SUBSTUDIO JOURNAL

14 MAY 02: Creativity sparks again and Zjokka records a new countrylike ballad with heavy keyshift: Water into Wine.

12 MAY 02: A daring recording though unremarkably built on slick groovin', Softer Space in Time was conceived as a Channel One generic exercise, it betrays its reggae roots only in the semi-phase organ stabs on the backbeat. Vocals were completed the next day, resulting in a long awaited new substudio original. At last, I thought I was dying

08 MAY 02: Doctor Dub was the result of a long period of inactivity and writer's block, broken by the only way to turn lack of inspiration into creativity. The first automated mix I made, it cause the Mac to crash 4 or 5 times and I really can't remember when that happened for the last time. It's downloadable from the mp3 section in a standard showcase version, i.e. the dub version mixed straight into the regular track.

MID APR 02: Sudden HTML fixation.

09 APR 02: Hell Motel is a cowboy country track recorded with the direct intention of working on some story lyrics, but as it turns out the clue to the story is still implicit. Might be keeping it so and record some other snippets to continue the story of Dan Quickshot, Squire a cowboy who where ever he turns, is tempted by the devil in his many disguises. If he just would have read Sartre, it would have been ok, he would understand, but this is the 1860's, mind you, and the only hippie-looking individuals throw thomahawks at your white yankee ass --though they already discovered that peace and smoking go hand in hand... As I always says 'Life is hell on earth, ain't that a challenge?'

08 APR 02: Basic recording for an instrumental building on mono loops and a piano groove with a decisive latin feel to it, Hombre Supar Naturalis. Left the lead till the next to record a lead, which turned into a Kenny Burrellesq octave shifter, not quite original, but didn't do that yet, so had one shot at that. But needs some intelligent length and breaks edititing.

13-20-28 MAR 02: Root Mob! rehearsal sessions @ Roxy, Leuven. Building the website, mastering the audio, burning the cd's. Not like I made any money on it, rest assured.

21-22 MAR 02: Gia came over to do some basic recorded, for which I singled out (and Gia was happy to second) Hero Harry for recording. He threw down thebass, guitar parts and a guiding vocal with incredible ease. I recorded a more McCartneyesk humping bass over the metronelike percussion backing track and added some leslie organ floating. Not finished yet, but hard to keep the percussion tracks straight on the beat.

10 MAR 02: Crashed on another original: Down the Jericho Way, of which I tend to think that the commonplace of the title reflects the entire problem with the song, Doubled snares for snappiness, what still lacking, and it's not any of the instruments in particular. Chorus has got potential, but it's above my tone. Should take the the time to record on a repitched backing track. Bass needs simplification in the verses and so on and so forth...

08 MAR 02: New mix for 'Round & Round (Up 'n Down)', with a longer intro not supported by the acoustic. Could be bettered by putting current mix on previous arrangement. Vocal opening kinda off, too... Being writer's blocked again, reverted to recording Love Me Or Leave Me in a way to slow bluesy arrangement, that while I always wanted to record it in a even more uptempo fashion that Nina Simone's, which serves starting point here.

24 FEB 02: My 28th birthday. I played George Harrison's demo take of 'All Things Must Pass' released on Beatles Anthology 2. "On his 26th birthday (25th Feb '69, ZJ), George Harrison slipped into Abbey Road to tape his demo of what became the title track of his first solo album in 1970. He had spent part of the previous November at Big Pink, the Woodstock home studio where Dylan and The Band had based themselves since late 1966, and 'All Thing Must Pass' shows a distinct influence from that quarter. The wisest song never recorded by The Beatles, it was (like 'Isn't It A Pity') put forward during the 'Get Back' sessions, but ignored." (Ian McDonald, Revolution in the Head, 2nd edition, Pimlico, London 1998, p.302)

14 FEB 02: Time to work towards a decent mix of Must I Wait.

11 FEB 02: Recording Must I Wait was suspended until the day after, but the idea (the chorus) was still clear, and worked long on getting some acceptable chords right (C- G - D/F#) and put a somewhat unorthodox bridge (B7-B7/F# E7) to the new verse (Bm - Em7 - CMAJ7 -D/A). Dimi played the organ solo way before the vocal was recorded. The backing vocal with the falling glissando came on the second day, as did the piano part and the solo guitar and licks.

