2. Ferry To The Island

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Greg: Mike’s wife Cynthia whipped up these lyrics. Having heard Fields, she was also thinking along the lines of mortality, and this was an allegorical approach of “going to the other side”. Mike and I interpreting it differently musically - we both have vivid memories of the trip to Fraser and Stradbroke Islands (off the Queensland Coast) and we made minor change to the words to reflect the happier “straight” connotation. Mike rustled up the opening riff and the core of the verse. When adding to it, I liked the idea of changing the rhythm the way a ferry does ... it can be slapping along quite steadily and then suddenly starts to wallow, the up and down being more measured as the bow goes much lower and rises higher, and then it steadies again for a normal ride. Interesting to note some differences between the written word and the sung word. For example, an original phrase “under an azure sky” sounds like “Asian sky” when sung. We changed azure to “deep blue” ... simple is best.
I also wanted some atmospheric sounds of water/ engines/propellers/seagulls/kids yelling. You’d think it’d be easy. “Titanic video”, I thought. Yeah, but all the boat scenes have sweeping orchestral scores ruining the sound effects. I ditched Titanic and managed to gather about a dozen different snippets of “boat” related noises which Duncan downloaded off my TASCAM onto his mixing panel. He shuffled, multitracked and overlapped them. The first run through was perfect and it was a case of choosing the right point in the guitar intro to fade them out. Similarly, fading the sequence in at the end of the song, this time with the ship’s hooter as the last sound. My first choice was to have the hooter loud as a final “chord”. Both Mike and Duncan thought it too crude and we agreed to make it part of the fading out. It works really well - when you know it’s there you tend to strain your ears waiting for it.

 

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