TRANS SIBERIAN TRACKS
October 2016 Tess took the famous trans siberian railway from Moscow to the Eastern plains, down through Mongolia, terminating in Beijing.
Tess began to write songs about the trip on her return, influenced by American, Irish and Russian roots music, with geopolitically conscious lyrics and spiritual imagery, recording her real experiences interwoven with fascination for mythical Russia, Mongolia and Beijing.
Tess sought a natural, true documentary quality for the album, evoking a sense of location, particularly the open plains of Siberia, seeking to capture both its romance and reality within conventional song structures and sounds encountered as the train journeyed down the track.
After getting together demos for the songs, Tess recorded Trans Siberian Tracks at Perry Vale Studios, South London, with Pat Collier engineering, all songs recorded in a day and a half, using first or second takes, no rehearsals with the band beforehand.
Tess circulated song sheets a few weeks before, the musicians individually working through the songs in advance, with only three overdubs in the session, the drums for opening track 'Trans Siberian Express', and the electric guitar and organ for 'The Woodpecker'. Before each song, Tess played references to the musicians in the control room, discussing general feel and possible approaches.
The calibre of musicians on the recording helped create the easy, natural, live feel of the playing, namely Barrie Cadogan (Little Barrie, e-guitar), Simon Little (Divine Comedy, bass), John Blease (drums), Ross Stanley (keys) and Christian Marsac (acoustic guitar). All instruments were played in the same room, other than drums, in a separate room, Tess singing a guide vocal from the control room.
Radio mixes of Trans Siberian Tracks have been prepped by Michael Brauer, album mixes by Matt Lawrence, both Grammy awarded producers, the album mixes also mastered by Cicely Balston of Air studios, London.