Scritti Politti: Cupid & Psyche 85 Production Notes

Production Notes

Sessions for Cupid & Psyche 85 began in London in 1983 with Green Gartside and keyboard player David Gamson working on 'Small Talk'. Although they subsequently returned to a number of London studios, the bulk of the album was recorded with drummer Fred Maher at Atlantic Studios, Minot Sound and The Power Station in New York City. Arif Mardin, co-produced the album with the trio.

Green told Sound On Sound magazine in 1985 that his limited technical know-how meant he was no 'knobist', but Scritti Politti had been pushing the boundaries of mid-'80s technology. They'd explored the possibilities of hooking up Yamaha DX1 and DX7 keyboards to MIDI, and Gamson was experimenting with programming and sampling. One thing they decided against, however, was the sampled orchestral 'stab', which had become ubiquitous.

The album's rhythm tracks were meticulously constructed rather than played through, and fashioned from a combination of acoustic drums, Simmons pads, Linn drums, a Roland TR808 drum machine and an early 'low-bandwidth' Fairlight sampler. 'We exploited virtually every available piece of machinery to give us the groove and the sound we wanted', Green said. Different elements were often changed or re-sampled as they went along. One snare sound became a mix of five components before being abandoned as 'ridiculous' and stripped right back.

Although Cupid & Psyche 85 features a cast of talented session players, the result was ultimately more assembled from samples and processed than played live in the studio, although Green did deliver some solo guitar. And when asked if his voice was varispeeded, he insisted that it was, in fact, 'very untreated'.