Pok: final studio session of 2016

Pok and friends came for their final studio session of 2016 on Monday and Tuesday. It proved to be a particularly productive, constructive, enjoyable, precise and focused period of work. Pok and ourselves have been aiming towards being ready for an appearance of the incredible star-touched keyboard and piano wizard Jim Iz. Now we feel happy that there is something substantial present on our machines for all the tracks on which we plan to collaborate with Jim and his multi-dimensional talents.

So here is a brief account of what happened over the two days. First up, George laid down the 12-string on It’s A Blue Sky Don’t Hold No Rain. This was done using a Marshall condenser mic, replacing the previous and frightfully hissy audio recorded using an SM57. It means that now this piece is just waiting for Jim and Sven to add the finishing touches on keys and drums respectively before final mixing and mastering. We hope to be able to release it by the spring of next year.

We have not yet, at this moment in time, repaired the Alchemeon playlists, so if you would like to hear a very early version of It’s A Blue Sky Don’t Hold No Rain by Laughing Sun, please click here.

Continuing on with the same mic set-up, Pok then replaced the old (hissy, SM57) acoustic guitar with a shiny hiss-free new track to fit the new arrangement we made for Distanced Recognition. This was recorded on his Tanglewood and sounded both snapier and cheekier than the prvious recording, which was very pleasing.

The rest of Monday was spent reconstructing Crazy Mandy. We felt that the tempos were neither quick enough in the uptempo sections, nor slow enough in the downtempo sections.

Ignoring the previous guides, we set about making this song anew. Fedax laid down some beautiful rhythm and finger-picked Stratocaster guitar and once he had finished Maxx added the bass. He did a splendid job, providing both energy and sensitivity. By this time it was fairly late, so Sam retired for some office duties and the others that still remained went home.

When Tuesday dawned it was Pok‘s turn again. Leaping straight into action he laid down the other guitar track for Crazy Mandy on Broken Horn, his Gibson SG. This was beautifully realised, a perfect compliment to Fedax’s earlier Strat performance. Pok finished up by producing a blazing neo-Cuban solo for the end section.

The strings finished, it was time to add the vocals, which Pok did in great style. At the end he wanted to add a few different vocal parts, which we shall play with and mix in an ambient monastic fashion to round off the track.

During a tea-break discussion of the song it was described as being too simple to be complicated and too complicated to be simple, which seemed a fair enough assessment. Pok suggested it had elements of Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits, California Dreaming by the Mammas and Pappas and something perhaps by Marvin Gaye. George felt it had echoes of Now classics She Was Here and Not As Grey. Fedax suggested there must be an element of Enter Sandman by Metallica in there as well to add the extra gravitas and substance to the song that he felt was lacking in the previous suggestions. This also seemed at least semi-reasonable under the circumstances.

Amongst the various activities described above we also downloaded and critically evaluated some of the ambient sounds that Pok had gathered on his recent journeys. These are to be used on various tracks, including We Know You Well and Midnight Under the Tor. Finally we did a little engineering work to some of this great slab of new material to begin bending it into shape.

Pok‘s next visit to our studios will be in January and we hope that soon after that we will be able to add Jim’s keys. We also plan to make progress with the engineering side of things and may even have a couple of studio sessions with Pok‘s friends, such as Fedax, Maxx, George and Sven, to move some of these tracks forward further.

West Wind Blowing is the most recently finished track that we added to the Anthology album and it has been by far our most popular track at Bandcamp this month.

If you would like to download or listen to Pok’s Anthology album as it stands right now, you can do so by clicking here.