The first album of Light Coorporation
Recommended Records/ RéR Megacorp
The place we used to meet was an old, wooden barrack built some time around the Second World War. In one of its rooms (18 metres square area) we decided to build our own rehearsal room. We dampened the walls , replaced the old electrical wiring, lamps and electric outlets. Each and every one of us had to bring whatever musical equipment he had in his house. That's where our first music drafts came up and afterwards we started to listen to them and gradually change them into more concert themes.
When we got to the point where we noticed that actually we already have the material for an album... or should we say, for three albums...we began to talk about starting to work on that in a studio in order to show our music to the public.
There were no strict rules of playing or how to use our instruments. Absolutely we had no desire to play like someone else. We also avoided talking about the type of music we want to play and about the effort to fit into an existing trend. If this is how it turned out, then we are sorry but it was not our fault and it was not intentional.
Our rehersals were scheduled on Mondays and Thursdays and lasted from 5 p.m. To 10 p.m. At first it was mainly a jam session and long improvisations rising from silence to sharp and noisy parts. It stems from the traditional way of improvisation up to the rough, psychodelic and old, progressive tunes we were brought up with.
Every single rehearsal was recorded. Usually, the day after, every musician had the entire session sent by e-mail for listening. We recorded every meeting, every idea and every improvisation. Most of the recorded tracks were 20-30 minutes long, but there were times when they lasted an hour. Because of that, couple of sessions could not fit on our DVD.
Our communication code.
At that time, many musical themes were created and then we treated them as our own language of communication and the dialect sound known only to us.
Mariusz with the help of an accoustic guitar or by simply humming, recorded his ideas on a mobile phone. It was very comfortable and practical – what just came to Your head on the strret, it could have been recorded while walking in the city.
There were many drafts like this, Later on, after being ripped to the computer and listened to, they were elaborated on. The themes from that period were used mainly in tunes like: Tokyo Streets (on the CD titled: "Tokyo Streets Symphony") Ethnic ( "Ethnic Melody From The Saturn" on the CD), Seven Wells (previously named "Evening Sound Session", which was created late at night in the kitchen, while the kids were a sleep). Each of those compositions had its own tempo or the tempo changed gradually. However, they could have been modifed and extended to several minutes, but sometimes they were just a miniature.
The time of inviting new musicians has come!
During the times of jamming along in a wooden barrack, we met and invited few musicians to jam along with us. One of them was Wojtek Grabek among other few violinists. We met him through Myspace way before his first annual CD was published. Mariusz previously listened to his music posted on Myspace. Wojtek came to jam along with us.
Moreover, few other sessions and concerts took place with a trumpeter who studied classical music, five saxophonists playing various types of saxophones were also involved and finally, few keyboard players. It was really fun and thanks to that a new and independent Scene of Improvisation, European Improvisation Scene (EIS).
Those musicians took part in every compositions we were making, learning previous themes and turning them into a relaxing and musical improvisation, of which other elements were previously rehearsed.
That is all but in a nutshell..
Vinyls (vinyl records).
The search and aquisition of interesting and unique vinyls is a difficult thing. However, if You manage to find such a masterpiece, You have to listen to it on a good piece of equipment with the company of guys You like and understand. How many vinyls can You listen to when listening to one-by-one without taking a break ? We're not sure, but it seems that a lot...
Typical gramophone, great speakers and a high class audio amplifier built by hand, mind You, is a one of a kind invention built by Milosh himself.
The unique issues of Sun Ra, first records of Soft Machine, John Coltrane, the great Manfred Mann Chapter Three vol I and vol II, The Keith Tippett Group, Yamash'ta, Anthony Braxton, Caravan, Centipede, Captain Beefheart, Magma, the makings of Robert Wyatt, Cage, Fred Frith, Henry Cow, Ian Carr Nucleus, Isotope, Univers Zero... This was just the tip of an iceberg that melted gradually with each and every of our friendly meetings.
One day we received a message saying that Hugh Hopper ,bassist and composer for Soft Machine and many other fantastic groups has passed away. Then, we played a few notes and that's how the tune "Tribute To Hugh" came to light. It will probably be released on the next Light Coorporation album.
The common Trip out of town.
