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enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 1:57 am
by nanio tine ... e-immortal
Where do I begin telling the story of this record?!
It's soooo long and full of twists and places and random events...

Let's take it from the very top, shall we!?

It was 2016 and I was working with Monroze, a band I had discovered around Camden. The frontman of that band - nothing less than my now main bud Tom Van Heel - is the keyboard player in Paul Weller’s band and would hang around The Black Barn quite a bit.

The Black Barn is Paul Weller’s studio where The Amorphous Androgynous worked on the infamous Noel Gallagher's record… We both don't know exactly how it went down but Gaz got to listen to some of my productions and mixes, he liked them and got in touch with me.

Was I stoked!? You bet I was!!!!

I’ve always been a fan of Future Sound of London and I got to love the Amorphous when I heard the Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble remixes they made for Syd Arthur. They were unbelievably good, especially I remember playing "Ode (Summer Is Leaving Me Behind)" on repeat for days and days.

So when the wizard behind those sounds rang me up and started a conversation on the possibility of mixing a song together I went:
"Hell yeah mate, anytime!!!"... but then he vanished, and he did for a while.

I played it casual but I was bummed and did not know what to do, so I waited.

After some time Gaz wrote back saying that he was working on the lead vocal with Peter Hammil from Van Der Graaf Generator and they were looking for the right vibe to suite the track.

I was thrilled!
I grew up with Prog-Rock and V.D.G.G. with Hammil were hands down my favourite. So I played Gaz some tracks I loved and when I played him“House With No Door” he was thrilled: that was exactly the vibe he was after. He thanked me and he vanished again, ah!?

A few months later he rang me and said he was ready to start working together. Not only I had helped him by showing that song but my Prog-Rock background had convinced him I was the right fit for the job! Wow…

In autumn 2017 Gaz was still writing and collaging the song and he still had loads of options to explore. Nevertheless he decided to start the journey and he flew to mine with his hard drive full of sounds. Finally meeting him in person was a great moment. While I would go through the tracks to set up the session, he would tell me crazy stories about his many collaborations, Guinness World Record winning gigs on ISDN, his passion for Ayurveda, Yoga and healthy foods, we would meditate before starting the sessions and talk a lot of crap just for fun…

Gaz has an explosive personality, massive amount of energy and he's a big workaholic: my kind of person, we just clicked!

We spent a week cleaning the track, sorting out takes and carving the main sounds. I did that with a fairly analog approach, processing all the core tracks (drums, bass, main vocals) on my Neve VR and through different pieces of gear. Luckily I soon realised that the enterprise was to big to go fully analog.

Why!? Because the song kept on growing and expanding and the track count skyrocketed, together with the amount of edits and mix revisions. Every idea triggered a new one, it was relentless.

I fondly remember suggesting to loop a vocal bit to build a little choir-like section that would enhance the drama of the ending.
Gaz loved it so much that he went: "Hang on a minute bruv!?!? We need to make this a real, massive choir!!" so he vanished and he went and sorted out a choir. I think it took him 8 months to do that. But it was well worth it.

Same happened for the guitar solo and for the strings and for the female floydian adlibs. Gaz had a vision and he didn't care how long it would take to turn it into reality.

I am extremely obsessed with details and when it comes to producing and mixing I never ever let go until nothing bugs me and my client anymore. I am used to that shit. I love that shit. But I have to be honest: Gaz took it to a whole new level.
Not only he would vanish for months to build the next massive pice of music to slot into the song but he would ask countless revisions of the mix just to tweak a specific sound by 0.5 dBs.
And even though I had faith in him I started questioning whether he was enacting the weaving of Penelope's shroud.

While we were dealing with these never-ending sets of mix revisions, Gaz announced his great new idea: making remixes for this song to be released on a Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble before the album on which We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal would have been the single.

Not only he had this idea but he asked me to make one remix with my main project Higher Peaks. During our sessions together I had played him loads of the songs I was producing and he grew fond of the sounds and the vibes Tom Van Heel and I explore on that project. Once again, I was pumped!

