I approach this review with some trepidation as I am partly responsible for the item I am about to describe to you.
We are talking Kill Pretty, a band which has taken up a serious amount of my time over the last two years, and which continues to amaze me with it’s invention, work ethic and generosity of friendship.
A band, also, which is developing a growing reputation and following – notwithstanding two of the members going through some form of surgery, one major, in the last 18 months – as the pre-eminent live act in the region of late.
So the brief introductory background to this was that, after some initial experimentation with a number of their tracks, I was invited by Ian “Moet” Moss to see if I could “develop” some of the recordings the band had laid down in a couple of separate recording sessions. I was duly sent a serious amount of stems, most of them rather obliquely labelled, so I spent around a month working my way through numerous wave files to find out the best of the material. At the same I had also recently acquired Ableton Live and was enjoying the freedom it gave me to play around with and indeed manipulate both virtual synthesizers, drum machines and samples.
As with most of my work I adopt a rather unstructured approach to composition and production – working late at night – generally over a couple of glasses of Merlot or Shiraz – and taking an organic approach to the development of the material. I had not got any fixed ideas and Moet gave me a few broad directions but was not too specific about what I should do.
The material developed over a couple of months and it became clear that there would be two distinct approaches – firstly tidying up and toughening up some of the tracks with very little additional musical changes to the core recordings – and secondly a radical reinterpretation of some of the tunes – to take them to another place entirely and to put the band in a different context. Once these basic approaches had been developed it also became clear that in some cases putting some sort of linking theme across the piece as a whole would give it a structure.
So the final product is called “Snake Sheds Skins” and is now released on All The Madmen as a pay what you like release with any proceeds going towards future recording projects.
The release comprises seven separate pieces:
– a reworking of “Emperors New Clothes” from “In 80 Days” with the addition of a guitar part from Larry Gott and some synth string pieces from me….
– a straight remix of “What About Me” from “In 80 Days” with a complete disregard for the niceties of time signatures – the aim being to reflect the incoherent madness of the protagonist in the song
– a complete reworking of the previously unreleased “Kill Pretty” – with significant use of the warping technology in Ableton – all the instrumentation is virtual and only the backing vocals and Moet’s lead vox remains.
– A remix of “Clever Men Who Have Thin Arms” from “Dark Heart” – the intention being to toughen up the sound, specifically bringing the drums to the fore in the mix, and to make it sound more like the band live.
– a complete reworking of “Thirteen Moons” from “Dark Heart” with the emphasis on creating a completely new sound – again only Moet’s vocals remain from the original – but a little bit of Josh’s bass is mixed in there somewhere.
– A remix of the previously unreleased “Limboland” which again, ignoring the conventions of recording techniques, mixes together several takes to create a new sound. It took a great deal of effort to find exactly the right bass part for this song but it was eventually tracked down.
– A reworking of “What About Me” using a Josh bass line, and one of Moet’s early guide vocals, and some of the many backing vocals the band put down.
So there you have it. Kill Pretty in a slightly different context. As I write this the band have been working on new material and I have no doubt that they will move on to yet another range of musical formats in course. They are ferociously inventive in their approach to music and I wait with some degree of expectation for what emerges from the creative brew of Moss, Dutton, Dutton and Leigh.