Robin Guthrie: no synths, just guitars, smoke and mirrors…

Robin Guthrie = Elvis the King in the Laura B Hall Of Fame. Best known for his unbelievably beautiful signature guitar sound in Cocteau Twins, one of my favorite bands of all time and one great influence over my music too!

Robin talks about sound production: ‘The pulsating stuff was my green Paul Reed Smith guitar (’cause I did most of Heaven Or Las Vegas with it and my ’59 Jazzmaster) played through a Gallien Kruger pre-amp straight into the board. This was then treated with a Lexicon 480L (pitch shifted +10 cents and -10 cents to make it stereo) and delayed with a Yamaha D1500 in sync with the bpm of the track. Next the fun bit: I inserted a Drawmer DS201 dual noise gate over the stereo guitar and triggered it externally from click track playing 16th notes. Then I re-recorded the track back from tape through a Cry Baby wah-wah which I moved manually (ie. with my hands).’

In another interview Robin also talks about processing their drum machine through a guitar amp…

Reading this, I recall many studio sessions spent doing exactly that: plumbing (connecting) stuff together either in the 1- way it’s supposed to be or 2- way it’s not supposed to be or 3- a combination of the two, in order to create a unique brilliant and exciting new sound for the record!!! You have to know the rules in order to break them and we didn’t have much time either as the clock was ticking (studio time was expensive).

Where does that leave us today? What happened to that pioneering spirit? Computers have made recording music the-way-it’s-supposed-to-be-done so easy that there is no experimenting anymore. And I have been struggling with this for a while.

These last few months, I have bought some unusual pieces of kit: some guitar processors like a big Digitech pedalboard, some other odd outboard processors and a Kawai Q-80 which is a MIDI analog sequencer, with a 2 line display and start, stop and record buttons. I have started to make music using just these (non-computer) electronics.

I will post some music here soon to get your feedback. Meanwhile thanks for listening 😉



About The Fantastic Laura B

Born in France, but now resident in Shoreditch, East London, Laura’s full working moniker is ‘The fantastic Laura B’. Her varied career has included success as an engineer, producer and DJ and well as her achievements in the field of electronica. Laura has performed in Paris, London, Japan, India and the USA. She has worked with a diverse range of artists including Roger Waters from Pink Floyd, Pet Shop Boys, Finley Quaye and the Spice Girls. Laura started making her own music in 2000 and her work has been described as ‘post-chilled’; with its strikingly atmospheric soundscapes and textured breakbeats. Her distinctive brand of elegant, organic electronica may be supremely chilled, but it is always uplifting.
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