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Question for Mike Glossop: This is the Sea
Old 7th June 2007
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Question for Mike Glossop: This is the Sea

‘This is the Sea’ by the Waterboys (1985) was such a great record when I grew up and I wondered if you could expand on how this album & its “big music” style came about.

I understand that Karl Wallinger played a significant part in making this record, before he went solo and started World Party.

Old 8th June 2007
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mickglossop's Avatar

"This Is The Sea" was a development on from The Big Music, which Mike Scott had created, if that's the right word, during the previous two albums, which in fact were mainly collections of demos and radio sessions. "This Is The Sea" was really the first really "produced" Waterboys album, and was made in a variety of studios in various locations in the UK (see the credits for details). Karl's contribution was very significant, both in the area of songwriting and arrangement and in a general influence on the whole session. You can here this influence especially on "The Whole Of The Moon".
Old 8th June 2007
Lives for gear
The Big Music style was quite in vogue in the mid-80s.

‘The Unforgettable Fire’ by U2 (1984, produced by Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois)
‘Songs from the Big Chair’ by Tears for Fears(1985, produced by Chris Hughes)
‘Once Upon a Time’ by Simple Minds (1985, produced by Bob Clearmountain & Jimmy Iovine)
‘The Colour of Spring’ by Talk Talk (1986, produced by Tim Friese-Greene)

Can you talk a bit more about the use of reverbs & delays on ‘This is the Sea’?
Also, how does one turn a relatively simple song like ‘The Whole of the Moon’ into an anthem that’s still loved 22 years later.

Old 8th June 2007
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mickglossop's Avatar


EMT 140 plate
Lexicon 480 - prob. a large room setting
AMS RMX digital reverb - setting Non-lin, modifed for a shorter decay time and a longer pre-delay
Delays - several, including 2 Roland SDE-3000's set for 1/8th note and 1/8th note triplet delays, plus another 2 SDE's set for 50 mS on the left and 55 mS on the right, with 25% regen. and approx 15-20% modulation (slow).
I also used a "stereo harmoiniser" setup using 2 Eventide 910's, one set slightly sharp, the slightly flat, panned L & R. This effect was used sparingly as a colour on lots of different components in the mix.

The song was arranged jointly by Mike & Karl, hence the Prince influences in the groove, the synth bass and the synth keyboard part.

I mixed it at Amazon Studios, which was located on the outskirts of Liverpool in north-west England.

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