New Zealand jazz icon Nathan Haines drew some public complaints about “really loud saxophone coming out of the carpark” when he recorded upcoming album, Vermillion Skies.
The follow up to 2012’s The Poet’s Embrace, most of Vermillion Skies was written in London where Haines and his wife Jaimie moved to last year.
With a spartan studio set-up of a small midi keyboard, walkman speakers and his tenor saxophone, Haines set out to put his new life in London into sounds – and words.
Haines expounds on topics from dressing in 80s 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.
Producer Mike Patto and engineer Simon Gooding tried something very unique when it came to reverb and echo – a speaker and stereo microphones in York Street Studio’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.
“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”, Haines says.
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 Steinway grand piano, drummer Alain Koetsier and acoustic bassist Ben Turua. The new album builds on the sound of its predecessor, but takes it further with the inclusion of a six piece brass section made up 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.
Vermillion Skies is out next Friday and available to pre-order on iTunes now.