The open track off our debut album - Guided by Degrees. Enjoy!
Pre-production Part One.
So we are officially in pre-production for Sankara’s debut full length (in glorious metrocolor) album. How do we know this? Well this week (week 4 of February 2012) saw the rhythm section pairing off and starting to disassemble the demos and rebuild their parts one rhythm at a time. (well not really…but Rhayn
and Vinden swear it feels that way!)
So how the hell do they achieve cohesion and focus whilst at the same time repetitively playing the same stuff over and over again with out getting bored?
The rehearsal is normally a five hour schedule with Vinden arriving first at the studio to set up, get comfortable and then warm up. Rhayn normally arrives an hour to two into this to set up. The warm up for our bass player is normally a jam of some sorts that Vinden has cooked up or one of Sankara’s early EP songs - something with balls like Exalted Star.
Once warm they will settle on the first of a batch of new songs, such as Chasing the Sun, and whirl through it a couple of times (with a backing track and click) to reacquaint themselves with the form, feel and structure of the piece. Then the hard work starts: there will be stops and starts now to find out what each is playing. For this song Rhayn had to learn Vinden’s bass drum pattern and sync it in with the harmony and guitar parts.
(To hear it you will have to wait for the Album though next installment we might tease with some video footage) They will run small sections over and over, starting slowly and then building up to speed (and yes..all with a click track) till its tight.
Then the backing track gets stuck on, they play through the full track a couple of times and then dive back into the next section that needs attention or that is queried by each other.
Cymbals, fills, bass lines and meter are discussed in an open forum where the merits of each idea presented is queried until it works. Each song normally takes about an hour to go through in this methodical way. It guarantees that their parts are so tight that risler paper cannot slide past.
That is how the rhythm method works for Sankara and it is all for a good cause; As when we go into the studio next month the ideas need to be cemented and in the groove as tracking is done to a click with a meticulous set of ears and producers listening to everything.
2011 has proved to be the beginning of Sankara as a band. We have had close encounters and sweated and trod some interesting boards together. We got out gigged, released our debut EP and through out the year written, jammed and put together 15 - 20 songs that are being readied to release as a full length album. Pre-production for the new album will begin in earnest in January 2012, however before all that we would like to point to the artists that have inspired us this year with their songs and music. Why? Well everybody likes lists; and these are albums that have in one way or another fired our inspiration and kicked our arses into gear to aspire for more.
So the Ten most inspiring album releases for 2011 are…
10. Animals As Leaders -Isolated Incidents
This album with its progressive pieces, odd time signatures and fast riffs proved a real eye opener for Vinden and right up Rhayn’s street. The drums, guitar and bass are united in virtuasic flurry of notes.
9. Whitesnake - Forevermore
The old rocks proved there was life in the beast. This album has some great tracks, most are just good old fashioned fun with rock. The song Forevermore is a great piece of sound architecture.
8. Adele - 21
How could you not like this? A warning to all boys or another creative product fuelled by a broken heart? Which ever it is this album is from the heart with some truly great songs and lyrics.
7. Opeth - Heritage
A turn up for the books and a departure from their usual fare. This album is one that just takes you on a journey and requires alot of plays to start to delve into its texture.
6. Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn of Events
No Portnoy? How shall they go on! Well they did and it provided the air and space required to get the music flowing again, noticeably so. This harks back to their earlier works and has some really fine riffs along with the usual turns and odd times.
5. Chickenfoot - Chickenfoot III
Rock’s super group have come back with some great new songs and lyrics. An album that is structured and varied with a little bit for every one. This is another production that Jay tore apart and re-engineered for their sonics
4. Mr Big - What If
A great rocking album that just has alot of fun in each track. Nuff said..really!
3. Joe Bonamassa - Dust Bowl
A kick arse release that has some of the bluesman’s best songs and solos on it to date. Never boring and always touching…an inspiration to us all
2. Machine Head - Unto the Locust
Pedal to the metal, this album is awesome with ballads and kick arse lyrics done in true Machine Head Style. Darkness Within is a modern rock ballad with some inspiring lyrics.
1. Black Stone Cherry - Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
This proved to the album that has effected us the most this year. Its probably one of the best produced albums on offer with a sonic palette that is 100% clear and audible. The songs are tight, well written and perfect in length. The riffs are catchy and their roots still visible. This is on constantly in Jay, Rhayn and Vinden’s cars.
This is to say thank you for all those who supported us and patiently waited while we got out shit together this year.
Thank you…from all of us in Sankara.
This song is our Christmas present to all who have stuck with us. It was sent out to all those lucky people on our mailing list first, so if you want exclusive access please join - here.
The song is a cover of Tori Amos’ Precious Things and has been close to Gareth (our virtuous singers) heart for a long time. It features a glimpse into the music we are cooking up for our upcoming Album (available some time around summer 2012). Here we are delving into our sonic landscaping brushes, layering guitars and rocking hard in the rhythm section. It has subtle use of dynamics and arrangement techniques which we are experimenting with to find the right over all tone for the upcoming album. We would love to hear any feedback from you guys, get hold of us on our Facebook page and get involved.
It is available to listen to free HERE or if you are feeling generous to buy from Itunes. It will be available for a limited time so get it while you can. If you are wondering why (who wouldn’t); its because we had to purchase licenses to release this song and so being poor musos could only afford a limited number. So its first come first service. The song has been made available to these rocking radio station who have supported us from the word go, so a big thank you to them:
Those of you on our mailing list have already had first listen and so far the feedback is positive. Have a great Christmas and see you in the new year when we get out gigging!
All the best
The delights of the psychedelic mind of Jay MacDonald channeling Sankara.
The ballad of Gareth Jones…
Title track off Sankara’s EP Enigma.
Performed live @ Buffalo Bar Cardiff at the launch on the 15th October 2011.
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