1.1 Immermann – Extra Knusprig
So it’s finally out. The first album took about four years to produce and this one only took two, so I guess that’s pretty good progress. Things of mine tend to take a long time if I don’t have a deadline.
So head right on over to the bandcamp site, where you can stream the whole thing as many times as you like for free, or download your very own very high bitrate mp3s (or flac) files to keep, or even order a CD which I will mail/post to you in the mail/post.
Here are 22 exclusive tidbits to reward you for coming to my site:
Exclusive Tidbit #01: The opening track ((Extra Knusprig)) was Dylan’s idea, and mostly his work. I was pretty convinced that Zebralion was the best track I would ever produce and it should therefore obviously be the album opener, but Dylan thought that a short, punchy opening track would set up the flow of the album better. I’m glad I conceded because he was a billion percent correct, which is not unusual.
Dylan played almost everything on this track, reharmonising and reworking my Extra Knusprig theme which pops up a bunch of times throughout the album. We recorded my drumming with just two mics in the live room. The only cymbal you hear is my 22″ Cymbal Utopia paper-thin ride, which is used as a crash quite a bit on this record.
I added the synth melody afterwards. It’s a theme you hear later on track 13 and near the end of ‘Samizdat’. It made it feel more like an overture, which pleases me. There aren’t many softsynths like this on the album, but I often can’t resist putting a bit of TAL Noisemaker in there.
Exclusive Tidbit #02: The shaker that starts at 2:10 through Zebralion (track 2) is a glass jar of pistachio husks. You can produce the different tones by shaking the pistachio husks into the glass side or the metal lid.
Exclusive Tidbit #03: On Zebralion, the drums from 2:46 – 5:00 were recorded separately after it was discovered that my original take was too busy and sucked. The hats were a couple of 18″ crash cymbals.
An effort was made to not make this section too much of a blatant rip-off of Steven Drozd and the Flaming Lips sound. (Having My Bloody Valentine-style male-female vocals in there helped in this regard.) James has quite a lot of bitcrusher on him for his melody bits, which I hope he one day forgives me for.
Exclusive Tidbit #04: Flik’s vocals on Zebralion were recorded with a Mojave MA-200 LDC, which is a very nice microphone indeed. My (Jarrad’s) vocals were recorded with a Kriesler unbalanced hand-held thing, which I paid 50c for at a garage sale. I think they blend quite nicely.
Exclusive Tidbit #05: The Conch (track 3) was inspired by elements of my European tours with Ronnie Taheny and the Outhouse Orchestra, such as witnessing Ronnie stealing fraternal caps and bestowing conch-like significance to them, or bassist Simon Ridley‘s love of entire bands rocking out on one note for extended periouds, or the experience of being in a cosy apartment in Köln and not wanting to walk anywhere through the snow to do anything because you didn’t bring appropriate footwear and so you stay inside writing music instead.The guitar-harmonic melody in the last section was inspired by a solo by either Nicky Skopelitis or Raoul Björkenheim on an album which I lost a long time ago. It had something to do with Bill Laswell.
Exclusive Tidbit #06: I (Jarrad) am a bit of a control freak when it comes to these Immermann releases, but I had to chill out a bit on this one because it has compositions by a couple of other band members. It’s great and it leaves you with a better album in the end but it’s not always easy to let someone else’s artistic vision be the end goal. Air Banding, Rama Rama and The Big Squeeze were a bit like this (although Dylan and Flik are still the two of the easier people on the planet to work with). The only other place where this kind of shared vision approach occured was for Jess’s solo in The Conch. He knew which day he was to record the solo and he knew excatly what it needed. He is as comfortable with his wah pedal as Flavor Flav is with a clock and before I knew what was happening, he (Jess, not Flav) had plugged in and recorded the solo in one complete take. On that topic–bass! How low can it go? To a low B, as Flik recorded most of the album on her 5-string Fender J.
Exclusive Tidbit #07: ‘Air’ means ‘water’ in Malay and Indonesian. Crazy, huh?
Exclusive Tidbit #08: Air Bandung features my debut jaw-harp performance on record. I though it might make John Zorn happy if were ever to hear it. A lot of my life choices are about potentially making John Zorn happy.
Exclusive Tidbit #09: The first half of track 6 was produced completely by Jess in his place in Melbourne. I believe the percussion was his acoustic guitar being struck. The second half of this track features me sneakily de-tuning Flik’s bass while she played it. The plan backfired because she just stopped playing to see what the problem was. We used the take anyway.
Exclusive Tidbit #10: I wrote the main riff of Sensible Haircut Dan while sharing a house with my friend Josh. I asked him for a song title as he walked by. At the same time there was some fireman or something called Dan Someone being interviewed on the news on a muted tv nearby. This fireman had a remarkably sensible haircut, which did not go unnoticed by Josh, who suggested the title.
Exclusive Tidbit #11: Dylan’s tune Rama Rama was the most difficult tune to play on the album, mostly due to the weird time signature changes throughout. It was also the hardest to mix, though I don’t know why.
Exclusive Tidbit #12: The snare on D. F. W. has a big fat shaker sitting on it. Some other tracks have small shakers taped to the snare but you can’t really hear them and I can’t remember which tracks they were.
Exclusive Tidbit #13: The Big Squeeze was actually two tunes by Flik, which she had sequenced up and sent to me. I smashed them together and added the big unison guitar/bass harmonic expo at the end. The idea behind the harmonic stuff at the end is that you can kind of fade between an open string and a harmonic and it’s kind of hard to pinpoint exactly where the harmonic starts.
Exclusive Tidbit #14: There are some delays scattered throughout the album. Most of the delays were done in the box with plugins. Nasty DLA was the one I used the most. There are quite a few plugins from that guy which I use all he time. They’re free and excellent.
Exclusive Tidbit #15: The warbling on track 11 was achieved by tapping the spools on the tape machine as it was recording. It’s the very same roll of tape that featured heavily on the first 1.1 Immermann album (like all that business at the start of Pig Sting for example).
Exclusive Tidbit #16: The Hate Camel is named in honour of Bill Hicks, who claimed that he could spend one night in a nightclub and accrue enough hate for the rest of humanity to last him the rest of the year. The intro features drums doubled with a drum machine and me humming into a fan. One of Kilophone studio’s trademarks is fans without barriers.
Exclusive Tidbit #17: From 2:32 until about 3:27 on The Hate Camel is the only bit of the album with no reverb whatsoever on it and everything close-mic’ed. I wanted it to be as dry as dry can be.
Exclusive Tidbit #18: The first half of The Hate Camel is the most harmonically interesting bit of the album because it was written by Leo Auri. He’s good at that sort of thing.
Exclusive Tidbit #19: En (Track 14) has a lot of bits and pieces of things that I’ve written over many years. It feels good to finally finish with them, commit them to record and move on. Flik used my Fender (Squire) 4-string J-bass for bits of this because it was easier to execute the 9th chords on it.
Exclusive Tidbit #20: A lot of guitar on this album, especially Dylan’s guitar, was recorded with an amplifier miced up in a separate room plus a microphone on the guitar itself. You can hear this pretty clearly in the solo in Sensible Haircut Dan and the rhythmy bits of En.
Exclusive Tidbit #21: James’s has some pretty gnarly tones throughout. On Samizdat (track 16) we had him cranked though a crappy set of headphones which were sitting in the body of a piano with its sustain pedal jammed down. Sounds slightly like a sitar, no? I guess not.
Exclusive Tidbit #22: Although the record was recorded on computers, most of it was summed and had its final mixdown running through an old Alice Stancoil console. It’s capricious and noisy but sounded great. I quite like some of the noise it contributed too, like at the start of The Big Squeeze and En. The sound of the console was not transparent, but it gave a wonderful fatness to the guitar sounds which is a pretty big part of the album.