[Here is Paddy's third article for the Newsletter. It appeared in the seventh issue (late Summer 1980).]
Nearly a year has passed since the "record" button was first pressed on the big tape-recorder that sits in the corner at Air Studios. I recall it was a Sunday. The Salvation Army provided ambient fanfares as they marched far below on Regent Street while we sat on the long bench-seats and listened to themes from Westerns, train-whistles, whip-lashes and deep-voiced session-cowboys--ingredients to be sifted, mixed and baked into a special wedding cake.
The recent stage-show provided two yet-unrecorded songs in the form of Violin and Egypt, which were to reveal some surprises in their studio portrayal. A superimposition of the past on the future resulted in the up-tempo Kasbah version of Egypt [the live version of this song, which is markedly different from the LP recording] being transformed in the fulness of the studio into the dynamics of a cinematographic epic. The instruments and voices of old and new civilisations are now swimming togeher, hopefully, in a Nile of vinyl, but as we recorded the basic track, an aeroplane took off in Cairo and brought us Kevin Burke, who was to provide the fiddle-playing for Violin unusually coupled with Alan Murphy's stratosphere rocket-assisted guitar solo. Together--sheer violunacy reigns. Then came a song about goodbyes, hellos and heaven: it offers me hope and means a great deal to me. Many of my heros are there; their music will never blow away.
Air is a bouncy kind of place. The control-room is mounted on rubber blocks as part of their sound-control system, so when you jump up and down very hard, the entire room wobbles like jelly on your plate. This extraordinary phenomenon can only be coupled with the control-room sound-insulation system of Abbey Road Studio number Two, which is equally extraordinary. Masses of magic seaweed are packed into the ceiling. The principle is hard to pin down but it makes predicting the weather exceptionally efficient. This particular seaweed's function turned out eventually to be to absorb the six remaining tracks.
Musicians gathered in this large studio, their music spanning backgrounds from ancient to science fiction. They hide behind towering baffle-screens, asking for more level in their cans; they tune their viols, they digitalise their basses. Faces are lit by the green lights of computer music systems [the Fairlight]. The red light is now on, the seaweed points to gale force 8. Heroes walk in and out of the control-room [probably a reference to All We Ever Look For]. "Cossacks smash their glasses take 2" (glasses smash again) [reference to Babooshka]. "Can I have some more balalaikas in my cans, please?" The seaweed is drinking up Delius, Breathing, Army Dreamers and All We Ever Look For.
Strangely enough, I regard these four tracks as love-songs-- perhaps not in the conventional sense, but I feel that they reflect an undying true love that my sister has for humanity. I believe that music reflects values, and that when you play this record you will be treated to an insight into Kate's view of the world. Over the last ten months some thirty musicians and myself witnessed her passionate persistence, the unsurpassable vitality of a complete artist unselfishly designing and producing and performing this album. This piece of plastic is a musical painting. We have been merely the tubes of pigment. Your ears are the canvas. Kate is the artist that brushes those impressions from your ears to your heart. I hope you may grow to consider this work as valuable as I.
©1990 Andy Marvick