Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Toes Tapes Revisited

The Listen To My Toes tapes have been languishing in a box in my wardrobe for nigh on 14 years now, indeed, as I had sold the 4 track they had been recorded on I could not even play them. Recently on Ebay though I was able to get hold of a Fostex 280, and so began the laborious task of cataloguing and transferring the tapes onto hard disk, before tape degradation set in.
The album itself was constructed out of over 100 separate sections. My preferred method of working was to record a set of basic tracks over 4 tracks, and then make a mono mix onto mini-disk, and record it back to one track of the tape machine. I would usually then record and bounce down the background vocals onto two tracks, and copy the mono track to another track, thus creating a mix with the backgrounds in true stereo, and the track in false stereo. Another mix was then made to mini-disk, and back onto the tape for the lead vocals.
The problem I had when transferring the tapes onto hard disk, was that each section, usually comprising of three separate set of dubs, differed slightly in pitch. I had to manually sync each bit to the original master. It took ages. What this effectively means though is I can now create a true stereo mix of each song by syncing all the tracks (usually 12) together. As my other preferred working method back in '93 was to smoke lots of dope, the original mixes were sloppy to say the least. I am looking forward to remixing it.
Some bits however I was unable to find, all I have are the final mini-disk mixes. I worked out I must have taped over the masters to conserve tape, as all the tapes are accounted for. I also unfortunately had a tape get chewed up whilst transferring it, and sections of the Archaeologist Song are now lost.
In light of this, I have decided t0 re-record these missing / chewed sections. I will record them on the Fostex, on tape, and make them as faithful to the original as possible. Then I thought why stop there? I always hated the basic tracks of Talking To Tarquin. It was supposed to be a piss take of shit indie music, so I purposefully made am awful mix. Unfortunately, it was all bounced down onto two tracks, so there is little I can do to improve it. So I'll re-record the basic tracks, as faithfully as possible, keeping the original vocal and lead guitar.
So the new Listen To My Toes mix will be a partial re-record. I've already started mixing Lord of the Drugs, and it sounds great. It is like the first time I heard Pet Sounds in stereo. I'll upload a few teasers in the months to come, but this one, when finished, will be for sale only I'm afraid (unless no one buys it)

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