Ghost Hunt Migration

Captain No1
Jimmy Lightning
Border Town
Yella van
New jazz cowgirls
Sjutka ij topana
Dead grass
Don't smoke in bed
Ti-Tree swamp
Zsa Zsa's lullaby
Requiem for a blackfella

Recorded 2002, Smoked Recordings Studio, Europe Audio Sound Vlueten and Aluna Vox Studio, Amsterdam Engineered, mixed & produced by Dan Tuffy Catalogue no: SR002 First released late 2002 in the Benelux via Smoked/Munich Distribution Services Due for release soon in Australia as back catalogue release on Nonzero Records Available via www.smokedrecordings.com and www.nonzero.com.au

Recording this album was a nightmare in many ways. Our studio (The Smoked Recordings Studio - referred to then as the "Can I Please Have a Cigarette Studio") was in its rudimentary stages. Marc had this old 16 track tape machine of which only 9 tracks were working, there was no mixing desk, hardly any monitoring and the cables we had were a tangle of dust eaten spaghetti style electronics that crackled, worked only intermittently and caused no end of-on-my-knees-with-a-fucking-torch-in-my-mouth-again misery. Marc and I worked on it together in the end but the project had actually began when I started tracking stuff with Australian jazz percussionist Steve Heather. Steve never really joined Big Low (he never 'joins' anyone) but we had been jamming a lot and I was really enjoying the combination of his trance like grooves and my songs. We had done a few shows together and I remember seeing people just swaying at those early gigs - floating as if they were under a spell. Playing with Steve really set the idea within me that I didn't want to ever play again with a regular drummer - that if I was going to use 'drums' it wasn't going to be a regular kit -no way - and that the player would preferably have to be coming out of the jazz scene with deep groove sensibilities, light, tasteful, sensual and flowing. Hard to find but there'd be no point looking in the rock scene - I knew that. So Steve and I tracked some stuff on Marcs 16-track because he was moving to Berlin and I wanted to get some of he and I down before he split. The stuff we got down before he left formed the basis of many of the songs on 'Ghost Hunt Migration'. I was very disappointed at the idea of Steve moving away but I luckily already had something going with Marc by then. I had seen him a couple of years earlier playing his bandoneon on the street - he was playing Greek Rebetiko and lots of Balkan stuff. Id never heard anything like it - it sounded like an entire orchestra coming out of one person. I wanted to play that stuff too. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. We got talking in the bar one night and it wasn't long before we started working together. He started teaching me some of the things he was playing and he liked the way I did it, so he asked me if I wanted to get involved in his PARNE GADJE project. He was already playing PG gigs at parties and so forth with Murray (a Scottish violin player) and a flute player whose name evades me at the moment. I loved what they were doing and was very flattered that he saw in me a musician capable of playing that stuff so I just said 'yeah sure!' I also started playing him some of my tunes, which he seemed to like as well. It all just started going really quickly. Marc jumped in and helped me finish the thing I had started with Steve and before we knew it had 2 projects going.

But back to Ghost Hunt Migration. We hired a 1960 Drawmer stereo compressor pre-amp and a couple of Nueman mics and recorded everything direct to tape, without the routing possibilities of a desk. Since there was no other way available to us with what we had, this became a project built from overdubs (In principle I prefer to capture as much as possible live when I record but it just wasn't possible with GHM). All the percussion you hear on this album was played by Steve except for a few (fantastic!) overdubs played by Marc. All the percussive grooves on the album went down first, generally onto 2 tracks, and the rest of the parts were dubbed in later by Marc and myself. Hell, I even got Murray to play some violin for a while. (He disappeared too! - went to Nevada to live in a caravan with a hippy - what a waste!)