VERMILLION SKIES - Haines, Nathan
The follow up to 2012's THE POET'S EMBRACE, most of VERMILLION SKIES was written in London where Nathan and his wife Jaimie re-located to last year. WIth a spartan studio set-up of a small midi keyboard, walkman speakers and of course his tenor saxophone, Haines set about to put his new life in London into sounds - and words. Tongue firmly in cheek, Haines expounds on topics from dressing in 80's garb, staying up all night and watching the sun come up over a London cityscape draped in Vermillion shadings, to never knowing who you may run into on the once very dangerous London streets.
With Mike Patto at the production helm, once again the album oozes analog warmth, with all band performances recorded together and captured via York St Studio's 1974 EMI Neve and a vast array of vintage microphones. However this time Patto and engineer Simon Gooding tried something very unique when it came to reverb and echo - a speaker and stereo microphones in York Street's vast caverned wooden ceilinged car park and a disused large upper room served as a live echo chamber, with parts of the mix sent to naturally reverberate, then recorded and put back onto the final mix. Nathan further explains - "That live reverb sound is something myself and Mike have been dreaming about for years.
On THE POET'S EMBRACE we used a vintage plate reverb, but this time we wanted that huge real sound of an echo in a room. It sounds amazing on everything!" Luckily the reverbs had already been recorded by the time irate neighbours phoned York St to complain, with one caller almost in tears saying "there's been really loud saxophone coming out of the carpark all weekend!" Also on the album are pianist Kevin Field on a 12 foot Steinway grand piano, drummer Alain Koetsier with his classic sound of fire and polyrhythms and acoustic bassist Ben Turua who provides a superb and solid foundation in the bass department.
VERMILLION SKIES builds on the classic sound of, THE POET'S EMBRACE, (which debuted in the Top 15 on the Official NZ Music Albums Top 40 chart), but takes it even further with the inclusion of a six piece brass section made up (unusually) of two flugels, two french horns and two trombones. "I wanted a Birth of the Cool sound for the brass section on this album" describes Haines, referencing the classic 1949 Miles Davis album which was opposite in sound from the blaring dance band trumpets popular of the day.
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