It is currently Fri Feb 26, 2021 12:39 am

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:30 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:06 pm
Posts: 30
This has just gone online and it's wonderful. John gives great insight about his favourite PJ recordings and it's specially interesting to read his memories about the making of ITD?

https://t.co/kNWMnHxB3g?amp=1


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:50 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2016 2:23 pm
Posts: 219
Fascinating read, thank you! Reposting some of my favourite bits below for posterity's sake (in case The Quietus ever goes down).

On making Dance Hall at Louse Point:

Quote:
I was working as a lecturer on a performing arts course and the theatre director had done a college touring production of Hamlet. It was a very abrasive production, quite confrontational, and he wanted some music for various parts of the performance and asked me to write whatever I wanted and put together a band of students to play it. It was very liberating, because up until then I'd always written songs, which in my mind tended to need to be three and half minutes long, and probably have a chorus. This was the first time I'd tried writing something that a) wasn't going to have any words and b) could 30 seconds long or seven minutes long. It was very liberating for me as a writer, so I wrote some pieces I thought were good, and which I didn’t think sounded like anything else I was listening to or had heard.

Polly was probably making Rid Of Me around this time, or had just recorded it, so she was back around and we used to hang out, so she came and helped me record and engineer a couple of pieces, and she was really enthusiastic about it. She came to see the show, loved all the music and I think she was at a stage where she didn’t want to have the trio anymore – she's a restless creative spirit she didn’t want to keep doing the same thing, she wanted a challenge. So I went away and wrote a whole bunch of music for her, which pretty much were the actual recordings for a lot of the stuff we used on the record. Then during the To Bring You My Love tour we obviously spent a lot of time on planes and in hotel rooms, and she had a lot of time to listen to demos and come up with words. Over the course of the tour Polly would drop round cassettes of her singing over my demos to my hotel room. They were always exciting and surprising, none more so than ‘Taut', which sounded utterly unhinged, and completely original. It's 25 years since we did it, and it still holds up pretty well.


On making Is This Desire:

Quote:
On my version of Is This Desire, ['Nina in Ecstasy'] is track one side one. An absolutely beautiful song. … It ended up not even on the record which I think was a great shame, but to me, that is probably the most compromised album that Polly's made, largely to do with the time over which it was made. … There were two long recordings sessions and almost a year's gap between them. It’s very difficult to sustain the identity of a record like that. It was also the only record where the record company came in and had a degree of creative input, which had never been sanctioned on any of the other records, certainly none of the other records I was involved with. The record company often never heard anything until they got the mastered album!

I’m not saying it's always good to keep everything out of their hands, but on this album there were a couple of people who I felt took advantage of the fact Polly wasn't very well at that time. Normally she's so decisive and strong about what she feels, about what's going to happen, but on that record she wavered in the middle. I still think it's a really good record, the songs were great, but I felt some of them weren't as great as they could have been.

A couple of things didn’t make it onto the record that should have done, in my opinion. Most importantly, 'Nina In Ecstasy’, which I think is one of Polly's best songs – another one where the recording is the demo. It would have been bold to put it as the first song on the record but I think Polly's career generally was made up of bold moves, that was one time when it didn’t happen, and in my opinion it should have happened.




Is This Desire was made over two lengthy sessions, with almost a years’ gap between them, which I think led to a kind of disjointed album with some of the songs being unnecessarily reworked.

The bulk of the first session took place in a small studio in Yeovil, so it was much more Heath Robinson setup, and the second session, most or all of it took place in a huge expensive London studio, so there were differences in the technical capabilities of the studio, but the same musicians basically in both sessions and same producers and engineers.



The thing that made the most difference was that Polly probably changed during the making of it, as I said, she wasn't very well for a long time in the middle. I think it was hard for her over that huge amount of time to maintain focus.


On making White Chalk:

Quote:
We recorded it in Flood's own studio, which was basically like a garage somewhere in Kilburn. Kind of scuzzy, the wi-fi didn’t work very well, and it was cold. We were there for ages making that record.


On making Let England Shake:

Quote:
When I heard the ['Written on the Forehead'] demo I loved it – she used a lot of samples when she was putting [Let England Shake] together, only one or two of which we ended up using. Sometimes we would recreate things, for instance ‘The Words That Maketh Murder’, where we played a bastardised version of ‘Summertime Blues’ when she had recorded a demo to it. In some places, using the actual sample would have held the song back, as loops and samples often do. The Niney sample was so great there was never a question about using it. There is something brilliant about Flood's engineering of it. The sample doesn’t actually work over the last third of the song – on the demo it sounded really cranky, which I never noticed until we started rehearsing it. We had to take it out for live shows, but on record Flood did something with the frequencies to make it fit, which was a genius piece of engineering.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 6:01 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 22, 2020 11:50 am
Posts: 20
Cracking read.

