Email 5th March 1998

Subject: Fish 98 - Q-sound and covers

Dear freaks!
I noted with interest the discussion on Q sound with regards the remastering of MC.
Some of you may have noticed that SOE was recorded with Q sound, Avril Mackintosh being at the controls. It's easy to overuse and you have to keep the space cadet inside you under control when picking your moments to use it. It's soooooooo easy to overdose!
The problem is to get the effect of Q sound you have to put it in during the recording process and mix accordingly. To put it another way the signal is Q'd before the mix not during it. That means it's impossible to add Q at the mixing stage.
Without totally restripping the album, MC cannot be Q'd properly. A sound that is Q'd has a signal that makes it difficult to deal with in the mix which is why only certain elements are normally chosen in order to enhance them!
I'm not that technically minded but that's as far as I understand how Q operates. I personally love the effects of Q when used properly.

Re the side 1, side 2 MC question! At the time we had to think about recording to vinyl. When you are writing you're obviously aware that a 48 minute song would have to be cut if you wanted to hear it on disc (vinyl). We knew we would have to split MC for a two-sided album with each side no longer than about 42-3 minutes each. We wanted to have a fade so we could play it live as one piece eventually, and that's what happened. It wouldn't be too hard to join the two if required but the twin fades are part of the original spirit of the recording. We knew we had to finish side 1 and start side 2 with a certain style and drama. The "rollercoaster" was designed with a break in the middle in order to catch a breath! I think it works as is!
In America they have this thing called the Controlled Composition Clause which is too difficult to explain so don't ask. It means in short that if you have 15 tracks on an album it doesn't matter, you only get paid for 10!!! MC has 10 tracks. All the other pieces were all meant to be different tracks but at the last moment I had to rename sections and have "sub-tracks" and "title-tracks" to hit the magic 10 figure.
If we had only two tracks (side 1, side 2) then we would only have been paid for two tracks. I know it's complicated but at the end of the day the most you can make from an American album on publishing is if you have 10 tracks (and even then you only get paid on 75 per cent of the 10 tracks). This isn't a joke by the way, it's real!:)
That's why MC has 10 tracks!:)
Finally just before I go I want to say I too miss the gatefold sleeve. The Vigil sleeve is stunning in the real but crammed onto a CD was sacrilege. The world was changing in 88 on lots of levels and the Vigil sleeve was probably the last of the great pieces of artwork of the vinyl age! :( I hate CD sleeves, even the fold outs!
Right I'm back off to the dungeon,
Lots of love
Onkel Fish

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