Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hammond Organ

I just got back from a recording session north of Tyssedal, in the farm country along the fjord. That's S7302499.JPG where Geir Aksnes stores his Hammond B3 Organ (dual manual) with its accompanying Leslie amp, a trademark sound of rock, blues and jazz from the 40s, 50s and 60s. It sits in a side room of the community building there, and we went in and set up on the stage.
The roads are very steep and narrow around here, and a helicopter was transporting building materials just outside the building. Ove told me that all the farms have hunting rights up on the steppe, and that they use helicopters to travel to their hunting cabins and also to take their game out and back down to their houses. So as we waited for the helicopter to finish, we set up the organ and my recording studio S7302496.JPG and got familiar with the songs.
Geir is an electrician, and when he got the Hammond organ it was in bad disrepair. He fixed it up himself many years ago, and has since used it all over Norway. He plays in several local bands and is an extremely skilled piano player and, obviously, organist. The crazy thing about the organ is that you have to know it pretty well. You have to be able to use your feet and hands to S7302497.JPG switch buttons and press dials at the same time as you are playing chords and the bassline on either the top or bottom manual (keyboard), which I assume means you are playing two different registers or tones, though I'm sure that's all configurable in multidimensional ways. Needless to say, it's not something I can do, and that's why Geir was there.
The two songs we worked on: Living Water and Voices. After a couple run-throughs and me explaining what I wanted, we were off to the races. We got some great takes that I'm looking forward to revealing in the final mix. This album is just getting better and better. =)

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