10 FEB 02: Had 'Must I Wait' already in my head, and put on the headphones to tune the acoustic, while I bumped unto this country saloon blues throwaway. Luxury Blues turned into a little generic exercise on working out the melody line with reed organ and hammond. Text is absolutely one take ad hoc, and the vocal suffers from being on the same track as the acoustic. Overdubbed a vocal which is a bit flat from time to time. As with any recording without click track, the feel is often the strength. For what it's worth.

08 FEB 02: Exactly one year this backing track (formerly Slo Time Blues, recorded 04 FEB 02) lie around being lazy and fat on my hard disk, to be voiced as Doctor Told Ya (Ezypiece'omind) on 04 FEB 02 aftter een stripping sessions, reducing the acoustic guitarparts to a limited number of strums that are repeated. I know the basslinebreak was going to center in the new version, but didn't see how until I changed it to what it is now. Moby like pianolines throughout, simple and ever-catchy; and solo's on music box (reversed in the breaks from a take that is in fact what you hear under the parlando break). The chorus is outright Israel Vibrations-inspired, and turns the tune thematically in the direction of a militant rockers song against shrinks. A likkle uneasy to the ear the first time perhaps, it still is bound to stick. Intend to eliminate the bass in the intro (over the piano) and the track needs to be miXed Up!

06 FEB 02: On hyperslow bluesrock loop at 54bpm, I tortured Nina Simone's Love Me Or Leave Me till there was nothing left. Don't know what inspires me to covers, often songs for which I've got sort of an arrangement for guitar and the problem is then that I cannot arrange a band on a guitar, I have to arrange in the sequencer, as I get along; and so the guitar arrangement is often too busy for the mix. Phaser on the doubletracked vocal in the laste verse is on the spot but a bit too loud

03 FEB 02: What the fuck was that drumloop thinking doing nothing on my hard disk. Must have been stone deaf, by the way, speaking of sensational deficiencies: I stole the progression in the chorus (E9- Eb9 - D9 / D9 -C#9 -C 9 -D9) for Round&Round (Up 'n Down) from Stevie (uses this pattern several times, I call it fake-jazz), only got a slightly differently feel. It also has an bridge that's recorded but unincluded in the mix because it's so darn happy in its outright major chording 'Gotta cheer, gotta smile, sing a happy song. It's take some happy people to sing a happy song'. Crazy J heard it, liked it and suggested I'd use a short piece of it anyway. We'll see, still the rest of the song carries too much aggression to allow for a sudden cheery atmosphere. Explicitly produced to be a single it clocks in nicely at 02:43 --trying hard to be a killer 45. Bass lines are not too freaky, but carry the track just right tought the electric piano only struggles through by being deep in the mix and off focus because of either vocal or harp solos. Secret to the 45 soul record; get all the catchiness process started in the listeners ear from slightly over the half of the song (first chorus). Pop tends to exploit good chorus by fronting the song with them (we call this trick the she-loves-you, after the Beatles song which although great, is not itself flattered by this procedure). The guitar parts which set the pace is based on something I worked out jamming with Stan while waiting almost 2 hours for the other bandmembers to show up. I always think I will remember those thing you play but you don't, better to make a song out of it to keep the chords. Vocals need to be redone, certainly in the last verse.

20 JAN 02: More meticulously constructed than perhaps any thing else, Gotta Get Alot remains unvoiced probably because of its overconstructed nature. The slide lead takes all the space, and something should replace the slide if supporting a vocal. Bass is too busy in the second measure of the verse loop. Dimi suggested the latin percussion, which works great both as intro and break.

10 JAN 02: The occasion of finding a super low quality stream of Jim White (at min 15) unreleased The Girl From Brownsville, Texas inspired a live take on this in this seemingly off-hand written gem. Some mistakes in the lyrics which I shortened to two verse and a repetition of the chorus, because it's a bit long. And it's really a shame because the lyrics are really masterfully molded in long strings of typical southern expressions 'n sayin's. One take and then a lot of vibe derived from a deep room reverb, which knocks out of the spectrum in the beginning, but stabilizes towards the middle of the song.