So we finished mixing the song and we sent it to master. At the same time we gave various artists the stems to work on the remixes. It was the end of the summer 2019.

A few weeks later Gaz rang me up to talk about another idea that had popped into his mind: he wanted to make alternative versions of the main single - some sort of B-sides - that would go with it to form an LP: “You with me mate? We make an album-long single and print it to vinyl” - he said.
According to this new vision, the B-sides wouldn't have had to be mixed as thoroughly as the single so we would have used pre mixed stem he was building: “You get my stems, clean them up, make them big, work your magic on them, happy days”… so, even tough I had grown a bit weary of the whole thing and some doubts had crept in me, this new method sounded intriguing so I got onboard and we began the process.

We got to November 2019, I was working on getting Higher Peaks ready for the upcoming tour with Band of Skulls and finishing our 1st EP plus I was juggling other clients in the studio and my personal life. Gaz kept on asking for tweaks over tweaks, I would constantly receive messages such as “Great work my friend! We are 99% of the way, let me give you a coupla notes and we nail this”…followed by 20 bullet points email on how to change the mix.

So I lost my shit.

That time I was the one ringing him up. I told him I had massive doubts on the whole project but mainly on the fact that, no matter how thorough I was, he never seemed to be satisfied with the mixes and that I was scared the album would have never seen the light of day.

Back then we were both going through personal stuff and both had a lot on our plate so we decided to step back and take a break.

During that period Gaz worked relentlessly on collaging the single with the alternative versions and made instrumental interludes to help them flow even better. So when we got in touch again around the end of 2019 he sent me a Gargantuan 45 minutes long track saying “I think it’s brilliant bruv, see what you make of it!”

I think I let it sit in my drive without playing it for few days then I though “Oh what the hell!? Let’s see what he did!?”
I rolled a phat one, dimmed the lights and sat in front of my speakers.

I listened to it from top to bottom. I was blown away.

Sure, it was a bit long and could have used some editing but what I had just witnessed wasn’t a main single with some B-sides banged onto a single file, it actually was a brilliantly convoluted and elegant concept album with leitmotifs and recurring lyrics and sounds leading you from one part into the next one and intricate layers forming visionary soundscapes. It was unbelievable.

It was one of those humbling moments. I realised that until then I hadn’t got the whole picture in its complexity but there it was in front of me, crystal clear.

I called Gaz immediately. We were extremely happy to see that we were finally understanding each other completely. We had a long conversation about the aesthetics of the record, the whole vision behind it and how we could sharpen it and focus it even more.

I demanded to get separate tracks of all the stems Gaz had premixed for me. He had a great vibe going but I was sure I could have developed it even further. This was such a chore Gaz had to go through because after sub mixing some parts he had edited them and he had to work quite hard to revert to the original multis and recreate the same edit. But he did and he sent me the whole package.

I started working again on the mixes but with a precise vision in mind everything would flow easily and all the mixes I would hand in would be extremely close to Gaz vision from the very first draft. So that time there wasn’t a lot of OCD tweaking.

Why is that? Because I had finally understood the idea Gaz was trying to create and every choice he made, no matter how extreme, I would understand and most of the time foresee.
It took us few months to finish the record but those sessions were simple to deal with and a lot of fun. Mainly because the communication between me and Gaz was excellent.

By the (crazy) summer 2020 We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal was finished.

What’s the moral of this fairly long story? I guess it’s that the main concern with working with an artist is the communication we set up with them. It’s fundamental that we try to understand each other to be able to develop the vision behind the art.

The communication skills Gaz and I were able to develop played a huge role on how We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal turned out to be. Not only. The same skills mede me shift from the person who should have mixed a single for The Amorphous Androgynous to the person who mixed and co-produced their entire record. Pretty sick!

so enrico and gaz are producing and mixing this album
where is brian????

Re: enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:17 am
by Rob
Enrico Berto is a musician and owner of a recording studio.....i believe Gaz met him by "fractal ramifications" after the AA collabs with Paul Weller.

