Latest independent album – Til you’re no longer blinkered
SPECIAL EDITION HAND-ASSEMBLED CD – SOLD OUT
The ‘Til You’re No Longer Blinkered’ concept
As part of this planning and development process I felt I had to be able to articulate the concept behind this album. Which I’m afraid does have a concept, an intention to voice and an overall driving theme that I adhered to both lyrically and sonically.
And this is the best I have so far: Essentially it’s about self-awareness and emotional intelligence. My personal experience and journey has led me to decide that the more we acknowledge, nurture, know and like ourselves the happier, healthier and more connected we become.
And this reaps benefits and healthy ripples for ourselves and those we come into contact with. All the advances in technology ain’t gonna lead us to a better place until we evolve on the inside. And get authentic with ourselves. Which I felt I was very persuasively invited to do amidst many a year of stillness, in order to survive and thrive during years of debilitating pain.
Berbum. I will now step away from the soapbox.
And all that is probably best described by a few quotes:
“To transform the world we must begin with ourselves.” J. Krishnamurti
“In fact, self-knowledge leads away from self-absorption and towards the luxury of being able to ‘forget oneself’ in order to get on with your own life.” Stephanie Dowrick, author of Intimacy & Solitude.
“Awareness is revolutionary.” Vidyamala Burch, author of Living well with Pain and Illness.
A few album responses
* “It’s an ambitious record, both technically and creatively, and Caro’s strong vocals lead you from track to track.” The Girls Are blog
* “Caro snatch remains one of Manchester’s most unique musical assets.” BBC radio manchester
* “This caro’s second long playing collection of compositions, follows intergalactic concepts across its nine tracks, which take on both the near and far otherworldly interpretation through introspection. In fact, her eloquent use of puns is a constant highlight, but the ever-changing instrumental scene-setting cannot be ignored for its role in sustaining the storyline.” Now Then Manchester
* “For me this is an album to be proud of what is next for Caro Snatch only time will tell as its unconventional quality makes its market very selective, so fear it not getting the exposure it deserves, yet I still believe that good music always finds a way through the detritus.” Quenched Music
* “Appealing to those who love Tori Amos or Regina Spektor, snatch explores experimental, spoken-word laden tracks in a less mainstream fashion.” Aesthtica & Music Week
* “Absolutely wonderful.” Chimp Magazine, Manchester UK
* “It is weird, it is wild and it is most definitely wonderful.” Gracieland Studios, Rochdale UK
My latest independent album has had some nice radio mentions and play – UK: On the Wire, BBC Lancs Peel-inspired show; Technical Difficulties on Resonance FM; Max Reinhardt & Verity Sharp on the all important Late Junction, BBC Radio 3; Tom Robinson on 6music & Sam Walker on BBC Manchester; and my newest offering of truly creative music has been aired in many other lands too.
DEC 2010*****ALBUM OUT NOW***** to absorb, share & purchase at caro snatch Bandcamp
It is also on Spotify (search caro snatch), itunes, CD baby and the like..
Special edition CD of the experimental music album, lovingly constructed and assembled can also be ordered from the caro snatch bandcamp and will be sent to you by me. The first batch of these are now almost sold out so I am currently cooking up another endearing way of packaging the album’s journey.
Mammoth appreciation to all who have assisted in this truly creative music project, so many angels and obtuse angles have helped make this happen.
Special edition CD – keeping with the plum card foil plate print theme – with a beautiful image from Newcastle-based fine artist and fine friend Louise Bradley. Can be ordered through caro snatch bandcamp and will be despatched from my inner-city cottage industry.
Handmade plum coloured card digipack (with an extra flap) and lush silver foil-print lettering…design courtesy of Doodlebug
5 June 2010 – album in safe mastering hands of Blacklisted Mastering
Sincere apologies if you were actually interested and would have liked me to have continued to recount the studio recording journey beyond the first track. i just got too engrossed in actually doing it. often forgot camera too…I will however be compiling a compendium of my “score of good eggs” – the wonderful spectrum of generous intuitive musicians that have graced me album with their magik.
10 march 2010 – Album audio is completed, finito, geschafft!!! phew, eek, wow and flutter. I can meddle no more. For the final day of mix polishes, like for all this storybook, I went to Gracieland Studios Rochdale. It was not only for the delicious Lexicon 480X reverb and Rupert Neve’s AMEC 9098 amidst a smorgasbord of luxury vintage EQ, compressors and more. Dangerous: once i got a taste of these things i just can’t go back to budget plug-ins and expect the same satisfaction. There was of course also the human factor that drove me up there them hills in come snow or shine. For top operator of this array of wondrous technology is Steve Boyce-Buckley, whom I chose to add polishing sheen to my laptop beavering. And due to all the outboard embellishments, once it’s mixed down and gone to tape. Tis written. more eek, wow and flutter.
