Jah Wobble and the Invaders of the Heart’s latest album, Everything Is No Thing, started out as unedited, one-take jams. Wobble, one of the most revered bass players of his time, brought in another noted bassist, Martin “Youth” Glover (Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd), to mix the album. Hugely influenced by Wobble since his teenage years, Youth went beyond the call of duty to push Wobble in the jazzy direction he has been hinting at but not committing to, keeping all but one of the songs as instrumentals.
The evolution and mixing of Everything Is No Thing happened at Meridian, Youth’s home studio in London. Bringing in rhythm tracks, which he then overdubbed and built into bigger arrangements with strings and brass, Youth also enlisted additional musicians to let loose on some solos. Says Youth, “We did radical rearrangements and processing, but with the firm intention of making it a performance album. The early jams were fluid and sparse, so it was a great canvas to develop and experiment.
“As a bass player I’m so in awe of and learn so much from Wobble. It’s like having a very intimate master class,” he continues. “I will sometimes play a Fender VI, which is six-string bass guitar. He drives a deep anchor and doesn’t move at all, and I can go into a tenor part, put a bit of reverb, give that Joe Meek/Phil Spector-y atmosphere and be even more melodic. It’s subtle. I’m still playing bass with him, but I’m not interfering with his frequencies.”
Youth records Wobble’s Ovation Magnum bass DI going through the TL Audio preamp into RME converters and then Logic X. Even though he has Ampeg B2s and Ashdown amps “coming out of my ears,” Youth prefers to keep the recording of the bass as process-free as possible. The idea is to make Everything Is No Thing super hi-fi but with ’50s analog precision, by recording all the musicians separately and going deep in the mixes to achieve the slick sound heard on the album.
“I wanted the album to sound contemporary,” says Youth. “There is a zeitgeist in London with jazz, afrobeat, afro-centric funk fusion, ’70s rare funk exploding in popularity. Even though the album is informed by old music, the beats are groove-based and not indulgent in terms of their abstract expression. And Wobble, he is the Miles Davis of this generation for bass.”