Annie Barker

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Ah, it’s Thursday, and I’ve just emerged from a ten day session, and the sun is shining, something unusual for this time of year. I intend to bask myself in as much of it as I can as I’m not sure the next time it will show it’s face. Actually that’s not true. It may have been sunny for the last ten days but I wouldn’t have noticed as I’ve been pretty much focused only on one thing, the session I was working on. Now, Annie Barker is a singer from Hollywood, CA and the story of how we met and have ultimately made an album together is true to what I enjoy about musical relationships, in fact all relationships, namely a chance meeting, very different backgrounds and the absolute lack of a plan. On first listening I could sense that she had quite an extraordinary voice and seemed to be quite driven, two things which don’t always go hand in hand, a songwriting style and process radically different from my own and very importantly, confidence. So earlier this year I worked on a couple of tracks with her and was generally pleased with them and would have left it there if it were not for the fact that the songs seemed to get better as time went on. I think it’s fair to say that the first couple of songs we worked on together were the most difficult and after a point we seemed to find an energy which prevailed for the rest of the recordings. The songs just get better and better and now we have finished ten of them and it seems like a really rounded album, taking you on a journey around her mind, which seems to reach out and touch you and demand to be listened to. My role has been ‘producer’ although producer seems to mean a different thing for each session I do. Annie has written the songs . I’ve been playing guitar, bass, drums, whatever has been needed really. Annie has made two or three trips to France during this year to work with me and now we find ourselves with a finished album which I, for one, am really proud of. It’s, quite simply, pushed me a little outside my comfort zone into a more, I guess, mainstream or accessible area which I have less experience in although I think I’ve managed to retain all of my sonic characteristics without compromise. This is good news for me. I mean I wouldn’t want to stray too far outside my comfort zone, would I? That would be too much like hard work and although we have been working twelve hour days it’s not really seemed that way. The process of working with someone else is, as ever, an education, regardless of the fact that this is Annie’s first album. In fact I probably learned a lot because it’s her first album which is kinda refreshing as she probably hasn’t yet reached her comfort zone. Everyone has something to offer and it’s probably self serving of me, but I soak up other peoples input and allow it to influence me subconsciously, at least.
And you know what? That moment at the end of mixing when we’re listening back to the album is still one of the best feelings in the world, a strange mixture of accomplishment and knowledge that you will be able to sleep soon.
I’m not sure who will put this record out or when but I would hope that someone with taste and the ability to market it, help her find the audience will surely pick it up and support it, as it is worthy of way more exposure than some other independently produced albums. I’ve said before that I sometimes feel that I make marginal music listened to by marginal people. This is not marginal; this could be appreciated by a much wider audience if it is given the chance.

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Now it wouldn’t be normal for me to write this weblog without fucking with someone, so just so that you all don’t think that I’ve got all enthusiastic about life and people, or, you know, like, have a heart or even worse, turned into a big pussy, here are a couple of interesting points of background information should you ever bump into Annie Barker. .. She puts honey and soya milk in her coffee which is just really fucking weird and wrong. She doesn’t respond well to sentences which begin with, “Well you know, for a Californian you…” or “You Americans…” Also it’s probably best to keep her away from small children unless you want them to start saying things like “Totally” and “Awesome” all the time…

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24 Responses to “Annie Barker”

  1. Very colourful post as per usual.

    I don’t get to see your blogs too often. But when I do ; it really is something good for free…..lol X 10.

    Yes middle age does have its merits. No doubt this new Annie Barker CD and the forthcoming child from Guthrie/Budd will end up on the floor in my living room. I’ll look forward to hearing these slivers of silver served warm on my very vintage valve hifi.

    Best regards from a the recreational driver of a 1961 Jazzmaster(yes I know you have a 59)

    Sean

  2. You play drums? On Continental and Everlasting too? So great!

  3. Totally awesome news!

  4. wow
    Robin, I can’t wait for the upcoming Guthrie/Budd release.
    You’ve been my favorite forever.
    Just bought an ipod gonna download Continental.
    So the next drinks on me!
    Cheers !!

