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Picture for After Silence: Hidden Tracks (Page 2)

After Silence: Hidden Tracks (Page 2)

The future of the hidden track in the MP3 era may be in doubt, with no pre-gap before the first track to rewind through, and the file sizes of final tracks giving the game away. However, new albums show no signs of abating the tradition. Klaxons stormed the singles charts on the strength of downloads, appealing to the digital demographic. Yet the band's first album contains one of Klaxons' most interesting moments—an industrial, Eraserhead-like instrumental—right at the end, so the idea of people downloading has certainly not dimmed bands' passions for playing hide-and-seek with their listeners.


Pete Jobson of I Am Kloot gives an explanation as to how hidden tracks come about and drops clues as to why bands will always be in thrall to adding stuff at the ends of albums that they could not get away with in the middle: "Our debut album, Natural History, was recorded on the Isle of Mull, in a church, on an eight-track minidisc machine, with producer/engineer and friend Guy Garvey from Elbow at the controls. It took a week to record; the budget was £500, of which £430 was spent on chicken and Guinness. The album ends with a spacious, atmospheric lament entitled 'Because' and, if the CD is left to run another five minutes, there is a mood change in the form of a hidden track. This track remains nameless; but considering John [Bramwell, singer] screams 'Gimme love' at the top of his compass, I reckon we can call it ‘Gimme Love’. The days were relatively structured, as far as we played and recorded a track at a time. Live band takes in the morning and overdubs in the afternoon—evenings were food and booze and listening. The night of a particularly beguiling full moon and a drunken swim in the loch down from the church, we sat down to play. What came spontaneously was a 15-minute din that was later edited by Mr. Garvey into a 40-second slap in the face, which we were delighted to hide at the back of the LP. The plan took its inspiration from an old Chinese proverb: 'Get all your enemies gathered together, and when they are laughing free from any care run up behind them with large sticks of bamboo and batter them.' It has come back to us on the odd occasion where listeners have relaxed into a slumber during ‘Because’, only to be thoroughly disturbed by the barbed hidden track that secretly follows. This says as much about Kloot as anything I could tell you here."


It also tells us a lot about the recording processes of an album and why stowing these tracks is so attractive to bands who find themselves with material imbued with so much of the spirit of the recording sessions that it seems a waste to leave it on the cutting room floor. It certainly seems that some bands and listeners consider the secret space before, after, and between tracks as important a place for music as the tracks themselves. These hidden places give artists a certain freedom that they will not relinquish lightly. So, let us rockers all continue to revel in this nether world of mystery and secrecy for a long time to come.

-- Meatbreak, 04/23/2007

























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