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Some of you have asked about the vinyl track listing so I thought I’d explain. For those of you who remember the glory days of vinyl it will bring back memories!
First of all the album’s a wee bit quiet because of the information that had to be cut into the vinyl. All the sides are over 20 minutes long and I had to address the running order in a completely different way from a CD where you have one straight run to be designed. I always called it the “roller coaster” and the CD is a completely different ride to the vinyl experience.
Quiet sections such as the “High Wood”, “The Leaving” and “Blind” for example don’t require a lot of needle groove but in louder sections the groove is expanded to carry the info. Sometimes you can get away with 23 minutes on a side but not with loud music as the vinyl can’t take the expanse of cutting a large groove. If you look at the record you can see the quiet sections as the groove is tighter!
I had to stay true to the album and also take into account the physical movements involved from the listener!
Unlike a CD where it’s press and play the vinyl ceremony requires 3 breaks from the listening position.
So you put the album on, adjust volumes etc and sit down on the couch or beanie bag or whatever just as the drones of “Perfume River” ease you into the journey! I knew I couldn’t get the High Wood suite on one side so it had to be split. The issue was how? And that’s where my 80’s memory kicked in and I remembered how we used to do it!
So you sit back and take in “Perfume River” and then enter the “High Wood” which takes you into the charge to “Crucifix Corner” ending in the soft musical take out to the end of side 1. 23.39 minutes!
So as the needle bumps into the end of the spiral you have to climb out of your beanie bag and out of your hopefully semi euphoric state and go to the turntable to turn the album over to side 2.
It had to start with something that didn’t require a relaxed state as you are heading back to the beanie bag to re engage the music. “The Gathering” with it’s more up tempo vibe dealt the right card. ( Floyd do it with “Money” on Dark Side). Then you slide into “Thistle Alley” and “The Leaving” before “Other Side of Me” creates a high and a soft landing at the end of side 2. 21.50 minutes and enough groove to accommodate the bass and volume on Thistle Alley and Gathering etc. Just over 45 minutes across 2 sides and pushing the maximum on the vinyl. It is a slightly quiet album but the volume had to be reduced to get all the music info into the 2 spirals.
So here you are again up on your feet and changing across to side 3 with the added movements of replacing a disc in the sleeve and putting the next one on the turntable. Once again I decided to use a track that allowed the listener to get back to the comfort position before setting out on the next curve!
“Feast”, “All Loved Up”, loud and raucous before a quiet “Blind” and a relatively quiet “Great Unravelling” to take you into that place where it’s just you and the music. The guitar solo ends the album proper and hopefully you sit and listen to the stylus bumping at the end of the spiral not willing for a moment to get up and ruin the atmosphere that’s been created. 21.26 minutes.
Side 4 is the extra dimension and another physical movement to turn the disc and a different journey into the live recordings from Karlsruhe. The first 3 sides should have done their job and the live material is the optional bonus.
And that dear Fishheads is how I put together the vinyl edition and the thought processes behind it.
When you think that 30 years ago we only had to write 45 minutes of music for an album and that now “Feast” is actually only around 16 minutes and perhaps 2 or 3 songs short of what used to be a double album it’s quite an achievement and indicates the pressure on writing material nowadays.We would never have considered writing a double album back in Marillion days yet here we are now having to put together nearly that amount of material every time we embark on an album project!
In all honesty I was very tempted to carry on writing more songs for the High Wood and expanding on it but that would have taken me over the capacity I could possibly fill , just short of 73 minutes or so, on a standard CD.
I think the new tracklisting on the “Feast of Consequences” vinyl edition works really well and it is a completely different listening experience to the version on CD. It was a lot of fun to put together and I’m looking forward to putting the rest of the catalogue out on vinyl as the year progresses.
I hope those of you who get the vinyl enjoy it as much as I did !
The ceremony always remains special!