Who and the What?

The End

The End

Dave: I can’t say that [recording The Elbow is Taboo] was hard, it was certainly different, and I suppose it took a long time. The big change was recording venue and technology. The surgery was no more, we now had a studio at Brian’s flat and we’d also moved on to an 8-track tape recorder and a proper mixer. All of that was made possible through the money we received from Title in Limbo...I’d always had the luxury of being able to experiment whenever I wanted to, with the equipment in my bedroom and this was no longer possible. Having the equipment at Brian’s permanently set up in a room that was used solely as a studio was the logical thing to do. But it did have a big effect on my input. I never felt as comfortable with the new equipment using as the old four-track. We were using a crude sampler for the first time as well, plus a drum machine, so the sound changed as well.

Brian: On Elbow we tried some new equipment, a Roland TR-606 drum machine and a digital delay unit by Korg SDD-1000. This featured a limited sample facility, up to 2 seconds mono!!! Also it was not transposable and could only be triggered by a pulse. We used the TR-606 to do this as well as our Casio keyboard. The clarinet orchestra at the end of Hambu Hodo was played using this sample method, each different note had to be triggered independently and spaces left for other notes when playing it…sounds complicated, it was!

Our sound would have developed further using samplers but it was to be our last album. It took over 2 years to record (1984-6) but then it hung around and was not released until 1987. Our UK record company, Some Bizarre, made sure we got full control over the product, the mastering was on time but the cover photos produced by Some Bizarre were not what we wanted and we took new photos ourselves. It seemed to take ages before the finished article was available and it took a lot of our energy and time. With Ralph we usually got on with new stuff when master tapes were sent off to them, we didn't have to do much more. By the time Elbow was finally completed, I think it's fair to say we were tired of it. Our momentum was lost. Dave and I found it tricky to get going but had started to discuss ideas for what could happen next….electro-medieval was on the cards.

Unused photograph from The Elbow is Taboo sessions

Dave: ...we did record a few other things afterwards. There was a piece we did for a Ralph sampler called ‘Haul on the Bowline’ – a reworking of a traditional sea shanty. I think we’d just run out of steam. The whole project had run almost continuously for 16 years – that’s a long time, a lot of marriages don’t last that long, let alone musical partnerships. There were some new ideas coming. We’d experimented with ethnic or world music with things like ‘Bali Whine’ – the gamelan influence, ‘Kous-Kous Western’ had a vaguely middle eastern feel and then there was ‘Gone to Gondwana’ with an Africa flavour. We had become interested in Early Music – medieval music, and there was possibly some mileage in that. But personally I’d just become rather tired of the whole thing, being weird or strange had just become tiresome. Everything comes to an end eventually.

The End
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