And overall I think i am pleased with the outcome. In spite of working relentlessly on refining my wayward vocal tendencies, I have tuned up somewhat and otherwise coming to terms with my innate unequal temperament. Mix and arrangement wise I feel I am largely comfortable although there are always a few niggles in the haystack..
Huge thanks to Martin and Steve at Gracieland for gracing me with their kindness, open-minded and hearted outlook. Recording also took place at my engineering skool SSR thanks to fellow intuitive engineer James Trott; a couple of vocal tracks at Airtight Studios on me doorstep, thanks to Alan and Tom for their patience as i fathomed the yamaha digital desk’s routing system. It’s been a nourishing and flourishing process, a bit sad it’s over in fact. next step slightly twisted photo shoot..
June 2009: here i shall be divulging generously hoping it will be of interest. This, my second album, on which i have guest seasoned engineer/producer/string arranger Steve Boyce-Buckley on board lending hands, ears and imagination to a verging on concept album centred around the theme of “(love yourself) til you’re no longer blinkered”.
TIL YOU’RE NO LONGER BLINKERED:
Verging on a concept album, the central theme of this album is nurture thyself (I wondering if this might be an effective strategy for everyone involved in your life? If u can’t accept/sort yourself don’t that cause more bother for all?). It’s also a cheeky counterpoint to the co-dependent material that comes at us from all angles. Not that I’m adverse to addressing the complex and beautiful minefield of intimacy with another adult, but just felt I wanted to create a totally little sanctuary of a listening experience for one, connected to so much more. Two previously released tracks will be revisited and chiselled, and sufficient new ideas will be transcribed. Avoiding presenting an audio self help book mind. Just where me and my muse is it at in it…
Studio diaries 2
“Mammoth mountain” – string session & mixdown, 15 July 09 @ Gracieland, Rochdale
Right, so Steve Boyce-Buckley composed some delightful string arrangements, only heard on a keyboard til today. When we are in Lisa Stansfield’s Gracieland Studios in Rochdale to record said strings parts played by reputable quartet “Mancky strings”.
I am a little overwhelmed beforehand as this track has become so much larger than me, and fully aware this is something to cherish. Sat nav decided to take me the route with the most traffic lights and 30 speed limits, so by time I arrived they were already mic-ed up and running through the score.
Now this is a challenging track for the players. What with no click track and intentionally intuitive and fluid timing swells as well as a couple of changes of meter, to sync in with the piece was not obvious. Also, sensual intention is paramount, respecting the complexity we all harbour. Aside from a bit of swaying and hand sweeping conducting in one section, they got it.
Triple tracked by simply recording 3 takes (what a nice effect creating depth and increased colourfulness and job done. Video interview with myself and Steve B-B give a little bit more insight into what was a wonderful session in which I felt thoroly spoilt. H
Humungous thanks to Steve B-B for his passionate input as there is now a charming sub-text to the track’s story and wonderfully embellishes its intentions. Also massive gratitude to the Mancky String players, Martin at Gracieland for his generous hospitality and Anorakism mama Tanya Paizan for trekking over the hill in support of this special treat.
Final mixdown executed turned out to be done and transferred to Ampex tape in 3 hours as interim mixes were pretty much there and the rest almost mixed itself.
Employing most selectively Gracieland’s graceful outboard gear, the Lexicon 224X’s concert hall setting felt best choice for the strings and overall room (calming down the decay for bit more intimacy); Drawmer 1960 to firm up the bassline along with DBX 120XP sub-harmonic synth for extra warmth; ADR vocal stressor upon my already treated vocal to keep close and dry and enhanced the fundamentals around 80hz; we tried little compression and reverb on Jenny’s opera part but decided against it, leave it as it was and put reverb on the stereo recording only. Less was really required to allow the track to really breathe it’s story and sensuality.
Download single release intended for September/October.
Studio diaries 1
“Mammoth Mountain” – recording @ Cutting Rooms, Manchester, UK
Definitely opening track on my now embarked upon second album. Think Arvo Paert meets the caro snatch u already know after a dynamic cloud sweeping sky-ed walk in the Lakes. Such a treat to be artist for an afternoon as I’ve most happily been assisting others in their expression channelling since Plan in it EP. Also further privileged to have guest producer Steve Boyce-Buckley whose experience with pop types and mavericks galore will surely step up my game as artist and engineer/producer. He is also a fellow stickler for essence and sensibility and a great string arranger which I intend to welcome during the album process. I came to know Steve as he lectures on the advanced studio module of the SSR Audio Engineering Course I completed last year. Mutual appreciation of vintage compressors, EQ, reverb and approaches to recording and mixing led me to dare to invite him to input on my next documentation endeavour.
Also invited to the session was opera singer Jenny Kosmowsky. The pure power in this lady’s voice is wonderfully balanced with a determined creative power that manifests across a few artforms – see www.jennykosmowsky.com. I met Jenny when she was a naked voice practitioner/vocal trainer based in Leeds. Her intuitive and non-theoretical approach appealed to me and helped me to validate my own voice and open up some melodies to my safety zone of my signatory Sprechstimme. Once I had the vocal story (and that’s another story) and the piano part, I knew Jenny’s voice was the one I wanted to enrich the communication of the track. We tried it out live a couple of times to listeners’ warm welcome. Sprechstimme prevails on this track and is contrasted by Jenny’s siren like operatic tones.
Of all the studios I know in Manchester, I chose the Cutting Room not for it’s hello mag style look who’s recorded here, but for the grand in a big (ish) live room. Plus the nice mixing desk and range of vintage mics. I wanted space for the piano recording and Jenny’s voice requires room to manoeuvre. Upon arrival, it was an instantly welcoming space as the springing sun shed some tepid rays on the piano seat. Yes this live room even enjoyed daylight, a bonus I wasn’t aware of.
We went for Neumann KM184’s stereo pair just outside of hood of piano (too far in resulted in too much wood being recorded and I wanted more air/room in there). Then the ole trusty AKG c414 in the furthest curve for some bass end reinforcement. Put through Steve’s API pre-amps (which go up to 40K, now that’s attention to detail) it was the sound we were after. The Broadwood piano itself was not exactly up to classical clarity standards but I embraced the vagaries as it felt right for the track and hence was decided it added character to my not quite up to classical standard playing!
Few takes down and left hand aching with all them octaves, we of course concluded that the first take was the best with most feeling communicated and with a naivety that became too focussed (and mentally steered) after that. Few little protools shifting of pauses/rests and we had laid the bedrock of the track. I am aspiring to keep away from destructive perfectionism which can be such a bore but retain my pernickety aim to do the best I can in all situations. Hard work I know but reeps plentiful returns, or?
Next, my vocal which also turned out to be almost a first take wonder too save a couple of phrases overdubs just to get particular about the delivery. I have a strong vision for this track’s coming to fruition which I think helped in the studio zone. Also really appreciated being able to invite responses from Steve and Jenny to stave me from micro-listening and/or critical voice psychosis. So, we recorded my voice real close with the ole AKG solid tube which I am rather fond of for my voice. Built me a cosy little baffled den in a corner (sun still on me). Just for anorakistik note, the ADR vocal stressor that Steve brought in and put my voice through added another dimension of richness I can only wish my voice had already. Kid in sweet shop analogy: lots of lovely sweets and enough pocket money saved up to get enough of them for more than one scoffing.
I felt for Jenny, having to wait for a couple of hours and not drift of into a hazily sunny Sunday afternoon daze, and then having to go for it. The room was still too small for her tonally potent voice. Actually, she explained later, it was more the lack of resonance in recording studios that hinders her really being able to let rip. Opera being designed for acoustic spaces that reflect back the resonance of the voice, stone, church etc , not acoustic panelling and tongue and groove. She still did a fine job for the track I feel. Neumann U87 and the KM184 stereo pair captured the feeling I was after. Especially with her standing almost a metre away from the mic. Wow, what a pair of focussed lungs. Again, first take fit just right.
So now, I will take away these raw though already refined recordings and play with it a bit on my own, hopefully add some electronic stirring rumble as foundation for the piano and some ethereal dancing round the stereo field for later on in the track. Possibly my longest track to date (I got rather attention deficit with timings and structures of track of late and felt I needed to let myself let it breathe a bit more and push me to develop a track more in musical terms). Then I will reconvene with Steve to weld the mix with some Bartok edgy raw rising string parts. A whole other exciting day to look forward to… So pleased Steve is feeling the track and the projected album overall and felt thoroly satisfied, spoilt and nourished after the session. The beginning of another wonderful album journey. I feel this track will set the terrain perfectly and also set a benchmark of emotion and production quality that will have to be maintained. o the joy