Alongside working the manuals, much listening and new ‘save-as’ states, it became clear that this much simpler piece could now be more easily re-arranged and extended. I began to work on this in parallel with thinking about my guitar playing and the sounds I might use to take this new directions. Without the didj and distorted electric guitar parts, the overall sound and feeling ‘opened up’, presented a lighter palette upon which to draw. To make a fine art analogy perhaps (with apologies), the denseness, busyness and influences of the didj in Pulse Two (remix) might be compared to a heavy, thick oil-based work. Certainly very full in terms of sonic structure and arrangement and subsequently demanding in terms of recording studio mixing techniques (everything is in the way of each other). This version made me think of watercolours, openness and air, and also partially confirmed by Frank’s similarly positioned new keyboard part. This then informed my choice of guitar and sound.
I imagined a clean, jazz-like, lyrical presentation for the guitar, very much now positioned as an epistemological /artistic device, but also with some reverence to the particular history of one of my guitars, a rather beautiful and inspirational 1990 Les Paul custom (in burgundy red)13. This also began to intertwine with my earlier concerns about the electric guitar production for Pulse Two (remix), and it seemed appropriate to investigate this further here, especially given that the ‘clean-ness’ and air might be more liberating in this respect.
Prior to this I had less than rewarding musical experiences in recording studios using DIs and headphones. This tended to be an artificial, ‘soul-less’ sound for me, and also being able to hear properly was always at the mercy of small headphones and the capability of the tracking engineer on the ‘other side of the glass’. Hence, I tended to revert to guitar amplifiers wherever possible, but in the course of other projects leading up to this exposition, I had certainly run the gamut of experimenting with all kinds or workarounds. In preparation for Go Fish guitar recordings I remembered a particular device, Avid’s so-called Eleven Rack had sat on my university desk for a few years, simply to provide a convenient practice resource for whenever the mood and time might allow. I collected this from work, patched into the studio and again, got the manuals out.
A ‘clean’ aesthetic as it turns out was a useful ‘ease of entry’ point. No too demanding on the sonic representation where the Les Paul itself could do most of the work to speak its internal voice quite clearly. Overall though, the use of this technology became increasingly liberating as all of the music rolled on. Being made by Avid, there were aspects of the design and software that were deeply embedded in their DAW, Pro Tools. Fluid, smart, much feedback but overall, produced better and better sounds (and consequently, transparent inspiration) the more I worked with it. As opposed to much preparation, patching and level matching of pedal boards, guitar amplifiers and microphones, this device allowed for instant sounds at the DAW, and via simply playing along to the music on the studio monitors. Increasingly its technical operation became invisible.
As I worked with these new materials – Eleven Rack, Les Paul, Frank’s keyboards, Bob’s ‘echo drums and stem – a new piece of music emerged, relatively quickly and effortlessly by comparison to earlier works. The final arrangement is presented here in Figure 6: