Although I’ve recently posted details of one of the songs that has been written/reworked for the KOAS project in the last couple of days and also some of the edits and rewrites of some lyrics that I discussed in my last update nearly two months ago, its been a while since I last took stock of how far down the road this project is.

As is often the way of the many of us who have a day job as well as doing this thing that we love and have a calling for, the day job tends to swallow an awful lot of the available time meaning that the timelines for projects such as this, particularly complicated ones (like trying to write/record/produce/mix/master two release-quality albums at the same time, almost single-handedly… who has dumb ideas like that, ferchrissakes?) tend to end up moving sideways. So, my apologies for my lack of updates/progress, but a lot of things have been achieved since I extracted my digit a while back.

And, as these particular tasks have been achieved, they now bring other key milestones into sharper focus as they are things that have to be done and will take their own time before they’re exactly right and ready. So, I’m afraid this isnt a “its all done and y’all can buy it next week!” post. Sorry about that!

The three key things that have been achieved so far are as follows:

  1. Album covers/artwork, sleeve notes etc, all done and ready for both London Road and No Expectations. Many thanks to the fabulous Aminah Hughes for her photography for No Expectations. I knew from the moment I saw those photos that I wanted to use them for an album cover, if she gave her permission.
  2. There is only one track left that is at the “needs almost everything doing to it” stage, and that song is Doesnt Matter Now, which has always been a bit of a problem child. Everything else is at a very highly advanced stage of recording and arranging. Most of them, so far as tracking/recording are concerned only need occasional solos/overdubs and vocals.
  3. I faced up to the fact that some of the songs needed to be re-jigged/re-arranged/new lyrics needed to be written and did it – and in doing so, managed to unlock the potential of the songs from ideas to (almost) completed works. In this respect, I have been particularly heartened by the progress made on Manhattan Lullaby (such a departure from what I’m used to listening to and writing), Elia (forty years of pent up synchronicity), No Getting Over You (especially the pre-chorus, the chord pattern of which is my happiest possible accident, it sounds truly beautiful and evokes exactly the emotion I wanted for it), Fear Of Missing Out, Five Years (one of my most intense, honest and direct lyrics) and Let It Go (one of my most musically ambitious).

Doing all of those things only at weekends has been quite challenging. But it is happening.

Next, after these remaining overdubs are done comes the vocals. Given that there are going to be quite a lot of BV’s/harmonies to go on, which will all be (for want of a better word) mechanised (using a TC Helicon Voicelive Touch, tech fans!), this is likely to be quite time consuming too,  as its not just oohs and ahhs, much as I love them and some songs need them (and they will be there too, they have their place) but not as time consuming as it would be doing root/3rd/5th/Octave for real without the aid of technology. The  Helicon is a very useful piece of kit and has already been used on an AlterZero track, Brand New Wave, nearly two years ago. The time is soon arriving for it to really start earning its keep and I’m confident it will without the BV’s sounding in any way obviously robotic, which is always the downfall of such technology in inexperienced hands. But, if done properly, it can be a real boon to any track.

And thats not forgetting the real vocals as well. With three notable exceptions that are slated for the London Road album, specifically Heroes, Are You Coming Home With Me and Without You, which will be feature lead and backing vocals by my BASCA collaborative partners who were involved in the writing, performing and recording, the rest is likely to be down to yours truly to deliver. That in itself is going to be a whole other mountain to climb and a real rubicon for me to cross, personally but one that has to be done, because there is, pretty much no-one else to do it, so it has to be me who steps up. Its that thing of hearing your own voice being played back and getting used to hearing that tone that takes a lot to learn to be comfortable with.

And, once that minor thing is done, then comes mixing and mastering.

I’m pretty confident that all of the overdubs, solos etc will be completed by the end of March, given the current work-rate; Backing Vocals I’m expecting to have done by the end of April at the latest (given that my current day job contract is up at the end of March, freeing up more precious time to devote to this project) and I’m hoping that all the lead vocals will be done by the end of May, at the very latest. My goal is to have both albums mixed and mastered and ready by the beginning of September.

So. Only a year behind schedule, but whats a year, huh? The best things in life are always worth waiting for, so we’re told…




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