Camel Hero ~ Neil Panton
|Neil Panton ~ Camel Reflections|
I had the good fortune to work with Andy Latimer and Camel Productions for about ten years on a number of albums and two tours. I was involved in production work as well as recording oboe, soprano sax, misc. keyboard and vocal parts. Camel Productions was just getting rolling when I came along and both my wife and I helped with the business side of things; shipping, stock, database, record-keeping etc.
Andy was finishing work on Dust & Dreams in the early nineties and I assisted with recording a few keyboard and oboe parts, computer programming, digital transfers and bringing several musicians in to complete the album. In preparing the D&D tour in 1992, one of my tasks was to transcribe parts from tape to paper and arrange them for performance. We originally thought we would need two keyboardists for the tour, but when Mickey came on board, he took on all the parts. Very impressive use of his extremities, his mind and technology!
In the next few years we prepared several live recordings for distribution (the Official Bootleg! series and Coming Of Age video and CD) and completed two studio albums. With Harbour of Tears, I recorded many small parts and provided technical assistance in the production. In planning this tour, we arranged the album to once again make the music performable by four piece band. In this case, Dave Stewart was the fifth member, arriving for rehearsals with all his drum parts learned and asking for more to do. We programmed an Octapad that triggered a sampler allowing Dave to play a variety of piano and clarinet parts in addition to sound effects, sample loops and yes, even a drum sound or two. All members of the band played keyboard parts at times to pull this album off on stage.
On Rajaz, I mainly helped Andy sort through loads of new recordings to choose material for the album. These scratch recordings are some of the finest and most heartfelt music Ive heard and are a testimony to Andys artistry and abilities. Andy wanted Rajaz to be recorded as a band album so we set up Little Barn for rehearsing and recording direct to tape. Andy had his 24 track tape machine set up with a 16 track head to achieve a big, fat tape sound.
Its no easy task to shatter convention, but a handful of artists have sought independence from large record labels and traditional record distribution. Hats off to Camel Productions for the immense effort and resolution their success required.
I also appreciate the dedicated fans of Camel, who, in my opinion, know good music when they hear it! I feel fortunate to have worked with Andy, the fabulous musicians who play with him and Camel Productions for so many years.
PANTON MUSIC LIBRARY
For more information go to Neil's Music Page