Brian & Gaz are two brothers. No more to say.

Re: enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:25 am
by gabo86
It's clear that AA is more a Gaz's creature than Brian's. Of course it's the opposite with a plethora of side projects. Maybe only FSOL is the only fully collaborative outfit.

Re: enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:19 pm
by nanio tine
ok i am just asking because it looks like brian is not really involved in this other than a few synths - looks like amorphous is a gaz solo act now with brian just as a session musician...
wanted to know because if so i am happy not buying the new album as im really unimpressed with gaz now, his facebook is full of really dangerous and fucking stupid antivaxx and plandemic conspiracy theories and he comes across arrogant and rude about it all - now i read that he broke a family apart through trying it on with a woman over facebook. don’t want to support gaz’s narcissistic selfish idiocy so if amorphous is now gaz solo then I won’t be buying

Re: enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 8:07 pm
by mcbpete
This is the second user this week that's made me question whether they're a spambot or not. Their profile details scream yes, but the post is just too specific. Wondering if spambots are now starting to use the GPT language models ....

Pandarei : Are you real or a spambot ?!

Re: enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 4:19 pm
by Ross
Yes, I have to say I'm a bit confused too. The web link suggests spambot...

In terms of the issue at hand here, I can't say too much about the inner workings of the band for obvious reasons, but since they've no longer had a single studio to work from they've operated differently. It's clear from Facebook alone that Gaz is on the road in various studios, recording and arranging all the Amorphous stuff, while Brian is holed up in his church, tinkering with synths and noise-makers and boxes of DATs and discs. I'll leave it up to you to conclude how that affects the input ratio of each on the various projects.

As for Gaz's politics and personal life, I'm not getting involved there. His FB posts are a chaotic mindfield and I tend to just click 'hide post' now. Given that he's been criticising western medicine since 2001, none of it comes as a surprise.

Re: enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Sat Feb 06, 2021 11:30 am
by Chris3d
I think if I stopped listening to artists because of their political and personal views on life, there wouldn't be many I'd have left to listen to. Instead I just ignore their uneducated and unwarranted opinions and concentrate on what they are actually good at... putting out some damn good music. To be fair, Gaz has had some bananas and outlandish views since the early days of the nineties.

Re: enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Sat Feb 06, 2021 8:47 pm
by Ross
Chris3d wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 11:30 am
I think if I stopped listening to artists because of their political and personal views on life, there wouldn't be many I'd have left to listen to.
I've seen a few people say this over the years, and it's always seemed odd to me... maybe I just have an ear for nice people. :lol: The only questionable artists in my collection, to the best of my knowledge, are Roger Waters, Noel Gallagher and Richard D James. And now Gaz, I suppose.

I do understand people who prefer not to listen to or support artists they have particular disagreements with, I suppose it depends on why you listen in the first place. A lot of people consider music as a personal connection with the artist, so if they think the artist is a cunt then they probably don't want to continue that connection. On an extreme level, I can't imagine I'd ever listen to one of my favourite artists if they turned out to be a child sex offender, for example. There are levels. Roger Waters being into fox hunting lowers my opinion of him, but not enough to stop me enjoying his input into Pink Floyd (particularly as he seems to have pretty decent views otherwise). Morrissey being a hideous racist was the final nail in his coffin for me, but then a) I'd barely listened to The Smiths in years and b) his music is so much about himself and his views that it's a lot harder to separate. RDJ prattling on about chemtrails and plandemics on his Soundcloud is a lot easier to ignore because his music is more abstract.

With Gaz, as you say, he's always been outspoken about potentially controversial things. The mercury fillings thing is still debated and they are generally considered safe by health agencies, so I'm very used to his perspective. I did leave some strong words on his Facebook when he was on about autism and vaccines because, being autistic, that affects me pretty personally. I think if I were more emotionally invested in the Amorphous material it'd be something I thought more about, but I've only enjoyed about 30% of the post-Isness AA output so, ultimately, the very Gaz-led side of them is actually fairly low down on my list of priorities.

