Group: Super Admins
Joined: Dec. 1999
||Posted: Jan. 09 2017, 15:26
|Quote (larstangmark @ Jan. 08 2017, 11:26)|
|When you think about it, a man in his young twenties can't articulate his own wishes and preferences, can he? He's busy trying to please people around him.|
I find this really interesting. Was Mike trying to please people around him? Hmm! I think that's a complex one, and likely one where I'd want to do a lot more digging and thinking than I've done so far before coming to any kind of conclusion...
Certainly I think he was balancing the pressure from the record company with his need to process the world around him through his music. He took all that he had and put it into Tubular Bells, then seems to have felt that Hergest Ridge was rather forced out of him at a time when he wasn't ready for it.
I got curious enough about the process of how Ommadawn came to be born, the balance of internal versus external input and so on, that I asked Les Penning about it. I find his input interesting because once you're listening for it, Les's recorders are absolutely all over Ommadawn, and the pair of them spent a lot of time together in the years Mike was in Kington. So I came to a question which I think is really relevant to what you've said...how much did Mike have a clear idea in his head of what he wanted? The answer:
"He knew what he wanted, that’s without a doubt. He didn’t always know how to achieve it. But he didn’t always know that he wanted what he wanted, and that’s what I had to supply, to try and get out of him what he did want. And of course the instruments themselves have limitations, but they also can do things which a lot of people don’t think they can do, and...between the two of us, we...well, made it sound like it sounds."
I think I should probably qualify that "between the two of us" remark, because it was clearer in context - he was referring to the parts where he had input, as opposed to claiming that the album was the work of him and Mike alone. But...does that give a bit more of an idea of where he was at, in terms of his own wishes and how they were articulated?
I suppose now, the question is whether that's a situation that's actually changed. Does he now have a more concrete idea of exactly what he wants on his album, or is it still really a case of knowing what he wants to achieve, but still being open as to exactly how the details of that are going to pan out? I found it interesting that he'd been asking on Facebook about mistakes and whether he should keep them in to add character - I personally find that those often fall into that "I'll know it when I hear it" category, in that sometimes I'll have an "I didn't mean to do that, but I actually quite like it" moment. While it's not exactly the same as having the input of another musician, I think those moments can have a similar function - they can sometimes turn out to be things which better fit what we were trying to achieve than the initial idea did.
Sometimes, of course, they just sound horrible and ruin it. That makes Mike's question a bit difficult to answer - the only reply can really be "use your judgement and ask whether it fits the character of what you're aiming for."
I wouldn't go as far as to say that Mike didn't have a clue what he was doing in the early 70s, but it does sometimes feel, from things like that question, and his comments about people not liking Tubular Bells 2003 as much, that he has the sense that people hear something very different in those albums to what he does...that maybe there's a secret to them which he can't quite put his finger on.
Has he worked that one out now? Time (and a listen to the new album) will tell, I suppose