After three glorious weeks of real life, families, home and becoming human again we’re back to a quick stint of recording. There has been some listening back to things recorded earlier in the year and some exploring of new ideas.
Will has a new toy for drum programming which has sent him on a beat-making odyssey. He rolls up today with a new idea and announces cheerfully to all that, "It’s in seven four time and it’s 168 bpm". For those of you less versed in music theory, "Seven four time" means that when he kicks off the drum machine, everyone spends a lot of time asking, "Where’s the one?". Meanwhile, "168 bpm" means that everyone is getting confused very quickly.
Slowly, from the chaos comes great beauty. The concentration of feeling the beat has forced everyone to play in an open and simple manner. Before long, a gentle and chilled piece builds up with an utterly joyous feel. It’s a great kick-start to the week. Layers of vocals are added until it becomes a rich, complex weave.
Two hours ago all that existed was a loop in Will’s laptop. Now there is solid piece that is joyous, beautiful and filling all present with enthusiasm.
It’s a sure sign that things are going well, when everyone is back from lunch early. The afternoon continues with the most filthy funk I’ve heard from these guys. Jonny, in particular, has coaxed a sound from the Moog synth that borders on the obscene.
We’re back now into odd time signatures with a piece from last week in five four time. They’re all standing together around one mic about five feet to my right. I remember back at the start of the X&Y tour when the idea of anyone but Will doing backing vocals was very strange indeed (not least to Guy and Jonny!). Now they’re a very tight and rich vocal group. Doubtless Brian is very proud…
I seem to be spinning as many plates as ever right now, so rather than wait until I have time to write an epic, I’ll sign off now. I will say though, that although the material here is in its most embryonic form it’s not just promising, it’s astonishing.