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Rebsie recording the crumhorn for Captain Digorie's galliard

John Dowland: Renaissance flower power man


The long months of lockdown in the first half of 2021 had a big impact on our album progress. There's no substitute for working together in the studio in real time, so when the pandemic prevented us from meeting up we decided to put our album on hold rather than trying to do it over the internet and risk losing the magic that comes from sharing ideas in the studio. Well, that hiatus finally came to an end and we're once again recording songs for our debut album, Like A Delicate Psychedelicat.

We now have nine of the eleven tracks completed. The tenth is something a bit unusual and quite challenging to record – all the more so because we recorded the vocals and guitars in the summer of 2020, and by the time we came back to it after two lockdowns we'd forgotten where we were with it. I opened the Logic file for the first time in months and was confronted with 54 tracks and no recollection of what was on most of them. Happily it is now coming together and sounding great!

The song is a piece by the glorious Renaissance composer John Dowland, called Captain Digorie Piper his galliard. Dowland also wrote a song version which is usually called If My Complaints Could Passions Move. Our version combines the galliard and the vocal version, and yes we did have a right old fun time recording the madrigal vocals in four part harmony with all the parts colour coded in highlighter pen and sellotaped up around a giant piece of cardboard on a music stand. Needless to say we aren't going for a conventional classical rendition, but doing our own take on it while making use of Dowland's original arrangement. By the time we'd added some Echorec and a consort of obscure reed instruments it was sounding like a Renaissance flower power party in the woods. Are there any other songs out there which use 12-string guitar and crumhorn together? I can't think of any.

Rebsie – 9th July 2021

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