Welcome to issue #157 of Tape Op.
In this issue, we were lucky to speak with friends, family, and bandmates of the late Mark Linkous, aka Sparklehorse, about his recently released posthumous album, Bird Machine. In 1999, we interviewed Mark for issue #12, and his adventurous recording landscape was an inspiration to many of us. Mark would take studio sessions home to add more tracks on his own, he would fly in a phone call for a vocal, or he'd sing into a blown-out mic. This all might seem like fairly commonplace techniques these days, but it wasn't quite the norm back then. That type of “anything goes” spirit informs so much of current recording, and we should appreciate all the folks like Mark that always bent the process to suit their vision.
There's one simple yet incredibly insightful observation within our interview about Mark and his album. I'll leave that for you, the reader, to glean – but I can tell you it's such an obvious-yet-ignored studio situation that it spun my head around. A clue? Keep in mind that when creating art with others that communication is key. I think you'll all find it quick enough! It’s absolutely something you’ll want to make a priority next time you are collaborating with others.
— Larry Crane, editor & Founder
PS: On Bird Machine, Mark wonderfully covers Robyn Hitchcock's [issue #17] song "Listening to The Higsons." As some fans will know, this track was originally recorded (by Matthew Seligman) onto a Tascam Portastudio "in a barn in Sussex… on a full moon" in June 1982. The track features incredibly distorted vocals, a "struck wok" for percussion, and a drum machine "programmed as Vince Ely" (of The Psychedelic Furs).” I'd say we're seeing a direct lineage to "anything goes" with home recording here!