|Listen to a CD-quality audio excerpt|
My approach to recording this piece was very stream-of-consciousness: I'd listen to a little section of the original recording and then start putting things on tape while the memory was fresh. Some little chunks of the song sound very much like the original, others not at all...all decisions were made on the spur of the moment, I didn't work on the arrangement at all until the tape was rolling. I'd work on each little section until it was completed, and then move on to the next. So rather than starting, for instance, with a drum part that lasted the length of the song and then overdubbing on that, I'd learn a tiny little chunk of song - let's say, just as an example, seven seconds of music - and record all the parts. This is a strange but very organic way of working, and the arrangement kind of emerges of its own volition.
Another odd result of working this way is that we didn't assign specific instruments to specific channels, and when I began work on a chunk of music I might've decided to start with drums, guitar, keys, bass or vocal and built from there, so each of the eight channels features a constantly evolving assortment of sound generators...if you listened to any one channel on its own you might hear a guitar, then a bass, then a vocal, a drum fill, a piano part etc. all in quick succession. That's why the instruments move around the stereo spectrum in such a random fashion.
The first two or so minutes were recorded in a few hours one day in December; a couple of weeks later, in January, I returned for a few more hours and did the last three minutes of the piece. Two nights after that I went back and did the mix in about an hour. My goal was to create something very quickly and energetically with little or no time to consider options...just get in there and do it.
No computerizing at all -- everything was played manually including the drum parts which were done on a keyboard. I can't remember what kind of keyboard Wes has...when I get into creation mode I use everything within reach and don't stop to check brand names. Basically the instruments used were Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster, Washburn acoustic/electric, Wes' bass collection, Wes' synthesizer (for keyboard and drum parts) and my throat (for vocals).