Album 9

1. Brighten Up Shop (Sanchez – Sutherland)
2. Houseboy (Sutliff)
3. May 2012 (Sutliff)
4. Up To You Down To Me (Sutherland)
5. It Wasn’t My Idea (Sutliff)
6. Great Divide (Sutliff)
7. Scant Informationy (Sanchez)

8. Wedding Bell Ring (Sutliff)
9. Selfish Modern (Sanchez)
10. Long Time Ago (Sutliff)
11. Let If Go (Sutliff)
12. Lightning Life (Sanchez)
13. Light In Your Window (Sutherland)
14. Sailing To The Edge (Parnell – Sanchez – Stevens)

14 May 2013

Almost three years to the day, Donovan’s Brain is once again starting a new album. There has actually been no gap in activity. The business of releasing Turned Up Later has kept the ideas for the next album on the back burner, until now. There are several songs left over from the last round of recording. Not sure which of these will be part of a new album. Bobby was writing right up to his accident. As soon as he was on the mend, he picked up where he had left off. There is a long list of songs and ideas to be reviewed.

Scott Sutherland has also been busy as well. Substantial work was done on Kelp Whip in the fall of 2012, but it was a bit too late to consider for inclusion on Turned Up Later. The second draft of Down To Me, Up To You has had some work done on it, and is scheduled for the first drum session in June.

We are also starting work on a version of Sincerely for a Dwight Twilly tribute to be released by Zero Hour. This is also on the list for the June 7th drum session.

The reviews of Turned Up Later have been encouraging. That album was a deliberate attempt to balance Bobby’s and Ron’s song writing styles. The critics have picked up on this.

8 June 2013

DrumsDonovan’s Brain rarely rests. Recording has continued uninterrupted since 1988. The three years spent making Turned Up Later produced enough material for a second album. In January 2012 a proposed running order was drawn up.

As soon as it was decided to complete these 13 songs, Bobby and Ron began another round of writing and recording. Two songs from sessions in early 2012 did appear on the finished album. The remaining material was set aside for the follow up. The Brain returned to the studio one more time in July to record a song for the Skrang album and to add drums to four songs which were earmarked for album 8.

This was not the first time two albums were recorded at the same time. Tiny Crustacean Light Show and The Great Leap Forward were the product of a very productive period. It became very clear that there were two distinct albums within the material we had. This was again the case with the wealth of tracks recorded for Turned Up Later and the follow up. A couple of songs have now been abandoned and a few ideas shelved for the moment. One of the more promising tracks, Sun Goes had been overhauled with only a complex end section remaining from the original. The front section may return in another form.

This week’s drum session has put five of the newer songs onto the A-list. Bobby sent over two songs one new and one rediscovered in his demo folder. We had begun work on Scott’s Up To Me in December. The first draft was reviewed and sent back for revisions. Bobby has offered to add vocals and guitar to the work Scott and Ron had done. With the drums now in place further work will be done on this. Ron had a new one titled Ministry Of False Alarms. Once this began to take shape, it was clear the end section of Sun Goes could be grafted on to the arrangement.

The last song worked on yesterday is new piece inspired by a line of lyric contributed by Stuart Moxham from Young Marble Giants. The first attempt at adding drums wasn’t suitable for the song idea. A second pass nailed it, wrapping up a successful day. There are plans for the first drum take. More about that later.

23 June 2013

June, 2013The second sessions this month were primarily dedicated to work on a new Deniz Tek album. When Den learned we we starting back to work he thought it would be a good idea to join in. Four new ideas were assembled while Deniz was in France. Ric and Den finessed the tracks which were recorded in an afternoon. At the end of the day there was an exploratory jam session to see what might develop. The day was considered a major success. Deniz will return later this summer for further work.

While researching the archives for Turned Up Later, I finally found a very old demo which had gone missing. This must have been recorded at least 15 years ago. Listening to it again, I decided we should try to record a master take. I rearranged the very short song and played it for Ric. I had some ideas, but Ric did too. Several drum takes were attempted. The final pass distilled the best ideas into the final take. This is the second of the miniatures I’ve done for possible inclusion on the next record.

4 July 2013

Now that the first sessions for the new albums have taken place, it is clear on both accounts things are moving forward better than planned. The first order of the day for the Brain was to sort through the mountain of material and prioritize the work. There were at least 28 pieces that were looked at. There is in fact even more, but these were not considered suitable for the new album. 19 songs and two demos were assembled and passed on to the band for comments. It’s unlikely the band will stop writing any time soon, so this list will evolve over the next few months.

Collage of InstrumentsWhile waiting on new submissions, it is now time to get some work done. A new guitar was incentive to do some major repairs on a track Colter demoed for Turned Up Later. The one called Going Back To California suffered from a badly recorded guitar part. Bass, drums and organ had been added early on, but no further work was attempted. Two guitar tracks were added to the rhythm track. The existing bass part was recorded before the drums were added and will need to be updated.

The next one up was a real gem from Bobby Sutliff. May 2012 was the last track he recorded before his accident. Ric added drums to the rough mix that Bob had sent over. One year later Bob was able to local the files and send over the individual tracks. These were added to the project with no problem. When I first heard this, I got an idea for a guitar part that would play a counter melody to Bob’s main guitar. Once I sat down I found the part I had been thinking of and worked it out. Bob’s original directions said not to add too much to the track. I resisted the urge to add a bit of organ to the middle section. This has been sent Back to Ohio for approval.

It now seems like it’s time to get the Twilly track finished up.