Graeme Revell | SPK
SPK pick tracks
During 1982-83, SPK began to move from a harsh rhythmic/industrial sound to more beautiful eastern/ambient style. That's what the press release said. Graeme Revell, one half of SPK and former cemetery attendant, regional planner and psychiatric nurse had a few other things to add when we phoned him with the usual question: if you were about to go on tour, what favourite five tracks would you fit into the Walkman?
The first production to use sequencers well, and basically everybody has been copying it for the last seven or eight years — those pinpoint sequences that stand out three feet from the speaker. Couldn't believe it when I heard it for the first time.
One of the great American individualists, Partch. He constructed all his own instruments from wood, steel, plastic, and tuned them to quarter tones or eighth tones. He recorded everything on two track and just got people in to help play the instruments. This LP has a beautiful booklet showing everything he built. As for all the sound effecty things going on now, like the Art of Noise, he had it well covered in the Fifties and Forties. He died in '68, there was a school that followed him but they haven't done much.
This is the only Arthur Baker production that I like. He usually uses a horrible TR808 which I think is disgusting. This rolls along on a conga rhythm. All those AMS tricks annoy me as well — they're OK the first time, but after that...
It's annoying... on our previous album we were doing a track called "Metropolis" that used operatic vocals, but for various legal reasons it got held up and had to be put on the latest album so he beat us to it. Have to admit he did it better than us, anyway. Opera in pop is wonderful. It's inappropriate but he makes it work smoothly. Works in the clubs, too.
Everybody's got to pick one of their own tracks, haven't they. We used lots of digital on this one, sampling factory hooters, church bells, grinders... it's good to get them into a pop song but in a musical manner, not just to be macho. It was done on Fairlight: the Synclavier may have a longer sampling time but the Fairlight is easier to use for tidying up your samples later.
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