Gamson on production
Just after Cupid & Psyche came out I started to experiment in the studio with synthesizers and computers (Atari1040st). Gamson’s production skills was definitely a huge influence. For sure Green also was an important factor on the whole sound, but I guess Gamson was the main factor behind the most popular Scritti stuff. I was an amature at the time (after many semi-pro years, I became a fulltime composer & sound designer in 2003). And lucky to have a friend, Conno van Wijk, who worked as a fulltime engineer for studio BMG, Voorburg/Holland, with lots of equipment I could use for free in the after hours.
When listening to Gamson’s other productions, I found out about Gamson’s special fingerprint. He’s using sequencing to create new sounds, not trying to imitate something a band would be able to play, but rather something only a computer is capable of. Detailed editing and synth programming.
His later work on Anomie & Bonhomie for example shows a different approach and added a more raw, groove oriented, more bandlike sound to Scritti. But even on Anomie you can clearly hear the production as part of the creative process instead of capturing a band in a live setting. On Anomie a lot of the parts are sampled and looped, to make the groove more consistent. Soundwise it sounds fatter compared to Cupid and Provision. And more dry sounding as well. The ending of ‘Brushed With Oil, Dusted With Powder’ sounds like heaven. I always love counterparts and M’shell’s bassline is just a perfect fit here. Based on loops, but the arrangement blows my mind everytime.
I remember reading about Scritti’s comeback (Anomie) in a newspaper during a flight to Lissabon. There was a photo of Green, all new and refreshed. And such luck that our hotel, Hotel Eden, was located on top of the Virgin Music Store. So that CD got stuck in the CD-player at our hotelroom. And while walking the streets of that great looking neighborhood Bairo Alto, the music was playing in my head. I can still remember thinking and analyzing that record while walking the streets of Lissabon.
A couple of days ago Douglas Rodriguez (he’s also a Propellerhead Reason software user and VIB-tester like me) has send us a couple of scans from a 1988 interview with David Gamson for Keyboard magazine. I found it a great read, mainly because the technical details behind the productions and Gamson’s approach to sound are revealed. Personally I am not so much interested in personal stories about musicians but far more interested in the process of writing and producing music. Because that’s were the magic happens.
Note: I needed to resize those scanned images for a quick view her at our website, but I have also included the larger versions into one zip, check it: Gamson_Keyboard_Mag_interview-1988