The recording process for “Tales of Dark and Light” is very different to how I have worked before. Most of the tracks are initially worked up on the ukulele, but the difference with these recordings is that the vocal melodies are then worked up to piano. The piano is extremely unforgiving and I continue to be surprised and impressed by how well this works. 

Today I was working on a new track “Grey Skies” and this is an excellent example of figuring out exactly what works in terms of the right rhythm and getting the best lyrical expression. I’m reminded that the piano is a percussive instrument and as my producer comments “There’s nowhere to hide!” We are back in the studio in two weeks to add additional vocals and harmonies to the six tracks already recorded. Carl Rosamond continues to do a superb job recording, mixing and mastering this material.

Some of the tracks are stripped back to a single instrument and vocals and others with be quite multi layered with some really superb musicians. Although material is written on ukes, the finished tracks have a variety of instruments including double bass, piano, violin, percussion. I’m looking at adding banjo and lap steel to further tracks. This is proving to be a wonderfully creative period and I have absolutely no idea how it will turn out, but for now it’s one hell of a ride!

After I get back from playing in New York, I’ll be back in the studio with guest musicians Phil Doleman and Laurent Zeller. Both are absolutely top draw musicians and its fascinating to hear these tracks take shape. Agi’s vocals and harmony vocals also add a different dimension to these recordings and although there is a big variety of material, its very recognizable as having a definite theme. 

Working up tracks – vocal and piano combinations

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