This is when the way I recorded my music all changed!
Up until this point, I had used a Tascam 488 8-track cassette-based portastudio, as on this page. This first ‘Silko’ EP was recorded using an iMac and a computer programme, Logic, by German company Emagic. This opened up a whole new world of digital recording, audio and midi editing, and ‘VSTs’ i.e. virtual instruments and loops. My 350MHz Blueberry iMac was significantly underpowered compared to the computers of today – it’s amazing I got it to produce some of the sound in this music. It was often on the verge of crashing with the amount of processing I was asking it to do.
The CD of the EP featured four interchangeable covers: the images next to the tracks.
Part mess, part ‘ok’ track, Saviour kicks off the EP as possibly the weakest of the six tracks. I’m not sure the grime loop that comes in for the chorus works and the arrangement is rather analogue. Where’s the rhythm to go with the bass?
It’s as if I simply used Logic as if it were my portastudio, save for putting an effect or two on my voice, using a couple of loops and trying out automation on the faders. The lyrics are about finally getting myself a boyfriend, I think, hence ‘Saviour,’ ‘we got there in the end.’ I quite like the acapella harmonies at the close of the song and the chorus employs a rising-falling-rising chord sequence, which is one of my favourite music ideas.
Big beats and upbeat, Joyful gets the party going. I remember the drum loops are in a random order, to try to keep the listener surprised (or that was the idea). I had fun discovering discovering new sounds and new possibilities with making music on a computer.
An unashamed pop song, Boyfriend tries to throw everything at the listener: finger clicks, tamborines, acoustic guitars, shimmering keyboards all underpinned by a rock-solid rhythm section. The bass line “borrows” from Racing For The Prize by The Faming Lips by using the “wrong” root notes for the chords. The ‘buh duh duh dups’ are “influenced” by Saint Etienne. Surely a dish made from my favourite ingredients would be a sure-fire winner? The lyrics are about having one-night stands. Sweet, eh?
Computer Magazine said Message ‘really is something special’. Read their full review. Subtle measured use of samples, keyboards, loops and effects, and featuring possibly one of my best recorded bits of singing. I’m proud of this track, still.
A simple idea and a better version than the parent track, this reprise takes the basic melody and accompaniment, and progressively washes it out with digital reverb. ‘Silver reverb,’ which came with this is early version of Logic, was very primitive compared to today’s impulse reverbs, but I think sounds great here.
Follow You, Follow You
An acoustic cover of the Genesis hit from their And Then There Were Three album, Follow You, Follow Me aims to showcase my ability to turn out solo-guitar-and-vocal versions of great songs. This was a bonus track.
All tracks written by Brian Silk © 2002, except Follow You, Follow Me, which was written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford.
All instruments, programming and singing by Brian Silk. Recorded by Brian Silk.
Artwork by Brian Silk.