all together and be miserable." - PJH


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:29 am 
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Location: I live in a town called Millhaven. It's small and it's mean and it's cold.
I went to the 1pm session on Friday. It was great to see a work of art being developed. The 45 minutes went very quickly!

They were working primarily on the backing vocals for one of the tracks; sorry not sure of the name of the track - some of the lyrics concerned '20,000 sun bleached photographs'? Anyone know what track that would have been?

They were also experimenting with some baritone sax possibly to be added to the track.

_________________
O fuck it! I'm a monster! I admit it!


Last edited by freethemillhaven1 on Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:39 am 
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dumb wrote:
So wish I was able to attend this, but unfortunately I'm in the United States. "Have fun" to everyone who is going! I'm sure you will. And thanks for posting all the great pictures alongside the information.


I feel your pain, dumb. :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:49 pm 
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freethemillhaven1 wrote:
They were working primarily on the backing vocals for one of the tracks; sorry not sure of the name of the track - some of the lyrics concerned '20,000 sun bleached photographs'? Anyone know what track that would have been?

Earlier the same day they were working on backing vocals of two different songs ("I'll Be Waiting" and another one). Some of the lyrics that another visitor can recall were "Now I hate everyone / Before I used to love".


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:10 pm 
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Kuk91 wrote:
@SharonBrennan: "Stood next to Cillian Murphy watching PJ Harvey at Somerset House & of course I didn't have a clue it was him. Fantastic show though"

@benreeson: "I saw Cillian Murphy and PJ Harvey having a drink today. Both seem rather lovely." [07/02/2015, 16:39]
_______________________________________________________________________________

"Nick Cave: What are you guys up to in London?

Me: We’re going to see PJ Harvey record her album at Somerset house.

Nick Cave: Oh really? Ah…. that's funny. I think Mick Harvey [ex-guitarist of the Birthday Party and the Bad Seeds] is going to be there too. That's funny. <...>"

https://theunapologists.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/pj-harvey-recording-in-progress-27th-january-part-1-the-epic-voyage/


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:38 pm 
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Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
freethemillhaven1 wrote:
I went to the 1pm session on Friday. It was great to see a work of art being developed. The 45 minutes went very quickly!

They were working primarily on the backing vocals for one of the tracks; sorry not sure of the name of the track - some of the lyrics concerned '20,000 sun bleached photographs'? Anyone know what track that would have been?

They were also experimenting with some baritone sax possibly to be added to the track.


Oh so jealous! That is amazing you got to witness that!

_________________
"I feel sexually stimulated by minor chords, heavy bass, heavy music." - PJH
"It's better to be a bit of a mess and be happy than to have it all together and be miserable." - PJH


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:59 am 
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All these woodwinds! Didn't Polly once declare herself a Morphine fan? Maybe we're seeing that influence finally creep in.

In my alternate universe the sax arrangements on Polly's record would mirror the approach a band like Clock DVA took, where they don't sound quite right:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LN3l0r23k_o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7L1pRXY4H4


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