07 JAN 02: Fast mix of the dutch pop ballad Leeuwtje in order to put in on tape and put in under Bilie's door the day after, upon her return from Agadir. The occassion furthered the song, and though the uninspired melody of the verse are compensated not a much by the orginality though rather the sound of the chorus. A song naturally brimmed with internal contradiction, it seemed an thematic dictum to make accusatory/negative verses in major and a begging/positive chorus on minor chords. The gets some decisive direction from the functional, mood-inspiring lead guitar, but some of the vocals certainly need to be redone: especially the line 'en drink de laatste restjes wijn' and 'sinds jij op nieuwjaarsdag verdween'. A document, still...

12 DEC 01: Two o' clock in the morning: but the result is Slugs 'N Love, anew downtempo (72bpm) funkhop track. Features three movemnt, as yet unarranged (just pasted part I with electric guitar to the end of the thrid movement). Part I is a bass line starting in A to round off in a slide to D/G over which the electric piano plays a descending progression on Em - Em/D - Cmaj7+5 - Bm11+5

08 DEC 01: New mix for Strange Glow (#03) Somehow everything is turning into useless copies of copies, adding inappropriate bridges in lack of courage to write a last verse. There at least is some coherence with other recently finished tracks and eternal dissatisfaction with the vocals. Won't be long before we're through with this recording shit. I almost believed it was real myself, but I just hypnotized myself into believing it. That's why we got this far. But it's all just the byproduct of your mind trying to creating a heavenly situation, and you think it's something out there in the real world. It can have results and always will have -- just don't overestimate them and realised your mind was conditionned to transform random 'objects' into 'art' by conceiving arguments against the thesis they are objects in the philosophical sense. Fuck all.

30 NOV 01: After three days of hectic re-arrangement, break-doubling and new vocal overdubs (3 layers backing vocals) finally mp3-ed to a halt in a provisional draft downmix of Strange Glow. Wrote additional lyrics, three whole verses, one chorus and a inproptu extra break thing, recorded all but ommutied the last verse in the mix because it is so overtly religious. The downmix is anything but final, but it pushes the track more into the direction of a song structure which was primarily missing in the first downmix, which was never intended beyond rcording draft purposes. The spin off tape you take home after a nice day of recording when you got the feeling it still needs structural definition. Zjokka's interest in experiment with shout like lyrics based on verb describing motions in almost scandalous repetition of the 'Keep pushing!' theme in the recent Ole Times-mix, were it not that it has nicely evolved in a two-position-movement (push-pull) that miraculously grooves into the track. Lot of the piano overdubs let lean the track towards Bumpin' Booty, especially in the part where the strumming electric guitar sails in. There might be some album coherence after all. Uploaded this draft.

22-23 NOV 01: Nightly remix session, resulting in a more song-structured draft of Procrastination aka Cash Bar. Original recordings on 11 OCT 01 with Gianni playing the acoustic and Chef on the bass. Attempts to record a vocal on 14 OCT 01, resulted in some provisional ideas for a lyrics, but downmixes used for the voicing were righfully trashed.

New downmix with some arrangement changes for Wired for Sound, adding recently recorded slide guitar parts and a fade-in intro with the guitar lead theme. Additional drum parts in the outro removed.

21 NOV 01: New mix for Crazy Love accentuates the bass and mixing up the backing vocals.

14 NOV 01: New mix of Two Dollar Kid, a SubStudio dust collector champion originally recorded in April 2000. Work continued on this track until July of the same year, when electric guitar lines were added to the basic track which consists of a rhythm track (guitar & drums) from the Rolling Stones' 'Hot Stuff' (Black and Blue, 1973) interlaced with bass lines from a group that features great musicians but had the absolute stupidity to call themselves All Stars ('On My Mind'). If I remember well, the hammond honk is taken from a Big John Patton's 1995 Minor Swing album. New vocals were recorded on 13 NOV 01 adding some additional lyrics that sometimes don't maintain the bad boy stance of the initially basic lines and may therefore be considered inconsistent, were it not that these make an explicit reference to another tune in staple. This is a trick often used to fool listeners into hearing more album-consistency where there initially is none.

