Society of Sound: Edwyn Collins

The tracks performed at Little Big Beat studio on 12th November 2013 reflect what Edwyn does at all his live shows these days. He covers the waterfront, reaching back to his very first ever recording with Orange Juice, 'Falling and Laughing',  bringing it bang up to date with 'Down the Line' and 'Understated' from the latest album of the same name... and a sprinkling of favourites and memorable moments from his thirty year career. 'A Girl Like You' (that one) and 'Make Me Feel Again' - a track which has seldom left his live set since its release as a track from the '94 album Gorgeous George. 'Rip it Up' for the Orange Juice fans.

‘It Dawns On Me’ offers the opportunity for a duet and, together with ‘Losing Sleep’ covers the album that saw Edwyn back in studio, songwriting once more after his long illness, released in 2010. Which just leaves ‘Home Again’, which has become a quiet signature tune, a song which sums up his relationship with music rather neatly.

The musicians performing with Edwyn were:
James Walbourne –  lead acoustic guitar, vocals, organ.
Carwyn Ellis – Rhythm acoustic guitar, vocals, piano. 

Alex Nussbaumer explains The Idea And Vision Behind Studio Live Sessions:
We really want people to feel that they have experienced something that they have never experienced before. As we move forward in our digital world, it is really important that we still experience the world live, that we live and breathe these intimate moments. This human bedrock, with no virtuality in between, changes the way that we interact and it changes our understanding of music and how music works.

In the world of social media there are lots of opportunities to get heard but this also means that there is a lot of competition. Our vision is to offer an authentic platform and the greatest resources to deliver music to their fans as well as giving musicians the best possible way to showcase their true talents.

So far Rachel Sermanni, David Rhodes, Joseph Arthur and Edwyn Collins have performed in front of a live studio audience at the Little Big Beat Studios in Liechtenstein

Edwyn Collins by Matthias Rhomberg

Production Notes:

Recorded in Liechtenstein at in Eschen / FL
Recording engineer / mixed & mastered by: Little Konzett
Project management: Alex Nussbaumer

Recording notes: Live captured with a STUDER A820 – 2″ 24 track analog tape machine in combination with C.L.A.S.P. system ( plus a legendary SSL 4048 G+ SERIES Console. Steinway Grand Piano 6′ 4″ for unique sound, genuine touch and beauty.

Watch songs being recorded AT the Studio Live Session

Edwyn Collins by Oliver Bumbacher

Edwyn Collins – The Story So Far
The first the world heard of Edwyn Collins was in February 1980 with the release of ‘Falling And Laughing’. The debut single by his band, Orange Juice, it was also the first offering from Postcard Records, the independent label Edwyn co-founded with Alan Horne, run from the latter’s sock drawer in a former Red Light district in Glasgow’s West End. As a record, ‘Falling And Laughing’ was a cacophony of shrill guitars. As a song, it was a sublime celebration of unfulfilled ardour to a tune that aimed to bridge the chasm between The Velvet Underground and Chic. In the age of New Romantics, Edwyn arrived as a Real Romantic, one unafraid to simultaneously embrace “the pleasure with the pain”.

After ten more records, including three increasingly inventive Orange Juice singles, Postcard closed its sock drawer in late 1981. It would be another two decades before Edwyn and Horne’s endeavours would be belatedly recognised as a key foundation stone for indie music, particularly in Scotland where Primal Scream, Belle And Sebastian and Franz Ferdinand would all follow, and acknowledge, Orange Juice’s trailblazing example.

In the interim, Edwyn took Orange Juice into the Top 10 with 1983’s ‘Rip It Up’, perhaps the epitome of their  Velvets/Chic punk-funk hybrid, complete with Buzzcocks-homage guitar solo.

Edwyn immediately embarked on a solo career, though it would be ten years before he found himself back on Top Of The Pops with 1995’s ‘A Girl Like You’. Better still, the song’s northern soul groove and Isley Brothers guitar frills rewarded Edwyn with a genuine worldwide smash. Life, suddenly, was all pleasure.

Fast forward another decade to February 2005, when Edwyn had just finished recording songs for his sixth solo album. Among the rough mixes in the can was a track called ‘One Is A Lonely Number’. Exactly 25 years after ‘Falling And Laughing’, it saw the Old Romantic still embracing life’s pleasure with its pain: “If life breaks your heart, you needn’t fall apart.” Little could he have realised how profoundly prophetic these words would become in the months that followed.

On Sunday, February 20, 2005, Edwyn was admitted to hospital after collapsing at home. He was later diagnosed with having suffered two cerebral haemorrhages and underwent a precarious neurological operation. Incredibly, through a combination of surgical brilliance, the heroic support of his family and his own seemingly invincible will power, Edwyn pulled through. Six months after his stroke, he was back at home. But more phenomenal still was his determination to overcome the physical after-effects hindering his movement and speech so he could return to the studio and finish the album he’d already begun.

The result was Home Again, a testament not only to Edwyn Collins the  songwriter, but Edwyn the man and his resolute spirit. “This is hard for me,” admits Edwyn. “I’m learning to live again after my stroke. But I am happy and contented also. I’m very pleased with the album and with the songs. I’m getting there and I feel grateful at last.”

Finishing Home Again has been a Herculean struggle, but Edwyn’s perseverance has more than paid off. Asked to rate it against his entire body of work, Orange Juice included, Edwyn ponders for a few seconds. “Home Again,” he finally says, “it’s perfect. These songs are me. This is who I am.”

Since the release of Home Again, Edwyn has continued to renew himself, one step at a time. In November 2007, he took to the stage again, having painstakingly relearned the lyrics to his songs. Our hearts were in our mouths, but of course, he pulled the performance off with aplomb. He has continued to tour ever since, increasing in confidence with each show.

In October 2008, he quite suddenly reconnected with the songwriter inside him, and has since recorded a whole raft of new songs for an album released in 2010 called Losing Sleep. He has regained control of his precious studio and is swamped with production work for others, alongside his collaborator of sixteen years, Sebastian Lewsley.

In May 2009, Edwyn was honoured by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, when he was awarded the Ivor Novello Inspiration Award.

Spring 2010 saw the US release of Losing Sleep. Featuring collaborations with his friends and supporters Franz Ferdinand, The Drums, The Cribs and The Magic Numbers, not to mention Johnny Marr and Roddy Frame, the album has already been hailed by many as the best of his life and is already enjoying success in the UK and Europe. No special pleading required.

Edwyn Collins is back.

(Simon Goddard, January 2011.)

July 2012 update:
Late 2011 and Edwyn takes it back to the beginning. In a changing music business, and in cahoots with well known A&R renegade, James Endeacott, Analogue Enhanced Digital, a true independent label was born. Learning from the Postcard days, AED is handcrafted, hand picked and handpacked and already blossoming.

March 2014 update:
Edwyn’s eigth solo album, UNDERSTATED, was released in 2013 on his own label AED Records, Edwyn’s latest venture and his response to the the challenges of the new music business. Truly independent, small, careful attention to detail. The template hasn’t really changed since he established his first label, Postcard, 30 odd years ago.

2014 brings a film, called ‘The Possibilities Are Endless,’ conceived and directed by Ed Lovelace and James Hall. Premiering at SXSW Film in Austin, Texas in March 2014, it’s a hymn to happiness, the story of Edwyn’s life, right now.  Edwyn is responsible for the soundtrack, also to be released later in the year.


By Online Editor

Published on Tue, 20 May 14

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