    Please plan a gig for nyc soon.
    Your fan
    adamO

  5. “Now it wouldn’t be normal for me to write this weblog without fucking with someone, so just so that you all don’t think that I’ve got all enthusiastic about life and people, or, you know, like, have a heart or even worse, turned into a big pussy, here are a couple of interesting points of background information should you ever bump into Annie Barker. .. She puts honey and soya milk in her coffee which is just really fucking weird and wrong. She doesn’t respond well to sentences which begin with, “Well you know, for a Californian you…” or “You Americans…” Also it’s probably best to keep her away from small children unless you want them to start saying things like “Totally” and “Awesome” all the time…”–Robin Guthrie

    I can’t wait to be 49 to just put it all out there like that. Hehehe.

  6. Great to read your enthusiasm about this work. Can’t wait to listen to the record when it comes out. And echoing what Adam wrote above – NYC soon campaign is on!

    Cheers.

  7. BIlly Fraser Says:

    I went to High School with Annie Barker. We did musical theatre together. I cant believe she worked with Robin. How in the hell did that come about??????

  8. I was trying to make sense of this Cubase session, and I’m like, “Oh, there’s some SSL-shit on here.” I’m not a big fucking Rock and Roll Star, so I can’t afford SSL stuff, but figured I’d google it, find out what it was, and then replace it w/something similar that I had (if it was a compressor, just replace it w/the bundled compressor that comes w/Cubase).

    That thing is sweet – and free(!). Thanks, man – I love Free. I quit my job, dropped out of school, and now all I do is sit around and record covers of “In The Air Tonight” and stare at the Windows Media Player visual thinger.

  9. You sold me, just tell me where in the fuck I can get my hands on that album between you and Annie Barker for when it comes out, since I love all of the stuff it is you make yourself and almost 90 percent of all of the stuff for which your name is attached to. It would certainly cleanse my palette of the marginal and pussy music of which is made here for us Americans of lesser taste, for which I sharply separate and alienate myself from. Keep us informed when and where possible to do so

  10. You make some of the most amazing and memorable fucking cymbal crashes for when you are recording your music which have a very distinct trademark and signature all your own. This among many other things of which are to long to list here is why I enjoy your music so much

  11. Check out Annie Barker’s myspace page, where she blogs a bit about recording with Robin, not to mention includes some of the songs to listen to!

  12. I heard it-i like what you did with the music and how it’s produced! I like you grabbing a portion of the voice or an instrument, processing it into a jellyful, woobling honey substance and letting it drag slightly behind the original sound and often slightly sidewise(as far and L&R are concerned…). Lovely

    The girl: what makes her “main stream” sounding, or call it, “more accessible” (less marginal, whatever..) is her lyrics of plattitudes–man-so weak-just like popmusic!

    She has nice and flexible voice often immitating the timbre of your former wife. I like it. The only turn off in her voice are the nazal moments: like can’t someone tell these Americans (or Californians etc..) NOT to talk and sing with nazal constricted voices! 🙂

    R
    France

  13. “The only turn off in her voice are the nazal moments: like can’t someone tell these Americans (or Californians etc..) NOT to talk and sing with nazal constricted voices! :)” post excerpt by R, France

    R–

    I don’t really understand what you are talking about the way Americans talk and sing. How does one “remove” a nasal sound from a speaking and singing voice? People can’t help the way they sing or talk.

  14. Hi Indiyenna,
    it is a mass trend in Canada and US to talk with constricted larynx and tense throat, which produces a more piercing voice, sharper, lauder and narrow…so this is what i call ‘nazal’.

    I only guess but my guess is that this type of uniform trend comes from desire of the nazal person to “appear well” socially: to be clearly heard and to be assertive. Lots of these duckies on the northamerican mainstream news.

    I wonder where this shit comes from and if they learn it by immitation, in any case it is scarrily uniform thing. Like, in europe, spanish gurlies would do something similar…go and figure. It’s just very tense and unpleasant thing, but that’s probably only my taste…

    In any case, the record gurlie doesn’t really do it all the timebesides it’s no bideal:)

    best!

