The latter looks more accurate to me. Obviously in the case of ME the two tracks are meant to fit together, albeit that separately they sound fine too.
I'm a musician as well...I always thought of mono as everything the same in both speakers... all instruments dead center.Tou can record with one mic and use that image in both channels
It's definitely the latter. Two separately, individually played arrangements of the same, entire song, one in each channel. It's easy to tell them apart if you pan from one channel to the other. I remember an interview in a musician's mag at the time where Tim explicitly referred to the software he used to sync the drums, which I believe weren't being played to a click track up to that point (in order to make their recordings more 'organic') though Andy may have decided to use one in these session for practical reasons. Many years ago I played around with these mixes using music ripping software in order to create a left channel-only mix, a right-channel only mix, and a ‘true’ mono mix comprising both tracks in both channels. While the last one doesn’t sound much different, at least without headphones, the other two are like listening to new albums. In any case I’ve sometimes wondered what the thinking was behind this technique, which as far as I know is unique in recorded music. I know Tim was setting deliberate obstacles to himself in his songwriting by this stage in order to liberate himself from stylistic traps and cliché, maybe to get closer to a kind of ‘automatic writing’ similar to what Trish from Broadcast was beginning to use around this time too, and which found its ultimate expression in the hundreds of cut-up loops he and Joe made which were built up into the albums that became Chemical Chords and Not Music. Either way I have a theory. Despite denials at the time - I seem to remember they said the ‘Margerine’ trope was based on an advertising billboard they’d seen in Russia when it was so obviously a nickname for Mary – it’s clear that the album is a tribute to Mary almost from beginning to end. I can’t imagine what it was like for the band after her accident, and I know from interviews they did think of stopping, but having decided to carry on, they created this album that had Laetitia singing fully realised Stereolab songs in each channel but with this big empty space in the middle. Exactly where Mary would have been, both in the mix and on stage. It might be fanciful, but is a beautiful idea I think. CT
missed the "dual" part....interesting..
If my recollection is correct, I think the software used to sync up the two tracks was "Beat Detective".
Interestingly (according to the sleeve notes that can just about be deciphered on the bandcamp page), the original concept for the LP was for it to be played 'live' in the studio like in the early days. The 'dual-mono' thing was a last minute decision just before recording commenced. I remember unplugging left/right inputs from my CD player when it came out to experience the separate versions :-)