The common trip out of town connects people and makes a perfect foundation for the whole band. And so, we rented the cheapest house near the lake, took a multimedia projector and a laptop in order to watch some of the old concerts with John Coltrane, Miles Davis or Soft Machine.
For such a party one must have brought a barbecue set, some pickles and filled up bottles in his truck in order to enjoy and study the concert materials assembled.
The Videotapes and movie soundtrack.
In parallel with the creation of music was created a film that we folded from the pieces of old videotapes. They contained movies made during the communist era by the parents of our friend for the Polish Television broadcasting purposes. However, they were never released to the public. Suffice to say that every tens of them were rejected. Mariusz Sobański watched them together with Tom Lietzau, the band's graphic designer and multimedia specialist, as well as with Ania Piasek, our director. They were looking for images which would suit best the music we wanted to play. You can say that a movie was created on the basis of music or vice-versa... or whatever...
Those rejected materials were movies, or should we say short reports from journeys to Asia, America, Izrael and Eastern Europie. So basically, we received a mixture of various images from nearly all over the world. The Red Square in Moscow, workers of the Solidarity riots and fighting with the police somewhere in Poland, shots of people gathering food waste on large garbage dumps in Asia and the beautiful streets of Denver or New York with its peacefull and common citizents – those were the main topics discussed on the old videotapes we gathered.
This way, our tunes were reconstructed with the images we saw on the tapes which contained pics from the modern world as well as the ones from the past. It turned out that the fragments of movies put in the multimedia mixing VJ software 'Resolume' were alternating rapidly. Penetrating, imposing on each other, they aroused different emotions. We let the two completely different worlds mix and penetrate trough each other.
That is how few concerts were made, entitled: LIGHT COORPORATION "Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt"
LIGHT COORPORATION in Studio.
We went on a trip to the Studio. We wanted to spend some time with Szymon, listen to some music and talk about our upcoming recording session of our first and official LP with Light Coorporation. We wanted to meet each other and understand each other musically. Few of us have seen this magical place surrounded by the woods for the first time. It turned out that Szymon represents the same way of thinking about making music as we do. Therefore, he was the right guy in the right place at the right time.
The notion of Vintage Records is the hard work on a natural sound. It is always a common thing for us. We always wanted to record our music in the most natural way and working in a vintage interior of the VR Studio together with recording the whole band together enabled us just to do so.
The Studio itself was established in the old laundry building. It belongs to the farm buildings of Leśny Dworek Porażyn, situated in the middle of the forest. The studio has wooden windows, high, wooden ceiling with visible joists, relic tiles on the floors and soft plaster on the walls. The resonance is just perfect!
From the beggining, all of our assumptions were clear: no compromise – each and every prepared composition as well as improvisation must have been recorded live and altogether. - Mariusz Sobanski guitar, Milosh Krauz drums and Tom Struk fretless bass.
Later on, solo parts of saxophones and violins will be addes to the recording.
The First Recording session.
The most valuable thing for us was that we didn't have to rush for anything and we had the utmost comfort while recording. After some time it had become a routine that we were having fast breakfast at 11:00 and then we rushed to the Studio. The session usually ended shortly after 10.00 p.m. However, during the preparations for the supper, we talked a lot with Szymon about the session and even managed to do this while eating either a pizza or a lasagne (delivered to the middle of the woods!)
The first day was about miking the whole drumset. It really took some time to discuss the positioning of the microphones near the toms, snare drums, cymbals and the bass drum resulting almost in a brawl. There was no compromise! Few valuable comments were given regarding the registration techniques seen on some old concerts of the masters though. Even somebody mentioned a concert with the late Buddy Rich describing the positioning of the microphones in very weird places. Although today such configurations are not commonly used, they are really efficient.
Consequently, we followed our plan regarding live recording drums together with the bass and guitar. Long time ago, we figured that such realisation of our music would be true, natural and not so sterile as recording each instrument clearly and independently. Figuring the sound later on a computer and endlessly, searching for a „natural sound” is not an option and its simply pointless...
We love that kind of live performance by real and living people for real and living people. That is why we decided not to delete all the natural shimmers and many other sounds coming out of the studio. The sound of changing effects, of putting the drumsticks aside, etc... We don't want to 'steal' it from the whole recording so we can let our fans know what really happened during the session. Try to find someone coughing while perfoming!
