probably the most enjoyable task i have attended to over these long winter months has been my mixing and production work on the forthcoming album from the majestic a native hundred, soon to emerge via our beloved decorative stamp, in but two weeks in fact. for those of you not yet familiar with the name, might i take this opportunity to shed a little light on the subject, whilst also giving myself a chance to outline some of the most pertinent facts in the case.
a native hundred is the solo project from my dear friend rhys jon baker, perhaps better known as the lead vocalist, guitarist and joint-composer within the awesome wild dogs in winter, who are without a shadow of a doubt my favourite uk band, if not my current favourite band full stop. rhys and i met back in the days of the fbcfabric & reindeer live band, and how thankfully, our paths have had many a good chance to cross since then, and so this collaboration can really be seen as a beautiful inevitability more than anything.
last summer i believe, i happened to drop rhys a line to catch up with him and see what he was up to, and to quiz him on two loose native hundred songs i had discovered on his bandcamp page, and whether there were any more in the pipeline and, as if by magic, some weeks later a package arrived at the decorative stamp safehouse with a copy of the first native hundred release, rhys' beautiful book of poetry and a cd-r filled with a whole, seriously good, album's worth of new songs.
naturally, i was somewhat beside myself with excitement and quickly attempted to twist rhys' arm into releasing them on the stamp, and how he was gladly more than willing to get involved. so, some time passed as the organisational cogs slowly turned, and windows of opportunity were opened, til at last i found myself holed-up in the studio with all the stems for all these beautiful songs ready to begin making the mixes. not only that, but we had reached out to the masterful jamie romain who had blessed us with a host of remarkable cello additions to boot. glory days indeed.
still, since rhys is a damned-good sport, and since i simply couldn't resist, he kindly gave me carte blanche to have more than the mildest tinkerings with the songs, allowing me to expand on his original arrangements, introduce additional instrumentation, field recordings, clatterings and bangings et al, in order to turn his wonderful selection of eight songs into the most epic monster album i possibly could, and all in the space of six short weeks. it was a hectic and intense period but one which has certainly yielded such magnificent results.
so now, here we are, all poised to receive the final mastered version back from the exceptional hands of stephen baxter, aka beatoven, aka the electronics-guy in wild dogs in winter, and shall soon be on our way to making it available to the world at large via the mighty stamp. all i shall say is expect something truly amazing indeed; a staggeringly beautiful album where post-rock meets shoegaze, meets indie-folk, meets electronica. without a doubt already one of my favourite albums of 2012. so, be sure to start letting your excitement build, i wholeheartedly assure you, it shall be very much worth it.
keep warm, take care