Sunday, January 27, 2008

Recording / Mixing Personnel and Locations

The Idiot was recorded and mixed from July 1976 to February 1977 and released March 18, 1977 on RCA records. The recording sessions took place at Château d'Hérouville in Pontoise, France, Musicland, Munich, Germany and the record (minus "Sister Midnight" and "Mass Production") was final mixed Hansa 1 Kurfurstendamm, Berlin.

Personnel Involved

Iggy Pop – vocals
David Bowie – Baldwin electric Piano, Roland Drum MachineArp Axe Synth, guitars, piano, saxophones, xylophone, backing vocals
Carlos Alomar – guitar
Dennis Davis – drums
George Murray – bass
Phil Palmer – guitar
Michel Santageli – drums
Laurent Thibault – bass, recording engineer, mix engineer
Tony Visconti - mix engineer

Château d'Hérouville
The Idiot was engineered by Laurent Thibault who was the house engineer at Château d'Hérouville. Thibault, also known for his work as a bass player for French prog band, Magma played bass on much of "The Idiot". (In true prog form, he used a Rickenbacker bass.) Thibault is a key member in the production of "The Idiot" as he acted as bass player, recording engineer and mixing engineer. The basic tracks were recorded at the Château by Bowie, Iggy, and Michel Santageli, who is best known as Alan Stivell's drummer. After basics were tracked, Bowie overdubbed some guitar parts and Thibault was let loose to track his bass parts. Near the end of the sessions long-time Bowie rhythm section Dennis Davis and George Murray were called in to overdub rhythm tracks on some of the songs.

After Bad Company arrived at Château d'Hérouville to begin their "Burnin' Sky" recording sessions, Bowie, Iggy, and Thibault relocated to Musicland in Munich to do overdubs and begin mixing the record. Musicland is where Phil Palmer, recommended by longtime Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti, entered the picture to do some guitar overdubs. Musicland was hosting Thin Lizzy during the day and The Idiot Sessions at night. Palmer spent 5 days experimenting with guitar sounds, sometimes using Thin Lizzy's equipment. Again, Bowie's excellent ear for guitar sounds guided Palmer to deliver a bounty of excellent material. (Note: The Image is from a Sahara Music session at Musicland)

Hansa Studios
Thibault left Bowie and Iggy to return to his engineering duties at the Château d'Hérouville and "The Idiot" crew relocated to the now famous Hansa Studios in Berlin. Bowie summoned Tony Visconti to mix the record and handle a few final overdubs. Visconti, Bowie and Pop mixed over a couple of weeks and created "a great, new sonic landscape, full of angst and torture" according to Visconti. It is speculated that Thibault's original mixes of "Sister Midnight" and "Mass Production" ended up on the final album.
(Note: The image shows David Bowie, producer Tony Visconti and engineer Eduard Meyer at Hansa Studios in 1976)

1 comment:

Erik said...

That rather looks like Rick Wakeman on the Hammond there...