A conversation is never a waste of time. Our studios are very rarely quiet. Sometimes the topics of conversation may seem obtuse or even inappropriate. Creativity is a funny beast though. Inspiration is everywhere. Ideas are precious and the act of talking is a good way of raking over sand to expose hidden treasure.
A chat with James led us to discuss music.
The unpredicted can be a beautiful surprise.
To sit in an erudite design studio in Belgravia suggests a certain cultural leaning. I asked James what his favourite music was. Had I known the response would
be so surprising I would have recorded it accurately.
Without hesitation, he offered “Ride The Lightning, Metallica”
He continued sketching. Silence.
I was surprised. Not just by the choice but by the
fact that it is the only album by them that I love.
We discussed it and what made it special.
Everything that is not necessary has been brutally pared away and discarded. What is left is lean, muscular and full of threat.
We talked of the way it bristled with a serated edge of punk and thrash but still concealed sophisticated harmony. It is a record free of any flab. Everything that is not necessary has been brutally pared away and discarded. What is left is lean, muscular and full of threat.
It is a missile of absolute confidence. Precisely judged and offered. It is short enough to never outstay its interest. James said he had listened to it almost weekly, at certain points daily, since its release in 1984. Every listen continued to reveal a new energy or detail.
They got bigger and richer. Their records got longer and sold more. They never, however, equaled the meticulous weapon of Ride The Lightning.
James suggests the record is best listened to loud whilst driving at high speed at night.
AC/DC’s monumental Back in Black was also considered. It, again, has a minimalism and precision. It is the definition of dignity in difficult circumstance. It is instinctively elegant. Were it titled Back in Very Dark Blue it would have probably pipped Metallica to the post.