    R

  15. Oh and forgot this–you aske:

    “How does one “remove” a nasal sound from a speaking and singing voice?”

    Once i red a book, abook that nowadays is free from copyright, by the opera singer Teresa Tetrazinni. The small booklet consists of advises about singing.

    So there she agknowledges this tense throat trend in some cultures. She remarks that such a voice is giving the illusion of loudness and clarity because of it’s “piercing” sharp quality and thus giving an illusion of instant gratification.

    Sha sais however that in fact the nazal voice is very smal and narrow and very tense. It is like the reed of bagpipe–the whole strength of the sound comes from the tension of the reed and not from resonance and projection.

    The worst, she sais, is that such a singer is doomed to tire their vocal chords from the great stress that this “instant gratification” causes to hem.

    So, to answer your question, she advises nazal speakers/singers to relax the throat completely and open it in a most natural way using the imagination and imagine that they are yawning (hope these explanations don’t make you yawn…lol). Like this, the throat is comletely relaxed, no exessive presure is applied on the larynx and the sound can fully pass through and be resonated by the mouth cavity…

    anyways, hope this helps, but again, i don’t think the record gurlie is “that” extremely nazal

    TCare
    R

  16. Thanks R of France for explaining what you were saying about Americans and Canadians speaking and at times singing “nasally” at times. I was also trying to let you know that people don’t have control over vocal timbre of their voice.

    I talked with a Ukrainian friend of mine he said a similiar comment to me in 1994. He told me that Americans sounded like Kermit the Frog to him. But he is used to hear Ukrainians talking and all.

    I have also heard that Australians have three accents (this was told to me from an authentic Australian): 1) Bogan: “‘ello Luv ‘ava ago atter ere!” (Kind of regional country Aussie accent). 2) Regular Australian: “G’ Day, mate! Want another prawn in the wok and a steak on the barbie?” and 3)Refined Australian (British influence. It is what the Aussie news reporters use.): “Hello, George. I do believe the Thai Chicken Wrap at McDonalds is sublime.”

    I was giving examples of how people from different cultures perceive each other based on how they speak. People may not do things in the way others do but it is all good. I don’t care about how people speak or how people sing. It is all about communication. I know people who really don’t have control over how they sound. Sometimes I do not understand what they are saying due to I am not where they are from. That’s the thing–I am not from where they are. I am not from France. I am not from Australia. I am American born and raised. I don’t think that Americans and Canadians follow trends in vocal timbre any more than the Francophones. Maybe in slang. Maybe in culture speak. Differing cultures. Differing views. Differing attitudes. This is all good.

    R from France, thanks for taking the time to clarify some things to me regarding vocal timbre.
    Again, we aren’t trying to be nasally anymore than any other country. I believe it is WYHIWYG (what you hear is what you get) type situation.

    Indy (Ian)

  17. Will Annie have a profile on myspace? I hope so! I would love to hear the work you two have created….I’m sure it’s freggin wonderful!

  18. mike_in_york Says:

    she does have a myspace prescence at “www.myspace.com/anniebarker”

  19. Oh my Gawd! this is it! I have followed all your work and now I find this outstanding project and there is no distributor????!!!! I just listened to the 4 tracks Annie has at MySpace and it is fantastic! The two of you sound perfect together! You have found your singer!!! It is great work and I can’t wait to get my hands on this album. This work must be released.. and you MUST work with her again!

    edward

  20. sanfranciscojim Says:

    robin, just listening to your lovely daughter’s song ‘System’ on her MySpace site. ‘impressed’ is a word that comes to mind……you did a good thing….!!!!

  21. the annie barker stuff is ace! Robin’s truly got the midas touch – as if no one knew already 🙂

    cheers

  22. WOW Annie’s 1st live show in L.A. last night was AMAZING…she’s put a great band together….each song came to life in a way that i would have never thought imaginable from the CD (which i love)…..wooh! 6 more weeks till her next show!

  23. Nice read, i’m a fan of Annie too 🙂

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