Until You Remember

May 23, 2013 11:01 AM

It's the summer of 1990, we're in a flat at the bottom of Muswell Hill, and my friend Graham and I have just got back from the pub, so naturally we fire up the ancient 4-track reel to reel and the shiny new SR16 drum machine, and record this... the first ever song I multitracked properly. Rescued off a long-forgotten cassette. I'm sure everything was recorded with an SM58.

posted by unSane (15 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

This is really great. The sr16 sounds remarkably good/period appropriate on this - i used to have one and struggled with programming full songs on the thing. My partner came in the room and said "Hey, who is this?" - that's a compliment, trust me. I'm digging the guitars as well.
posted by dubold at 12:04 PM on May 23, 2013

I can't remember what the guitars were... I think the 12-string was a weird Hohner Telecaster (that I really liked actually) and the other one was probably some cheap jazzmaster knockoff. I'm sure it was all through a fizzy distortion pedal into an Roland Jazz Chorus.

At the time I really wanted to try and combine the Lotus Eaters and REM with Dinosaur Jr, and they're all kind of there but they sit a bit oddly together...
posted by unSane at 1:48 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is great!
posted by tarpin at 3:51 PM on May 23, 2013

My favourite bit is the almost random modulation into the bridge at 2'15.

There seems to be some reverb on the vocal but I have NO IDEA AT ALL how we did that since we didn't have anything in the way of outboard.

I dearly loved that SR16. In fact I've thought about getting one again. I found it very easy to program and I used it for everything for years. We even gigged with it a few times as a power duo. The samples sounded great and it taught me how to drum. I think it's one of the great unsung pieces of musical equipment, actually.
posted by unSane at 7:31 PM on May 23, 2013

That's a great sound, man. I love old lo-fi recordings. And yeah, that drum machine sounds surprisingly great.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:50 AM on May 24, 2013

yes yes yes yes! This is such a great capsule, sounds amazing.
posted by Corduroy at 1:04 PM on May 24, 2013

That was such a great era of music, just before grunge and emo took off, this awkwardly positive era that produced the sundays, the blake babies, early sterolab, magnetic fields etc, and your song has that same exact feeling, takes me back. What a time-trip, I love this.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:52 PM on May 25, 2013

I picked up the acoustic today and played this straight through without even a wobble. It must really be burned into my brain. I really like the c#m amaj7 e riff still.
posted by unSane at 5:27 PM on May 26, 2013

(But the e b a jangle bit at the end of the chorus is too clearly an REM ripoff... Something from Chronic Town, no?)
posted by unSane at 5:29 PM on May 26, 2013

Oh yeah, the hook from 'Shaking Through'.
posted by unSane at 5:45 PM on May 26, 2013

You just have to re-record this! Never mind about whether it borrows from REM or anyone else. I've found from experience that stuff that I thought sounded a bit like a steal rarely gets picked up by anyone else - you can sometimes hear connections that either aren't there are are too obscure/transient for anyone else to pick up. Anyway - chord progressions aren't really subject to copyright.
posted by Hoops McCann at 1:02 PM on May 27, 2013

UnSane: Did you multitrack the vocals? maybe the reverb sound is coming from the natural chorus effect of two vocal tracks?
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:10 PM on May 27, 2013

No, this has just my vocal track and Grahams harmony. I remember we used to bounce a lot but I can't quite figure out what we must have done here. I may even have the 1/4" tape lying around somewhere...
posted by unSane at 5:18 PM on May 27, 2013

Really good track. It takes me back to my days in the rural midwest and gas signs that read 89 cents a gallon! Thank you for uploading! -WaJt
posted by wearejustalkin at 3:57 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

My co-conspirator Graham just cam across this and this is what he said:
Ah yes remember it well. Used to really enjoy thrashing out a song or 2 after the pub, and always liked this track, though I think it could have been '91. Anyway, the SR16 was indeed a great machine, great sound for it's time, but my memory is of using a Fostex cassette 4-track? not a 1/4 inch, and as you say with no reverb......also that the vocals were done balancing the mic on the corner of the tall mantle piece Any chance you're going to resurrect any more of the Priory rd demos? Everything Begins?
I think he's right on all points. We balanced the mic on the mantlepiece because we didn't have a mic stand. I'll try to dig out some more of this stuff.
posted by unSane at 12:08 PM on June 4, 2013

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