Logged on to post the article myself!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 7:59 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:18 pm
Posts: 345
Excellent stuff, thank you.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:29 am 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:22 pm
Posts: 2349
Location: ~ +38.4, -122.7
Yes, excellent read. Thanks desparateK!

Chapter 7 of Blandford's biography is interesting regarding the tapes for Is This Desire:

Page 109:
"She went into the Small World Studios at Yeovil in April (1997), to put down the material she had ready and by June had submitted no less than 8 tapes to Island
containing a variety of alternate recordings of every song that would end up on the eventual album as well as all the B-sides and an early version of "The
Faster I Breathe the further I go". It would appear that a tentative master was produced kicking off with "Is This Desire" and closing with "The Faster I
Breathe", but the project was to stumbling block when Polly sat down to listen to a track that disturbed her. That track was "My Beautiful Leah"."

Page 110 describes Polly taking a 3 month camping vacation to the US starting out in San Francisco and on her return to the UK living in John Parish's Bristol
flat (with Maria Mochnaz, who John was married to at the time) and reworking all the material with help from John and Maria.

Page 113:
"In March 1998 Harvey went back into the studio to pick up work on the next album, this time returning to the Townhouse Three Studio in London where she
had worked on To Bring You My Love, and "totally re-recorded a lot of the songs, replaced vocals on other songs, remixed everything and basically sort of started
again." Once again, the process began by transferring Polly's own four-track demos onto a multi-track recorder, which was then used to build layers over the bare
foundations..."

"The entire collection of tapes handed over to Island from the 1998 Desire sessions betray just how much work had gone into the album, with a mind-boggling
number of versions of each song filling individual reels, as well as the intriguingly abandoned cut titled "Summer's End". Even the B-sides had been overhauled
repeatedly..."

_________________
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JelqPcoaAB8"


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:18 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:18 pm
Posts: 345
All those references to tapes must be from the second edition (I only have the first - the information in that all comes from the ITD interview disc). I wonder where the details came from? Someone at Island, perhaps?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:52 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:06 pm
Posts: 30
DrDark wrote:
Yes, excellent read. Thanks desparateK!

Chapter 7 of Blandford's biography is interesting regarding the tapes for Is This Desire:


thank you for transcribing this from the biography, my copy's been at my mother's for ages and all these details weren't fresh in my memory. I woud love to see ITD? turned into a well researched study for the 33 1/3 book series, it's the kind of record that has an interesting background, a complicated creation process and a lot of things to analyse of the songs themselves (content, sound choices).


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:00 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:18 pm
Posts: 345
desperateK wrote:
... a well researched study for the 33 1/3 book series ...


What a brilliant suggestion! I've just finished reading the one on the Banshees' Peepshow. If only I was at all musical ...!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 11:13 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:18 am
Posts: 121
Does the 2nd edition of the biography go beyond the 2003 tour? My copy just mentions the new songs she’d been playing then, but UHH hadn’t been announced yet. Does the update include it (and beyond)? Are any other chapters updated besides the ITD one?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2021 12:59 am 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:22 pm
Posts: 2349
Location: ~ +38.4, -122.7
Yes, the second edition updates it to the UHH era, and a bit further since it was published in 2006.

I wrote this over 10 years ago:
https://www.mediafire.com/file/dh1nyg1yzjn/Changes_for_PJ_Harvey_2004_biography_by_James_Blandford.txt/file

_________________
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JelqPcoaAB8"


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2021 3:05 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:18 am
Posts: 121
Thank you so much for providing that, Dr Dark.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2021 8:13 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:18 pm
Posts: 345
DrDark wrote:
I wrote this over 10 years ago:

That's so good to have, thank you! I now feel under no obligation at all to find a copy, which pleases me as part of me wants never to have to look at that book again. I resent the fact that the only sustained piece of prose about my idol is so bad, especially when there are little bits which hint that Mr Blandford can actually write half-decently when he wants to - the account of the DHLP gig at Sheffield which suggests he may have been there, and the remark about UHH 'mirroring the listener rather than the artist', that's good. I don't know whether that last sentence is supposed to be taken as parody or not ...
The repeated references to tapes does suggest he found someone at Island prepared to talk to him; or possibly those tapes found their way onto the market somehow and he got sight of them.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron