Space Western

from by Colouratura

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about

Track 3 on the album, "Space Western" (working title "I got nothing") was the second or third session Nate and I did together and I don't believe it was even intended to be on as an album as such.

One day, Nathan walked in and said "I want to make The Good The Bad and The Ugly in outer space." Okay ...

It started it with the phaser bass - a technique I picked up from Pink Floyd's Roger Waters and also Kate Bush's "Breathing" - and next the piano. I remember sitting in the control room listening to the playbacks, not sure what to make of it all. It wasn't until Nate put on the acoustic guitar part that it all clicked. Nathan is one of those composers who can come into a session with the entire piece in his head; as an producer, I've learned that you need to trust that he knows what he's doing, because he ALWAYS does.

With the acoustic guitar in place, I realized this piece was brilliantly layered and really quite fascinating and exciting to listen to. Lots of interconnecting moving parts. The middle section was dominated by layering his voice in 'ahhhs' (another PF influence creeping in) and I believe I suggested the three-four note motive at the end ("dah da da dah"). At the time I was really getting into The Beach Boys and playing with vocal harmonies and falsetto vocals. The opportunity to work with someone so adept at harmonies made Nathan a lot of fun and was a huge draw; we were both eager to explore the possibilities of the human voice. Another product of my Brian Wilson obsession (also performed by Nate) made it to Nick Prol's "Carvings on the Wall", recorded around the same time. Fun fact.

Finally, Nate overdubbed the synth on top that sounds like a laser gun, and we let the piece sit (almost Residentsly) until we forgot about it.

When it came time to assemble the album, I was adamant that "Space Western" be included - but in the final weeks, we decided it needed some drums to even out the album and give the start of the album some much needed punch. Brandon Collins is forever the man. He plays drums the way I would if I could play drums! A heavy metal drummer first, I think, he's got exactly the heavy handed, but precise control I like. Just listen to those tom sweeps. Beastly.

The last session Nate and I ever did together at West Liberty University is actually on this track. The beeps and blurps you hear at key points is a 40-something year old ARP2600, a savage beast of the synth world and vintage veteran. This thing materialized in the recording studio one day and captured Nathan's imagination. I think I suggested we try to get some additional ultra-violence and weird gestures out of it on "Space Western."

credits

from Colouratura, released June 16, 2017
Nathan James - guitar, bass,
piano, voice, ARP 2600
Brandon Collins - percussion

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Colouratura Wheeling, West Virginia

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