It can often be such a one-sided dialog when you make music. Sure, people talk to you some about the music, but it's usually such a one sided exchange. The listener gets all this information, but all the musician usually hears back are either positive comments or nothing at all. So in an attempt to share with you a little more about what I feel about these songs I'm gonna put on the album and I'll just type along as it plays.
I do all my sampling from records and it's gotten to the point where I will get just about any style of record at all. But then there are some that just suck. I have a bin that I put all the records that I just don't need anymore. Before I got rid of the bin I went through and gave them all one last chance to get sampled. This is what happened.
It's a song that I spent a really long amount of time on, one that I really had no idea what I was doing because I had never made a song with such wild changes all the way through. But as I accumulated such a large collection of samples, the structure of the song manifested itself.
I really like the idea that sounds manifest their cumulative associations. That is, that a single sound can mean so many things to so many people. If you hear a bit of Congo drumming or a bit of The Cure - then you get this meaning that is attached to the sound on all sorts of levels ranging from the social to the political to the personal. One of the things that I wanted to do with this track was to make a dense net that had so many varied little associations, that it formed this new fabric of cumulative meaning.
This one is 110% samples of "Earth, Wind, and Fire". My parents pretty much only liked "Earth, Wind, and Fire" and "Blood, Sweat and Tears" when I was growing up. When they got rid of all their records, I volunteered to rescue them pretty quickly.
I really like Prog rock and really like the idea of making a disco/funk danceparty Prog track. I guess this is only one of the attempts I've made towards such end. I also like how this song is really friendly and bouncy then goes into this weird time signature process thing. Yeah, I really like this part a lot still after 6 months of listening to it.
Probably one of my favorite tracks I've ever made. This one is made entirely from 1-30 second Prog rock sample. Recently, I played the original sample and was worried that it would sound exactly like "my version". But luckily there were only very small references left.
I like to play this one live because I still get excited when all those different notes and parts start flinging around. I love how fast it is, and how it keeps moving time signature and keys as (I think) a good Prog tune should do.
The Stenberg Brothers were a pair of brothers who were influential in INKhUT, an obscure group of Russian artist that breathed a second wind into the Constructivist art movement in Russia around 1920. Their work was always really fascinating, and radically streamlined/Minimal. Unfortunately, when Stalin grew weary of the radical Constructivist artists, he threw many of them into Gulags, where it is reported that the Stenberg brothers died.
This guitar lick from King Crimson seemed to really embody that sense of bare bones movement inherent in much of their work.
This one has way, way too many samples in it, all sliced down and removed from loop form to make my version of what Electroclash should sound like! HA! I worked on this one a long time as well, working it over and over adding parts, taking them out, adding more samples all the time. Sometimes more is just more and that's the way it should be.
When I first pitched the album to Irritant, I think this was one of the tracks that Andy didn't like, but I just kept working on it because I'd never heard anything like it before.
There's an "evil" stretch towards the end that is just a 20-sec piece of a flying Luttenbachers song.
I really wanted an album that was different and went in different places emotionally as well as stylistically. This one song probably does all those things...
I made about 4 songs really quickly together and put them on a demo called "The Unrelenting Songs Of The 1979 Post Disco Crash". This is one of those 4 quickies that I always liked more than the rest. I think it has a lot of charm despite how unusually structured it is. I really like how it leads into...
I had the album pretty much wrapped up and my wife said to me "You need a pop hit, this album doesn't have a pop hit". At the same time, I came across some Go-Go's records. This one comes probably closest to being some sort of hyper mash-up of freeze frame and head over heels, but I still think it functions just fine on it's own. This one is also popular at the live gigs because I dance around all new wave style really badly.
A moody affair that starts with a Therios sample screaming "RAPE". I chopped up the acoustic guitar from a CDR that a girl gave me in a bar with her reading bad poetry over really amazingly recorded guitar. (Sorry lady) I really like the fragile nature of the percussion in relation to the glitchy "melody". I was listening to "The Wall" a lot when I was finishing this album up, and I always loved it when songs segueway into each other.
One would not think that the noisy processed guitar that runs through this whole song is actually from Jimmy Page, but there it is. Another fave, I really like how this one fucking rocks shit and has that good sort of bounce that girls like to dance to.
A really important song for me artistically, because it's a complex song but also fairly controlled (not so easy for me at least). I really liked that you got this rock feeling from it, and I think that has a lot to do with the David Lee Roth vocal bits that are cut up so hard.
I was delighted when I figured out the loud to very, very, very quiet minimal thing because it seemed like an unusual direction for this song to go; but one that made some sort of weird sense. I can imagine this section being really interesting to some people, and really boring for others, but I guess it depends on your tastes really.
Another really important track for me because it fuses the sequenced cut up stuff with the process noisy stuff so well. That's a particularly set idea that I've been chasing for a while, because I think it's not so easy to make the too types of music/sound work well together.
The guitar-y process bell ringing noise at the beginning to me always seemed to sound like 70's Psychedelia, but then it opens up to the obviously processy thing, that turns to disco, that does something else, etc, etc, etc... See that's the really important thing for me to try to convey here, the journey. I think it's this concept that separates electronic digital albums away from so many great records of the past (and recent past). Sure, this digital stuff is interesting but it so often never really GOES anywhere. You never feel like you've been brought to a different emotional place.
Also, you feel like you've listened to 10 tracks of the same thing - of personal programming challenges being won but nothing really offered up to connect with the listener. That's one of the things I really want to change about this music for myself. I want to make music that makes a connection with you, and with all sorts of different types of people. I really want to make music that you'd just naturally put on in the morning, or when you get home from work, etc. I think it's good music to listen to on headphones or to listen to in the shower. That's what music has meant to me, and I consider myself lucky if I can connect with even one person this way.
This song is long, so it also affords me a chance to say that the album cover art really made things come together for me musically. I knew that I wanted this album to be really worked over and considered, but I felt like I didn't have any idea of how to present the whole package. When I remembered I had this old art idea to blow up these pictures and mount them on pink painted gallery walls, I just knew it was the right way to go. First person to write in and tell me where the images are from gets a CDR of their choice.
Ok, it's no secret that I'm a fan of 70's rock, and those who know me can tell you that it's also no secret that I love Supertramp. I really wanted this song to not be a "mash up" (as the under-considered journalists often refer to me and others doing sample based music) but maybe a sort of abstracted cover version. I think that had the beginning of this song not been so changed by that sort of Prog-y guitar, that it would have flopped horribly. But I found that guitar on a Hall and Oats album, and it's almost completely unchanged (in tempo, pitch, effect, etc). When I added it to the song, I knew this one would be a favorite of mine. It turns out that people like this song probably the best, and I credit that not to me really, but to the strength of the original song- given the opportunity, people LOVE Supertramp!
So I hope this has been interesting to some of you, and I hope that this gives you a little ammunition by which to contact me and talk about what these songs mean to you.
And one last thing - please don't think this list conceited, or that I'm snobbish for including this it. I put this here to help inform and stimulate a (hopefully) larger dialogue about music and context and effect.