Few good concept albums, if any at all, existed as theoretical ideas before the songs were written. Sgt Pepper features some great music, but the concept breaks down the second track. The conceptual tightness of Wonder's all-killer-no-filler (AKNF) album Innervisions only comes after sitting back when work is done and listening at the auditive remnants of his being burnt onto magnetic tape. While working on the album on an almost daily bais for 7 months, Stevie thought of these songs were to be called 'Last Days of Easter': "It was about the last day of beauty. All horror and hypocrisy in the world today. People neglecting other people's problems. And what needs doing socially, spiritually and domestically. The cover was going to be and very old man who had been through it all and can now sit and look on at the confusion." Face it people: at least he is honest about the fact that he didn't have a clue what he was singing about at the time. An interview from around the time of release, which means the odd month after he has parted with his songs and delivered them for mastering, he's had the time to listen to what he's done with a better ear. The new title and its motivation (though never too analytically incisive) are an interpretation of the collection same songs which scores far better in my class: "Innervisions gives my own perspective of whate's happening in the world, to my people, to all people. That's why it took me seven months to get it together --I did all the lyrics-- and that's why I think it is my most personal album. I don't care if it sells only five copies -- this is the way I feel."

08 NOV 01: Remixed The New Ex, adding a sample from ' professional voice' Jack Dean who advertises his ability on his website by means of free downloadable mp3s. The mix is remarkably better that the previous attempts, but still got some problems concerning levels -- much louder than recent mixes. Lengthened to arrive at 03min28, which is acceptable. Bass is nice and puchny, Clear out some space in order to alternate more between the two stereo scratch-tracks rather than play them simultaneously. Introduce triplet drum breaks

06 NOV 01: Long remixing of Bumpin' Booty to arrive at something quite near to final, fixing the crackly high freq vocals as much as possible. Extra bass boost in the downmix puts the electric bass just enough upfront, while retaining enough treble and using some low-mid cut to clear out the superfluous noise from the acoustic guitar. Furthermore expanded the horn parts, and perhaps overdid it a bit (should certainly not be more, perhaps still a few cuts needed.)

02 NOV 01: Vocals for Ole'Times recorded 26 OCT 01 put into a new mix on the old backing track. The lyrics of the bridge have been changed at the omission of the slightly gerontophilic "You're never feeling lonely if you love an oldie". Vocals are doubletracked using a 'reverse reverb' which gives it perhaps too much ambience, but still fills up the space and places the vocal on the right spot in the mix.

26 OCT 01: Nightly session to record new set of vocals for Ole Times. Further vocal & guitar recordings that restored the potential for Sly Fly/Keep On Marchin'.

23 OCT 01: Samples cut for Broodin' On A Badd Egg. Chef voiced his own fruitylooped riddim Pik Met Haar ina scat style that will definitely introduce the hybrid subgenre of carnavaleque gansta, an utterly European brand of hiphop.

21 OCT 01: Samples cut for Choppin' ('Mr Simms' from Coltrane Plays the Blues)

19 OCT 01: DJ Crazy J took a swing on the backing vocals of Vrij-Stijl, leading the track into a new dimension. Subsequent downmix was not final but, more importantly, features 2 verses of complete lyrics and sufficient repetition of the chorus.

Crazy furthermore spiced up Make Me Feel Sexy!. with a sample from a record entitled Zingles from the USA, recently bought by Zjokka for 3,55 EUR.

18 OCT 01: After Gianni advise, Zjokka finally succeeded in figuring out that the harp he bought some time ago (remember Chevez's harp got stolen, together with some other gear, in Spain last year) --F# minor. Starting from an agreeable figure on Bm6, the track hardly gets around to thematizing the images of the dusty Mexican borderland. The relief brought in by the vibrato-driven overglossy guitarparts, is only temporary however hard the harp tries to play something upliting, the player probably forgets Stevland plays harmonica on most of his funky tracks. Old Dermont might end up collaged into some other country oriented experiment, but will remain shelved in its short current form.

Problems in trying to retime the majestic trip hop loop that is supposed to be the outrogroove to Wired for Sound, have long kept this tune from being finalized. There was a previous recording done around September 1999 (sent in as Rock Ralley application but not accepted) but these recording strangely vanished from the harddisk shortly after the buring down of El Studio on December 3 of the same year. Current version has been ressurected from the bare scratchness of Anne Sexton's 'You Gonna Miss Me'. Basic recordings were done on 15-19 February and late September of 2001. The outro is lengthier than before, bringing the track home at 04,25, and Chevez gets busy on the venyl unconciously funkin' in some great breaks by "proactively anticipating additional editing" so to say. More of the Sexton break, featuring the vocal "Say you gonna love", has been put in to create more of an central point Vof intrest in the track. Additional drumsound aim at the same purpose, but are still too loud.

