Austin, Day Twelve


Monday is just beautiful. If summer days in Glasgow were like this I’d start believing in God. So thank fuck they’re damp and freezing because that would be a chore. Not to say deeply embarrassing.

There are some large chestnut type objects falling from the trees around here, somewhere between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball. They hit the tin roof of my bedroom with a wet thud and roll off sounding not unlike a squirrel beheading. I have yet to be hit by one. I calculate the odds as being fairly slim so will regard it as extraordinary good fortune should I be struck. Only then will I bother to find out what they are.

Monday and Tuesday are listening days, figuring out some edits and mutes and what remains to be overdubbed. Things sound good, things sound American and that is the desired outcome. I hear that warm low end you get from US studios that’s so impossible to reproduce in Europe. I suspect US voltage has a lot to do with it when you’re using so much vintage analogue gear but Mr. McC is a true master of that big fat sound. I realise how good the musicians are from this more relaxed perspective where I’m not listening with paranoid intensity to figure out what the hell they’re doing but just sitting back and enjoying the vibe. Making records is the weirdest thing. The mood you’re in when you listen to stuff is so critical to your evaluation. In the past I’ve spent days and days tracking vocals on one song and done comp after comp only to decide it’s all shit. Then later I’ll let it ride and the thing I hated ends up on the album and it sounds fine. After recording Revolver, Paul McCartney went on holiday with the tapes and decided it was all out of time and out of tune. I try to remember that. I try to make sure it’s all out of time and out of tune.

There’s another presidential debate tonight and after weeks of liberal hand-wringing over Obama’s limp performance in the first round, all eyes are on the president. They want him to be more aggressive, take the initiative, get negative. Me, I want him to do what he does. Keep looking and sounding reasonable and wait for Romney to blow it, which he will. It’s the Andy Murray strategy. Either that or just slowly cross the podium before the first question and slap him four times across both cheeks with a fine leather glove: “You. Suck. Satan’s. Cock.”

News from home reaches me that Scotland are losing to Belgium. This has the equivalent effect on me as hearing that a pensioner has been hit by a taxi in Middlesborough. A vague ache of mild disappointment in the inevitable.

The rain drips outside the bunker like melancholy. Texas is moist and moody. We beaver away within, bathing in the synthetic glow of a computer screen lost inside the madcap laboratory of sound.