IT turned out again, that recording on a analog tape gives the sound of our music a little bit of extraordinary magic and warmth. No computer today can ever replace the natural tape compression. We tried our best not to, as they say, „go back to the roots”, but those capabilities improved our creativity. That is what really was happening to us at that time.
Every preamp, compressor, microphone and tape recorder were from the previous, late era of sound engineering and recording. Somebody even came up with a funny phrase stating that: „All we have is full analog and full tube equipment. Heck, even our cables are full-tube"
Here is the list of the whole equipment used in the recordings of Light Coorporation / Rare DIALECT.
It's the equipment we LOVED to play on. It carries a large baggage of experience and therefore, it's nice to share this info with You:
The Studio Console is a classical Soundcraft Spirit 600, purchased from Studio Hansa in Berlin.
Studer A807 Tape Recorder and the newly purchased tape BASF 911 straight from the box and foil waiting for new challenge
After Szymon, our friend and sound engineer, labeled the tape reel with black marker our band's name Light Coorporation, we took off. It sure was cool!
We sure needed a lot of them to cover the whole band:
Sennheiser MD 421 – bought by Milosh on a flea market for couple of Zloty's – a true classic used in studios worldwide. With its help we recorded the 10” Tom and Leslie speakers plugged into the Rhodes Piano
Sennheiser MD 421 MKII – the classic MD but new edition. Great for the floor toms (we had 14”)
Sennheiser MD 441 – found by Milosh on a HiFi discussion board and bought for ridiculously cheap sum of money. It helped us record the hi-hat.
Neumann Gefell M582 with the M62 capsule – bought in the same fashion as MD441, but was found on a drummers' discussion board. Recorded Line 6 amp.
Shure SM 59 – Szymon went on to hunt it on an auction. Extremely rare and hard to find, it is great for snare drums, especially, when pointed in the direction of the shell. You can find it on the old newsreels regarding president Nixon's speeches
AKG D12 and AKG D20 – the common equipment for bass recordings. We went for them in order to record the Bass Drum and the Bass Guitar.
Shure SM57 – hasn't it been made for 40 years now? We took its transformer out and plugged it into the Siemens tube preamps – that's how the snares were recorded. However, maintaining the classical configuration we decided to record the guitar speakers Custom Audio Amplifiers 2x12 and Suhr Badger 50W Head
RØDE NT-2A – the modern microphone from Australia. It absorbed the ambient of the drums and the whole live session itself. It was also great for the saxes.
Octava MD47 – a small, ugly, plastic microphone from the early 70s. Made In USSR. Bought for 3$ on an auction as a gift and a joke for Szymon… It registered the musix boxes and bells quite well though.
Selected pair of SE4400A – also modern production, but with a classic spirit. Chosen for the Drumset Overheads.
Shure 55SH – it's said is has been made for 70 years… Its current version helped to boost the sound of the bass drum.
Compressor/Limiter Urei 1176LN custom made and modified – controlled the recording of the bass among others
Siemens V72 – Classic tube preamps mounted in mixers or in special racks. Szymon made independent hardware out of it.
Guitar: Suhr Badger 50W Head
cabinet Custom Audio Amplifiers 2x12
Music Man Luke – this one was bought directly from the producer and it's a custom made model.
Bass: Head SWR SM 500 & cabinet David Eden 410 xlt
Music Man Stingray 5
Head SWR SM 500 & cabinet David Eden 410 xlt
RHODES Seventy Three MK I together with Leslie
Roland Space Echo – bought by Szymon in Japan. Delivered in original boxes, together with papers and receits – the japanese handle their equipment with care. It is in marvellous shape, despite having a lot of years. Used live by the pianist together with Rhodes and Leslie speakers.
JUNO 105 synthesizer.
Maple Snare Drum 14”x7” made from Keller maple shell, tube lugs, Dunnett throw-off, Die Cast Premier Genista hoops and 42 Tama strings.
This Instrument was made by Bertrand and assembled by Milosh.
All music composed by: Mariusz Sobański
Recorded Live in Studio
Produced by: Mariusz Sobański
more and Francaise version: