I almost forgot, because it was past my bedtime when the mixes turned up. Normally when you leave a studio you leave with listening mixes but that doesn't seem to be the practice at this one, so there's been a week's ears-rest before hearing them. An email turned up from Robert, who is on tour with Swansea Sound at the moment, and I downloaded them in between dreams.
I can't believe that we recorded six songs to such a degree of completion in only two days. I suppose that's what we did last year too, and of course that's the way you did John Peel sessions back in the day. But we are not a band who play gigs: we don't have that 'all playing together' gig rehearsal experience. Obviously because of the pandemic, we have done nil gigs ,so there's a looseness and spontaneity to the recordings that I really like. Mostly though, I feel really proud of the way we have collaborated. The song bits that I've sent to Robert: well, I would never have finished those.
And I think he has sent me just such rambling snatches of music, too. We have literally 'finished each other's song sentences'. There's a type of song that I sometimes write that is simply too complete for me to write lyrics to; something about the music becomes imprisoning. In those, Robert busts me out of jail and imagines sonic possibilities that are out of my personal stratosphere. In his, I feel that I am drawing curtains aside to reveal melodies and ideas that are hidden in his chord changes: you just need to know where to find them amongst the layers of sound. That's without my admiration for his ideas for lyrics, which seem so obvious once they land in the spaces of the song. Sometimes he is replacing lyrics of my own that didn't work with lyrics of his that do. In turn, I get the opportunity to imagine scenarios into soundscapes that I could never create myself.
So after a late night listen, I felt immeasurably proud of our songs above anything else. In the greater scheme of things, writing songs is a negligible activity, but I hope this music makes people happy and articulates things for them when they hear it. It has crystallised together out of the same experiences of the past three years that we have all been through, and it feels like it belongs to everyone and not just us.