Repent Walpurgis [Fisher]

Jack Vees  [USA]

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Jack Vees – bass guitar

JV: all of the sounds for this Repent Walpurgis (excluding a short doubling on fretless of the initial theme) were performed on a Sadowsky four string bass (thank you, Roger!).

I've always loved Procol's work. It has that pristine balance of heart and head (and great musicianship to pull it off too.) So when I became aware of this project, it just seemed natural that I'd want to contribute something to it.

In my own work as a composer and performer, I often find myself ferrying between the lofty realms of 'art' music (perhaps too lofty, as I often have to bring extra tanks of oxygen) and the sootier regions of music in the vernacular. All along the way, I find myself coming back around to certain works and artists: Satie's Socrate, Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch, Jack Bruce's solo records, Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms. The list could go on, but it seems just as well to end it with any number of Procol Harum pieces; for this particular list, it ends with Repent Walpurgis.

For the most part, I took the direct line out of an Eden bass amp into a MOTU 828 box, which then went into a MacIntosh G4 laptop running Digital Performer. Standard EQ and reverb were added using 'Waves' plug ins.

The parts that resemble lead guitar were played through a 'Line 6' amplifier set to its classic Marshall mode. There were no octave boxes or other electronic devices utilised. All of the gritty sustain comes from the amp, and the high, whistling bits are produced by overdriven artificial harmonics.

There is one 'drum' track till after the Bach, then I add one more for the fills. A lot of the 'drumming' is done with the heel of my right hand and muted slaps with the left-hand fingers. Some of the 'rolls' are from a left hand shaky bit, using the thumb and third fingers alternating almost like a tabla player might.

There are two melody tracks (one hidden fretless in the first four bars!); one 'bass' track (my regular job!); the Bach is two separate tracks, dividing up left and right hand piano bits. There is one slightly overdriven 'organ' track, which I ran through a Digitech RPM unit for simulated Leslie.

Everything so far listed was recorded by direct injection: the 'guitar' solos were through a Line 6 amp with a mic on it. I was playing mostly artificial harmonics. After the Bach there are two tracks of solos, but not always both present.

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