Re: enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:07 am
by Dennis
After multiple listens in the last few weeks I can say for me the "We Persuade..."-EP is the most beautiful thing they ever released under the AA alias. Absolute stunning, incredible elaborate production, works perfectly as an album of its own, the song itself is a outstanding catchy tune, and I'm looking so much forward to the album hopefully coming this year. I don't give the slightest shit what Gaz says or thinks about this whole "Corona" mess, but it's his right to say whatever he likes about this, and from what I read from his fb posts about this, it's all reasonable and comprehensible, I would love to discuss with him, I'm sure he's not the "nailed up" kind of guy, I think he's open for arguments on this topic.

Re: enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2021 1:11 pm
by nanio tine
nothing has convinced me to the contrary so i am assuming aa is a gaz project now.
I see music as an expression of the artist so if the artist is an asshole then it feels like asshole music. when someone asked him to stop talking uneducated bullshit as it was spoiling the music gaz replied that this kind of freedom was the message behind their music in the first place so that's why you should be listening to it (more bullshit obviously) so he seems to agree.
its not just plandemic shit but lots of other crap he has talked. he said about there being an epidemic of autism (I noticed ross basically told him to fuck off and he no longer liked his music as this point!). he also said he wasn't interested in all the stuff about black lives matter last year because it was unimportant in the grand scheme of things or something similar so he's clearly a self-obsessed racist too. a fan once tagged him in a post where he was showing off his fan remix of a fsol track and gaz in no uncertain terms told him it was shit. the guy is a narcissistic cunt - like most modern day hippies seem to be.

you may ask why I am still even here and not giving up on fsol. as gaz likes to regularly inform us, he has no interest in electronic music any more. so I don't believe that he is involved in much fsol any more. sometimes you get a environments track that sounds like an amorphous outtake but otherwise I believe fsol is a brian solo project these days. all the new tracks on the calendars sound like idm - experimental techno - dark ambient - glitch. gaz hates this kind of music and there's no way he would be making it. when we listen to new mixes on the touched music nights Martin and everyone just talks about brian making the mix and being cool which I think is a sign that gaz is not involved at all there. the sx one sessions album came with videos that showed brian making all the tracks solo - the same as the north point video for environments 7.

Re: enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2021 1:37 pm
by nanio tine
just in case anyone thinks gaz is just being a bit cautious - no he really believes that vaccines will cause us to be biologically controlled by the government.

Re: enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2021 1:49 pm
by Ross
I'm really glad I've been pressing hide when I see Gaz's posts. Christ. I don't actually blame you for giving up on Amorphous now, to be honest.

Re: enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2021 9:57 pm
by mcbpete
It's a really tricky position to be in as admin of this place and yet be completely against the views of a significant member of the band. I hope you guys can acknowledge that my hosting of the forum does not in any way mean that I endorse or am in favour of these world & political views that have come to light over the last few years.

I think/hope long term members here (i.e. when the main FSOL message board wasn't this place) have always been aware of quite where my musical loyalties have laid with their various output over the years ... and where they haven't.

Hope this response clarifies something I didn't quite expect to have to write !


Re: enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Mon Mar 15, 2021 12:21 pm
by Ross
Yes, I'd imagine you speak for most of us there.

Re: enrico berio mixes amorphous andogynous

Posted: Fri Mar 19, 2021 10:28 am
by gabo86
It's a very interesting question. In my view, we should try to separate the art from the artist, as long as the art is not influenced by the artist views we do not like.
For example, I do not like a single thing that Gaz writes on Facebook, but his music is mainly instrumental, so it's not a problem. I listen to the music, I tend to like it (not everything, I'm more on the FSOL side) and it's ok.
Then, there can be a problem with more "standard" songwriting. For example, an Italian (my nationality) singer-songwriter which I like (he's not famous at all, not even in Italy) has pandemic-related opinions which I do not like at all (and he is way more "moderate" than Gaz), and last year he recorded an album full of this things. It's very difficult for me to listen to it, but that's different from the AA thing, in my opinion.