I didn’t manage to get into the Spiro session until the last day of their whirlwind recording session for their follow-up to Lightbox. This was a great pity as they were making magical sounds. Unusually for a group of perfectionists they even seemed happy with their own playing and engineer Greg Freeman was at the helm to capture a great recording.
I’m a big fan of ‘Lightbox’, and am with Mr Gabriel when he says that although the first thing that hits you is the familiar ‘folky’ sounds, when you listen to the music it’s as rich in the influences of systems music from people like Steve Reich and Phillip Glass - “All sorts of musical influences are woven into this very contemporary music. This is soulful music, passionate music and I love it.” Peter Gabriel.
Go on, give it a listen - think of it as accoustic version of electronic dance music that even lures breakbeat DJ’s away from their samplers. I’m tempted to try and find a path that will lure listeners in - through the intricacies of Bach’s Fuges and into the endlessly facinating explanations in ‘Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid’ - “Through illustration and analysis, the book discusses how self-reference and formal rules allow systems to acquire meaning despite being made of “meaningless” elements.” (Wikipedia) However, It’s an incoherent argument even before I start, so if you can access Spotify, just give it a listen.
I crept into The Wood Room at Real World Studios in December 2010 to document Urusen at work. They were working with renown producer Steve Osborne (Elbow, PJ Harvey, KT Tunstall and famously the Happy Mondays), ultimately creating ‘From Winter’ for release on Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound and ‘This Is Where We Meet’ - a beautiful release on their own label.
It was fascinating to see Steve Osborne and the band at work in a room transformed into a series of little den like spaces. Some great moments such as Jay Darwish realising the bass Steve had handed him was used in the recording of The Happy Monday’s ‘Pils n’ Thrills and Bellyaches’. A little Rock n’ Roll history, a group of lovely people and some finely crafted music made it a real pleasure.
Urusen’s release on the Society of Sound marks the culmination of a journey that began with cousins Peter Beatty and Ben Please (pictured) recording songs at their old secondary school in Somerset. Completing the line up in 2008 with cellist Nick Stryder bassist Jay Darwish(pictured with the Pils ‘n’ Thrills bass) and drummer Kieran Houston, their unique brand of intrinsically English indie folk, combined with their love of contemporary Americana, has seen them emerge as one of the most exciting new bands in the UK, labelled as ‘British breakthrough talent’ by British Music Week.
Urusen made a film documenting the session that gives a good insight into their time in the studio.
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