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tuesday, august 31st 1999
kick off with 'cuttooth', the song with little structure and the only certainty is a bass riff. it makes you wonder how 'neu' did their thing - it always sounds spontaneous on those 12 minute epics, but did they have to rehearse intensely? did it require a degree of editing? then move on to the 'c minor song' - jonny thinks that maybe it's getting a little too tasteful and nice and he's right. it sounds too slick. finish with 'optimistic'.
wednesday, september 1st 1999
i read a rumour from the internet [never believe a single nuance - sd] that we are supposed to be collaborating with 'godspeed you black emperor' on 'how to disappear' - this person cited a number of chance occurences, including such impossible coincidences as 'they came to see us at a gig'. if that were sufficient corroborating evidence then, judging on the bands i've seen recently, you can hear us with 'the divine comedy' and the mighty 'asian dub foundation'.
twice around 'follow me around' - mmm. not great, but salvaged by 'you and whose army' - jonny thinks that voice and guitar are all that's needed until the end part; and it sounds right; or at least it's definitely a place to start. run through 'optimistic', cuttooth', and 'up on the ladder' for nige, who's down for the day to do some wiring and 'studio arranging'.
thursday, september 2nd 1999
i have, up until now, never written a diary about what we've been doing; largely due to lethargy, but also because there are times when you have no desire whatsoever to document a particular occasion. and anyway i've always been suspicious of those who, like bill wyman, record such daily details. great bass player, though. but what has been interesting about this is that for me this is first time i am aware of the cyclical nature of our behaviour; patterns emerge. today was much like a day four weeks ago. things came to a head. and although you wish that there weren't days like this, it actually probably aids the creative process. so maybe the next few rehearsals will be great. time to swig back a bottle of wine and contemplate the frail nature of it all.
friday, september 3rd 1999
after only 2 months rehearsal and 3 months recording, it's been concluded that what we should be doing now is trying to get basic arrangements. we're like fucking lasers, us. we spend almost the entire rehearsal working on 'cuttooth' (the song with no arrangements up until now) and surprise, surprise, it already sounds a lot better. when you have a song that does not have the usual distinction between verse/chorus/middle eight, there need to be other markers that define the way the song progresses. and we're getting there.
tuesday, september 7th 1999
there seemed to be a lot of breaks today, which often means that we're worrying about something. recording worries over whether the 'canned applause' mobile setup will be ready. management swing by to answer fraught questions and generally alleviate anxieties. oh yes, music is what we're about (easily forgotten sometimes) and 'everything in its right place' sounds good.
wednesday, september 8th 1999
a good and long rehearsal. pick up where we left off on 'everything' and move swiftly on to 'optimistic' - it's blinding - definitely the most formed of the songs to put to tape - it comes from the swamp. the music is interrupted by the new bulletin board on our all-new singing and dancing website. v. exciting. and of course most of the messages posted are concerned with the atrocities in east timor. what's the betting that international forces fail to enter east timor before mass genocide is once again committed. if this sounds flippant - it's not meant to - sorry. back to the music - return to 'up on the ladder' -thom has a new arrangement - start stripping the song apart - already sounding better.
thursday, september 9th 1999
'knives out' sounding quite 'smiths-esque'. especially phil who has got that mike joyce thing down to a tee. on to 'optimistic' -must record that soon before we lose it (remember 'lift'?). 'up on the ladder' sounds pretty grim. 'say the word' (or c-minor song); great drum, bass and vocals - personally getting a bit anxious over it, as i can't find anything that works with it, or rather i have an idea but can't get the sound right. makes me a bit neurotic. finish on what i used to call the 'jonny scott walker song' - very short and sweet.
last diary piece for a couple of weeks. how was it for you? i'm finding it a little difficult to set the right tone, but as i'm not a journo i guess that's fair enough. hopefully this is going to be an ongoing thing throughout recording and maybe even touring, so it will get better.