Steve Winwood: Arc Of A Diver Production Notes

Production Notes

'I sank so much of my own money into it that the record company thought I'd gone mad', Winwood told me when I asked him about the studio he had constructed on his Gloucestershire estate. The building's thick stone walls ensured a solid recording environment, and he kitted it out with the best gear he could afford, including the 16-track soundboard – with which Free's albums and 'All Right Now' had been recorded – from Island Records' Basing Street Studios in London.


According to Winwood, for most of the leads on Arc Of A Diver he used 'A Steinway piano and a Yamaha CS-80, too, as well as a host of different guitars: an Ovation acoustic, this 1954 Fender Stratocaster, an Ibanez mandolin on one track of Arc Of A Diver'. Orchestral sounds on the album were delivered by the aforementioned CS-80 synth, with a rented Prophet also prominent.

Having learned much from Jim Capaldi in Traffic and Spencer Davis Group drummer Pete York, by the time of Arc Of A Diver, Winwood had taught himself to become a more competent drummer. His approach involved building up instrumental layers using a metronome or click track, and only when the rhythm had become established as part of the number, would he add real drums.

'I use a Hayman kit, with a Ludwig snare,' Winwood has explained, 'and a Linn Electronics LM-1 box'. One outstanding example of his percussive nous is the bass drum pattern that's heard on 'Spanish Dancer', which opens the second side of the album. Along with the seductively fluttering sequencer rhythm, it insinuates appropriate hints of disco into the track.