9th September 2016

Heartfelt words

When I first heard that a mellotron was being delivered to Kingston University London, I thought my excitement had reached a peak… until the Hammond organ showed up. With Leslie speaker. And I learned that students would be given the opportunity to produce a recording with Tony Visconti. On tape.

If excitement was a signal, mine would be clipping horrifically. My obsession with David Bowie notwithstanding, the opportunity to work with such a master – in a *fully analogue* studio equipped with musical instruments and technology I had only heard on classic recordings and lusted after in my most wishful reveries – is quite simply unrivalled by any other institution in the UK. The Man Who Sold the World was the reason I became interested in music production, and here was an opening to learn from the industry’s best: the legend who produced albums by Caravan, Gentle Giant, the Strawbs; the man who mixed The Idiot and who referred to Tony Agnello as Gandalf.

When my application was accepted my excitement gave way to a kind of frenzied rapture, somewhere between euphoria and ecstasy. This was only heightened when I learned that we would be recording Mary Epworth, whose psychedelic influences resonate with my own research interests (I’m writing a doctoral thesis at Kingston University London). I have literally been unable to stop smiling ever since.

Quite frankly this all sounds way too good to be real, and if you were to tell me I’d hit my head and was lying delirious at the site of some horrific accident suffering fantastic delusions I’d probably be inclined to believe you. But let me rave about mellotrons and analogue tape just a touch longer. This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me.

Claire Rebecca Bannister