South London musician Halls makes really great, introverted art pop. He released a second album called 'Love To Give' through No Pain In Pop earlier this year. The label are reissuing the album later this month in extended form – it features new material, covers, and alternate versions from the album's sessions. It also includes this rather brilliant new track, Farfisa Revox.
Farfisa Revox is a collaboration with Richard Formby. Formby is a producer for the likes of Wild Beasts, Darkstar, and Egyptian Hip Hop, and his studio is full of various old boxes and trinkets to make strange, unusual sounds, and his old school recording techniques (analogue synths, recording to tape, etc.) gives a distinctive character to the bands he works with. Basically, if you're a pop band with experimental inclinations, you're unlikely to find a more suitable producer today. Formby & Halls' collaboration is an eerie, eight-minute improvisation for haunted music halls.
"We were on tour and it was the morning after playing a show in Leeds," Halls says about the song over email, "Richard invited us to his studio in the city and we went there, all of us, and played around with his gear. Whilst he was showing the others the recording room, Ian and I started improvising on an old Farfisa keyboard. The keyboard was a bit broken, one of the keys only made white noise. Ian took the left-hand side and started playing an arpeggiated pattern of bass notes, fairly slowly, with his left hand. We added more patterns bit by bit, and by the time both our hands were playing arpeggiated patterns Richard had turned on the Revox – I think it was an A77 or a B77 – and was running effects through the recording too, a panned delay. We didn't realise he was recording at the time, we only found out after. The improvisation was recorded on some knackered reel of tape, hence the distortions and alternating speeds. We kept playing until we couldn't go on. It got quite intense in the studio.
"All effects, modulations, notes and patterns were created on the spot, one recording, no multi-tracking and no overdubs. It's a brief snapshot."
Halls 'Love To Give' tracklist:
01. Love To Give
03. Harmony In Blue
06. You Must Learn To Live Again
09. Body Eraser / Avalanche
10. Portrait In Blue
11. The Greatest (Cat Power cover)
12. Love To Give (In Blue)
13. Aside (Ides version)
14. 21 Nov SE23
15. I Guess I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times (Beach Boys cover)
16. The Wind
17. Farfisa Revox (Richard Formby collaboration)
No Pain In Pop release 'Love To Give (Extended Release)' on August 18th 2014 (pre-order).