Thursday, August 21, 2014

dummy










Portishead created a model for the trip hop sound with the lush cinematic electronica of this seductive slow burn.  The group formed in Bristol with the duo of Beth Gibbons and Geoff Barrow; but as their home recordings began to take shape, they brought in more people to assist with shaping the sound.  Barrow would record music with various people and then take the best bits out and put them on vinyl, which he would mix back onto tape while scratching.  Once the music was created, Gibbons was able to do her part.  

'Dummy' features Beth Gibbons on vocals and production;   Geoff Barrow on drums, Rhodes piano, string arrangements, production, and programming;   and Adrian Utley on guitar, bass guitar, theremin, hammond organ, string arrangements, and production;   with Gary Baldwin on Hammond organ;  Clive Deamer on drums;  Andy Hague on trumpet;  Dave McDonald on nose flute;  Richard Newell on drum programming;  Neil Solman on rhodes piano and hammond organ;  and strings by Strings Unlimited.  

Barrows explains how the duo became a trio with producer Adrian Utley:  "Basically, our level of communication was brilliant. He wanted to learn about hip-hop and programming, and I wanted to learn about the way that real instruments can be, not recorded so much, but played in a traditional sense that wasn’t like bullshit rock session player. Basically, all the breaks that American hip-hop producers were sampling, that was the kind of music that Adrian was making, like rare groove stuff. It came together really well. Adrian was a bandleader and worked in British holiday camps playing cheesy cover versions of stuff. As a kid, that’s where I went on holiday. We had this massive understanding of kind of wrong-but-right cover versions of stuff. We were able to communicate that when it came down to the recording sessions. We’ve never had any problem communicating in any kind of musical aspect of what we meant. That just made it incredibly easy just to slot in with our parts. Those parts became a lot more crossed over with our parts. That’s where we started: This guy can make the samples, and I can make the samples into the tunes. Beth was the person who could sing them. Me and Adrian have always got on in that way...Like I said, he was incredibly educated in playing, but not like fucking anal kind of absorbed by technique. Absorbed by feel. All the best things sampled by hip-hop DJs had an amazing feel. They all had a really fucking weird feel to them. So basically, we just worked together really well. I was working with Beth when we wrote “Sour Times,” and I needed some guitar in it. I knew Adrian from before, and I phoned him up and said, “Look, you come down and play.” That was it. He never left."



Utley reveals:    "Sixties soundtrack music is a minute facet of what we all listen to, but the sounds that we make are like that, so it will sound similar. For me, I love that kind of soundtrack music...The sound is worked on by our engineer Dave McDonald, Geoff and myself. The sound sources we use are very particular and very 'worked on'. For example, a synth sound from a Roland SH09, which is integral to a new track we've been working on, relies heavily on a valve reverb which is immensely important to the sound. The synth itself is also important, so I tend to collect all sorts of instruments, keyboards, guitars and effects. 'Sound shaping' involves whatever I put onto tape sounding pretty much like the finished result...I'm more interested in old synth sounds. Most people can hear the difference between old and new synths. Even the SH09 sounds totally different to the Odyssey. Modern synths are on every advert the next week, so it's nice to create your own sounds and use the sampler to make pads up out of synths...With guitars I always record direct to tape with the effects already on. That's how it used to be done and it's good because you're making a commitment. It's the same with sampling...We did go down to a big London studio to mix, but we hated the result because we weren't used to it. We know that the studios around us have got what we need and we know the sound of them...We've now got our own place, State Of Art, which is based around a Studer 24-track and TAC Scorpion desk. It mainly came about through the concept of first idea, best idea. I was talking to Beth about this. When she sings, that's it and it's the same when I play something on guitar. When you first get that vibe of the moment, it's a pain in the arse trying to recreate it. Once it's on tape, as far as I'm concerned, that's it, even if it's got little mistakes in it. To us, saying, 'OK, let's go to a real studio now and do it for real', is a ridiculous concept...It was built from the ground up really. Dave, the engineer, had already been working there when it was a 16-track, when we did our pre-production. Some of the vocals on 'Dummy' were actually from the 16-track synced up with a 24-track because the vibe was right...For years and years bands have always tried to recreate their demos, but better quality. So if you do it at half reasonable quality in the first place, you can end up using it. One take can be completely different to another, and one can be the one and that's it. I think that's a problem that we all felt -- we did it in pre-production, why are we doing it again? So that's why we got our own studio."




'Dummy'  became an underground sensation around the world, going to number seventy-nine in the US, twenty-nine in Norway, twenty-six in Switzerland, twenty-three in Australia, twenty-one in New Zealand, twenty in Sweden, fifteen in the Netherlands, twelve in Belgium, and number two in the UK.  The album won the Mercury Music Prize and Portishead were nominated for Best British Newcomer at the Brit Awards.  

Barrows considers:   "['Dummy'] was taken on by people coming down off pills and supermodels. I never got to meet any of them, and I never did a pill, so I wouldn’t know. It took a while in America because it’s a massive place. I think the cool places took it, and it developed strangely through people who were into hip-hop as well, which was a massive bonus for me as a fan of American hip-hop, that people like Q-Tip and DJ Premier and RZA and Dr. Dre were kind of digging it. It was just like, “Fuck!” Fucking hell it’s cool. I recorded it in my mum’s bedroom. It was a weird thing...I’ve got an American friend, and we were trying to analyze why it was doing well in America. It was European white music that used a lot of American hip-hop stuff."




Gibbons says:   “People think it must feel great when everybody loves you all of a sudden, and it does, but there are other sides to it. I don’t feel like this now, but at one stage I was thinking you write songs and you hope you’re gonna communicate with people – half the reason you write them is that you’re feeling misunderstood and frustrated with life in general. Then it’s sort of successful and you think you’ve communicated with people, but then you realise you haven’t communicated with them at all – you’ve turned the whole thing into a product, so then you’re even more lonely than when you started.”






http://www.portishead.co.uk/







Glory Box
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uciibl0rcs


I'm so tired, of playing
Playing with this bow and arrow
Gonna give my heart away
Leave it to the other girls to play
For I've been a temptress too long
Just

Give me a reason to love you
Give me a reason to be, a woman
I just want to be a woman
From this time, unchained
We're all looking at a different picture
Through this new frame of mind
A thousand flowers could bloom
Move over, and give us some room

Give me a reason to love you
Give me a reason to be, a woman
I just want to be a woman

So don't you stop, being a man
Just take a little look from our side when you can
Sow a little tenderness
No matter if you cry
Give me a reason to love you
Give me a reason to be, a woman
It's all I want to be is all woman
For this is the beginning of forever and ever
It's time to move over

I'm so tired, of playing
Playing with this bow and arrow
Gonna give my heart away
Leave it to the other girls to play
For I've been a temptress too long
Just

Give me a reason to love you

Give me a reason to be



Sour Times
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7gutsi1uT4




Numb
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKd30B1QE9w






'Dummy' 
full album:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHxQeyOp5JE


1. "Mysterons"   5:02
2. "Sour Times"   4:11
3. "Strangers"   3:55
4. "It Could Be Sweet"   4:16
5. "Wandering Star"   4:51
6. "Numb"   3:54
7. "Roads"   5:02
8. "Pedestal"   3:39
9. "Biscuit"   5:01
10. "Glory Box"   5:06 




'To Kill a Dead Man' is a spy film the band made that got them their record contract.    The album cover for 'Dummy' is a still from the movie.  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msPCPohySWo




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