Friday, 9 April 2010

Echo - Track By Track

<a href="">Burning Bandstands by Matt Stevens</a>

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All about my album

The Rules: 

1 - All sounds to be produced by one acoustic guitar (hitting it, looping it, overdubbing it, volume swells etc)

2 - The songs to be recorded as close as possible to "Live"

We did bend these rules as making a good record was the real point of the project (we added a few hand claps and some stomping on one song). I'm really pleased with the finished results. The album was recorded at Pinna Studios (a bloody great studio in East London) and mastered at Livingstone Studios (Wood Green). It was produced by Kevin Feazey and mastered by Sonny Simpson. 

The Dolls House on the cover we found in an antiques shop in Islington,London.

Burning Bandstands 

This is the first song we recorded in early 2007. We recorded the parts piece by piece into Pro Tools then stacked them to simulate how i play them live. For the intro I was thinking of eighties Thrash Metal acts such as Metallica(the middle of One from And Justice For All), Kreator and Sepultura. The end section guitars are 4 parts stacked in harmony based on arpeggios of Bmsus4 and D9 over the Bm/D7/E first Inv/Em first Inv. This song comes from a song i used to play with a band called Trinovantes about 4 years ago and has been played live at every gig I've done.

This is Burning Bandstands live at Spratton Gathering:



Another thrash metal/Sepultura inspired song for the chorus meets Friday Night In San Francisco for the verse, I tuned down to drop D for this one. Only played it live once - the rhythmic guitar banging at the start was put together by Kev in the studio. The section in the middle at half time can be done live with the DL4's half time feature and then overdubbed in harmony and then sped back up again. I like the solo at the end.

Drama In The Coals 

The first song in odd timing something i love - inspired by the likes of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Fripp and The Beatles (loads on Strawberry fields). Its in 5/4 and drop d again although I play it in E live. The metal section in the middle reminds me of Soundgarden and the picking is kind of Radiohead/Crimson maybe? My favorite guitar solos on Echo are the ones on the heavy bit. The title comes from watching an open fire when i was a kid.

Flies In The Basement 

This song is very much a surf rock thing played on acoustic guitar - kind of like a Dick Dale sound. It was inspired by going to see a band called the Mantarays - genius surfy stuff. Also reminds me of some of the flamenco sounds on Friday Night In San Francisco. It features Kev stomping and clapping at the start for a percussion sound.I played this song at our wedding. There is a live version you can get free here

Snow part 3

My favorite on the album and some people have said they agree with me. The pad keyboard type sound at the start is me fading the guitar in after strumming it using a volume pedal. It's a really simple song but I like the chord progression with the inversions. This a 3 part song - parts one is on the Fierce And The Dead album and two will be on the next album or maybe the third album - Kev and I performed the whole thing at the vsv festival a while back.

Chasing The Sun

This is an acoustic version of a song originally performed by a band called Monchrome which i was in with Justin Hemmington(Bass), Stuart Marshall(Drums) and Mr Kevin Feazey(Vocals and Guitar). We were going for an acoustic hardcore on this with added Fripp loop sounds at the end added using a volume pedal(before i used a filter synth pedal for a more advanced version of the same sound).  This also features more guitar banging percussion.

Spencer Park

Originally featured on the Parks EP as a live version this is one of the first tracks I wrote for the solo acoustic gigs.  Its in 15/8(always fun for the audience to clap along to) and features more hitting of the guitar body for percussion sounds. Spencer Park is a real place in Rushden where I grew up.

The "synth/cello" sounds at the end were created using a volume pedal

West Green

A bit of a dub track this one - its been played on quite a few podcasts.  The warped and lovely delay sounds are the end are Kev abusing an old Watkins copycat tape delay.  Have a look at this video that shows how we did it:



Another Park in Rushden  - once again originally on the Parks EP. 7/8 percussion loop of me banging the guitar into stacked harmonies at the end - I'm going to start playing this live again next year. Another Radiohead/Mahavishnu influenced one with more of a post-rock Sigur Ros/Slint feel at the end.

Dolls House

The guitar percussion loop has a delay on it to make it sound bigger, generally a minimalist type melody over Johnny Marr type chords going into a metal Zeppelin end riff with overdubbed NWOBHM noodles. Since writing this I've expanded this one a lot and the live versions are now 7 or so minutes long.  I really enjoy playing this live.


The album took the best part of 2 years of work off and on to make - here is a video of us making it:


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