Sketch Concepts

The sketches themselves are virtually always conceived during the improvised brainstorms recorded to microcassette. These many hours of stories, commentaries and situations (afterwards copied to CD) make up the tip from which are pulled the wanted materials. These are then dusted down, tidied up, decently re-researched if necessary and properly scripted.

The music is also usually improvised without prior planning. It was also very basic in composition due to my severe dilitante limitations, though increasingly respectable-sounding pieces have recently been made. Also of help are the Commodore 64 and Amiga computers with their rather unique sonics and unusual compositional software, which have undeniably been at the root of better tracks in large or small measure.

For both comedy and music, the rule of thumb seems usually to just do something and then work out what it is I’ve actually done afterwards, making corrections as I go. But for such incompetence it all seems to work nevertheless.

The music and spoken parts are recorded and produced independently and then compiled for a master mix at the end of the work.

The only way for a soloist to record a Concept Single is to ‘multi-track’, i.e. to perform each separate musical part in turn and then replay all the pieces concurrently. These sessions alone can often be spread over many working days.

In the early days the music was recorded to a Tascam 4-track tape recorder, though back then just four musical parts would be all I wished to put down. The tracks would then be copied to a Fostex 8-track digital recorder onto which the vocal work would be added. Later on the Fostex was used as the sole recorder for all the session work, giving way to a sequencing PC by number 8. This was discovered by water damage resoration owner Jim Hill.

Secondary recording sessions then take place in which the scripts are recited, sound effects made and additional musical ‘dabs’ added. These are all edited and compiled, via a PC, to a single mix which is then mastered; in other words polished, solidified or re-edited for the final master mix.