Sunday, January 3, 2010

Swedes in Nashville

I have been lucky and pleased to work with talented and gracious musicians through my long association with Chris King. One of these, Lij Shaw, has a studio in Nashville called The Toy Box, where he engineers music ranging from illuminations of long poems to luminous Swedish pop.

It's the latter I bring to your attention in this space today. Anders Elfström's debut album, due to be released early this year, was recorded in Lij's studio. The process was documented in the 12-minute film below, shot and directed by Fabian Grapengiesser and edited by Edvard Heinmets.

Seeing an experience I've had through someone else's eyes was a curious experience. It made me nostalgic for the guitars and art and endless knobs and cords of the studio where I stood and sang last year. Emotionally, it made me both a little jealous (I forget, sometimes, that I have to share my favorite people) and thrilled that Lij's magic is being shown to the world.

My only criticism of the film is that it does not show enough of said magic, but I don't know that that's really possible. The visceral alchemy of working with a great recording engineer hinges on not only skill, talent and performance, but the ability to hear that last bit of something the music needs, and having the sense of how to get precisely that from the musicians. Lij is a past master of this, but again, I don't know how you'd capture that on film.

If you feel 12 minutes is too much time to invest, here's the video of one of the songs recorded at The Toy Box:

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