part laboratory, part stage, and part sanctuary: Not a safe place, either. Sane doesn’t always equal safe.
Modest modern recording: a couple thousand square feet in an old factory beside a river and 10 meters from railway tracks; black mould on the walls and an asbestos covered boiler furnace in the back ; electricity flows in—feeding thoroughly modern computers, digital audio interfaces, and accelerators that form the core of the studio tech—through a transformer that sits on the ground in front of the electrical panel and manages to keep itself from a puddle that regularly appears when the rain comes.
None of this is sexy.
But the act of creating ‘something from nothing’ is, so the space and the cold machinery become beautiful by some strange alchemy and weave themselves into the DNA of the recordings made here. It is most fitting that a recording like Dark Roads, Rough Gods is being made at the intersection of High-Tech and Dilapidated. The irony of wrestling something human from all the silicon chips, copper wire, neoprene, alternating current, and random access memory in the belly of a soon-to-be condo that was the love-child of hubris and 20th century manufacturing…is not lost on me.
I’ve always thought Nights of Grief & Mystery was a thoroughly urban creation, contending as it does with the dying of what we thought was a good idea: us, our ways, our crowning achievements, our mastery over the mysteries. This is the right place to be to try to make a record no one is asking for, that can at least converse with the times it is being born in to.
Recording is no replacement for playing live, but things being as they are, this place has become part laboratory, part stage, and part sanctuary. Not an escape, mind you, but a sanctified sane place. Not a safe place, either. Sane doesn’t always equal safe.
I am grateful for it all.