Catalogue No: Mercury 558 991-2 (released 5 October 1998)

The band's second studio album was recorded mainly in New York under the stewardship of Producer Mark Plati. He has worked with Prince on the Graffiti Bridge soundtrack, and from there began to move into rock and pop record production, working with such diverse artists as New Order, Shawn Colvin, Big Audio Dynamite, The Cure, Al Green, and Deee-Lite.


The Incidentals
Going Down
Air & Angels
Wish I Were You
Me & The Dolphins
Are You Jealous?
Lazy Head
Do I Lie?
Karmically Close
Dive In
Lay Low
Outta These Clouds

Mark Plati is a producer, engineer and musician based in New York City. He's been playing music since the age of 10, starting with drums in elementary school; next, studying electric bass with Duke Ellington's nephew, William, throughout high school; and finally, a variety of instruments at Indiana University.

Mark moved to New York City in 1987 and immediately began working with dance music legend Arthur Baker as an engineer, synthesizer programmer, musician, and mixer. At this time he also teamed up with New York DJ Junior Vasquez.

In 1991 he began a ten-year association with minimalist composer Philip Glass' New York City recording complex, The Looking Glass, where he produced, engineered, mixed, and performed on "Illumina".

Karen and Shellie telephoned Plati themselves. They had loved his work with other artists and asked if he'd be interested in working with them. He was interested, but busy, so the girls waited for him. "It was worth it" they say. "We didn't realise what a song-focused person he would be, and how musical. He played bass on every track, as well as most of the instruments on "The Incidentals".

The pair originally planned to record just a couple of songs with Plati, but he ended up producing most of the album and mixing it once it became apparent that something special was going on in the New York Studio.

Mark wrote the following timeline describing the making of the 'Illumina' in New York. All dates are in 1998.

April 8th: Karen and Shellie arrive in NYC

April 9th: First session, the Looking Glass Studios. Programming the basic structures of songs, which amounted to guide keyboards, drum and percussion loops, and click tracks.

April 10th/11th: Basic tracks with live musicians at Looking Glass. Mike Levesque, drums; Mike Lustig, guitar; and myself on bass. I was the engineer, and I was assisted Dante DeSole and Ryoji Hata. Shellie did guide vocals at this time.

Songs from this first session included:

'Air and Angels'
'Lazy Head'
'Wish I Were You'

April 13th-17th: Looking Glass Studios. After the basic tracking session, I had to make 24-track slave tapes for vocals. While I was doing this, the girls wrote a new song called 'Going Down,' which we began programming. We also started work on a couple of other songs, 'The Pulse' and 'Scared Like Me,' and a transitional piece called 'Shameless'. Later in the week we were joined by a couple of additional musicians. First was Everett Bradley, who played percussion on most of the tracks on the 16th. On Friday the 17th, Reeves Gabrels from David Bowie's band entered the fray and (uncharacteristically) tracked a new acoustic song, 'Out of These Clouds' accompanied only by Everett on djimbe, myself on bass, and Shellie on lead vocal. This track was a quick one, and as soon as the basic was complete we blew straight into the vocals.

Karen sang most of her backing vocals for all of these songs during this week.

April 20-25: Looking Glass Studios. We continued with lead vocals this week, Shellie completing most of them; more keyboards and programming, especially on 'Going Down'; more background vocals from Karen; guitarist Ann Klein played electric guitar on 'The Pulse' and 'Air & Angels', and acoustic guitar on 'Resistor'; Reeves did some of his signature noise/wailing on a few tracks; I added the mandolin to 'Resistor'; and lastly, Mike Levesque came back to play drums on 'Going Down', 'The Pulse', and 'Scared Like Me'

On a personal note, 'Going Down' was shaping up to be my favorite track on the record thus far, followed closely by 'Out of These Clouds'.

April 27th - May 5th: Looking Glass Studios. Over this period, we finished up all overdubbing on the tracks. During this time I'd hired in a Mellotron, which was the first real 'sampler,' from the 1960's - it has tapes of strings, flutes, or voices which are activated as you play the keyboard. It relies a lot on mechanics as opposed to electronics, and it was of course a very old unit..... so we wrestled with that for a day, but the results were wonderful - it's on 'Air and Angels' and 'Wish I Were You.'

May 6th-13th: Electric Lady Studios, Studio B. Mixing, 'Air and Angels', ' Lazy Head,' 'Wish I Were You,' 'Resistor,' 'Out of These Clouds,' 'Shameless,' 'Going Down,' 'The Pulse,' and 'Scared Like Me.' I engineered the mixes, and I was assisted by Roger Che.

May 20-22, May 25-29, June 1-4, June 5-9: While we were mixing the first batch of songs, Karen, Shellie and I decided that they'd stay on in New York, and after a short break we'd proceed into the second part of the album. Most of these sessions involved just the three of us, with the addition of a drummer (Shawn Pelton this time around) and a string quartet (Yevgenia Strenger - Violin, Laura Seaton - Violin, Sarah Seiver - Cello, Eugene Moye - Cello) as need be.

We also used another recording studio for a week, Platinum Island, as Looking Glass had been previously booked. Tracks recorded during these sessions included 'Me And The Dolphins', The Incidentals,' 'Lay Low,' 'Are You Jealous?,' 'Dive In,' and an attempt to readdress a couple of tracks the girls had previously done with Dave Stewart, 'Barbarella' and 'Do I Lie.'

When we reconvened on May 20th, the girls came into the Looking Glass Studios and promptly set to work on a new song called 'The Incidentals'. The song was written very quickly, then recorded the same day.

After this initial session - in which we completed guitars, bass, keyboards, backing vocals, and most of the lead vocal - all we added on top were drums and a string quartet. Once again, Karen did her bank of backing vocals, then Shellie would do her lead vocal in a couple of takes or so. 'Me And The Dolphins' was an electronic piece made out of various loops and sounds, featuring my then-four-year-old daughters' voice among other things. These sessions were based around brand new songs (except for 'Are You Jealous?') so it felt a bit freer as far as trying things out, as we weren't trying to 'beat' a demo version.

June 4-8: Right Track Recording. Mixing, 'Me And The Dolphins', The Incidentals,' 'Lay Low,' 'Are You Jealous?,' 'Dive In,' 'Barbarella' and 'Do I Lie.' I engineered the mixes, assisted by Brian Garten.

I ended up doing a few remixes in late June, as well as making a couple of tapes for live performance. In the end, the label stuck with the original versions of 'Barbarella' and 'Do I Lie.'

For more information on Mark Plati, including a full biography, discography, and photos, please visit his official site at

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