17 OCT 01: Diverse bass guitar parts recorded for Make Me Feel Sexy!

14 OCT 01: Zjokka adds organs and clavinet to Cashbar (Procrastinatin') and tries on a vocal before abandonning the track again. The organs part for the second phrase does move the track up a bit,.

11 OCT 01: Gianni & Chevez in the SubStudio, cooking up a piece provisionally dubbed Cashbar (Procrastinatin'). Two parts were recorded and dowmmixed seperately.

30 SEP 01: Samples cut for what was to become Make Me Feel Sexy!.

27 SEP 01: Gianni came in to do backing vocals on Crazy Love and worked up the bridgential backing vocals were dropped expect for the 'takes away my heartaches'-part. Another acoustic guitar part in mono was added for extra depth and contracting overtones in the last verse. Subsequent downmix was done on 29SEP01, resulting in a cut with less bass than the intial downmix.

Gianni lays down some acoustic guitar for Tail Chasin'

23 SEP 01: Being deprived of his keyboard, Zjokka took a turn for the acoustic by covering Van Morrison's Crazy Love. Based on a free, untimed acoustic guitar track, rhythmic backup is provided by two mono tracks with bongo's taps and bongo 'rimshots' played with one headless and one broken drum stick. The sound resulting from the bongo tap were subsequently lowered with about 10 semitones in order to add depth and make up for a missing bass drum. A improvised bass line adds movement and changes the feel in adding more speed in the first movement, in order to leave space in the second part. The original has a strange fast tiptoeing backward movement, as if Van is shying away at the very last moment in the face of his beloved. Vocals and backing vocals downmixed the evening itsef were done in one take.

23 SEP 01: Electric guitar parts and bass for Tail Chasin'

22 SEP 01: Drum cuts for Tail Chasin'

12 SEP 01: Provisional mixing and cutting of Counting Song.

08 SEP 01: Attempts done to resurrect a tune improvised at the Selleck rehearsals and entitled Counting Song on the CD listings. Zjokka fucks up early here by giving one of the few free downloadable programmable drum machine for Mac on the web, Virtual Drummer, at the occasion of the release of a new version of this shitty piece of freeware. The riff sounded better on the electric (here played on acoustic), and lacks depth and originality. Putting it deep into the mix didn't quite help matters. In addition to that the bassline is too busy and the vocal doesn't quite engage interest. The chorus brings some relief through a Byrdish drone on a chorusified capoed electric that helps it along, though I might further REM associations in more popular oriented ears.The text of the chrorus tries to alienate a simple phrase, or rather exercises this songwriters trick.

15 JUL 01: Drum cuts of a nice lttle stereo loop were done the previous night around 11pm before hitting the sack in order to get up and start working around 10:30am to start recording the clavinet parts and working out some drum breaks. Further recording of bass and guitar part, Sly Fly remains archived until inspiration takes it further.

25 JUN 01: Additional vocal recordings for r Soft Tongued Momma

18 JUN 01: Electric & grand piano recorded for Soul Brother.

17 JUN 01: Recording the lead verse vocals and percussion for Soft Tongued Momma

Bass and acoustic guitar recordings for Soul Brother.

16 JUN 01: Recording trumpets, organ and first attempt at bass lines for Soul Brother

31 MAR 01: Cutting the samples for Soft Tongued Momma.

22 MAR 01: Basic recordings and programming for No Lightweight Stuff.

19 MAR 01: Recording of vocals and electric gutiars for Strange Glow.

18 MAR 01: Recording of drum parts, bass and electric piano for Strange Glow.

20 FEB 01: Zjokka kickstarted an all-day SubStudio session at 10:33am with two cups large mugs o' coffee and cutting the beautiful reggealoops found on some crazy drummer's web page. Final recordings for Natty Seh What!? were rounded off around 04:27pm and submitted to a late night mixing session in order to end up being a rootsy instrumental rockers track by midnight. Guitar chop might endure a bit of polishing to hit harder, but the bass rocks away, especially in the minor progression in the chorus that feature the synthesizer organ sounds jacked through Jim Dunlop's Cry Baby Wah-Wah. The electric guitar licks hitting on the countertime (in simultaneity with the bass in certain places) was a slight strike of genius.

04 FEB 02: Recording of Slo Time Blues, later Round & Round (Up 'n Down).

03 DEC 99 : Burning down of El Studio.