Some Writing Surrounding my Album

I put out a new album recently. Digging through my old documents, I found some writing that led to what some of the songs became, and a couple other musings. Posting them here feels good, so I’m doing it.


On Barn Burning

Old, dried Grey wood
A friend’s basement, herbal cigarettes
Stuffed marlin on the wall
Cold winter drive, coniferous walls

Green-shrouded basement,
we tried smoking today;
the basement stinks now

Warm, dark orange light,
A barn up in Caledon
Probably burning.


More Body

I am writing about my body.
Hang tense, with flashes of burst cell walls,
explosions of white chalk behind my eyelids.
My feet lie limp, my lower half sinking into disuse.
A great pool opens in my midsection,
an ugly willingness to drop.
My face hangs stern and my head pounds
in strange agony. My eyes twitch behind lids
and put pressure on my brain.
My breathing is uneven and my spine
pulls to the left.


An Image:
[Twelve Black Beetles, bottled.]


Konica C-35

My Konica C-35 was given to me by my Dziadzia. He had it since the 1950s and photographed a lot of people through it. He wasn’t an “art photographer,” but used the camera more for documentation of our family. Other Veterans, neighbours, loved ones; he was more interested in preservation than creation. When he gave me his binoculars, I came to the realization that he’s someone who based his life on experiences, on witnessing the world as clearly as possible. In contrast, I hardly leave the house these days, let alone take photos with the camera.


Monday February 29th, 2016

I hear the clinking of keys hanging from the ignition. My father tells me that people don’t pull over or remove their hats for funeral processions in the big cities anymore. Ahead of us, cars peel off the road to let the hearse pass; their drivers’ heads bowed. Light falls briskly against the mossy green lawns of St. Catharines around noon. My stomach drops a bit as the car lurches through potholes in the old roads, I’m brought back from a daydream to the moisture on my face and the strange weight on my chest. The car carries the faint smell of dried coffee and engine grease. I don’t mind; it’s a lot like being at home.


On The Funeral:

Grey with wind-blasted dew
We follow the old neighbourhood roads
through St. Catharines.
Opposing vehicles peel off the road
in a display of arms opening as ticker tape,
letting us pass.
The beetle-black of the hearse
an indicator that someone great is gone.

At the graveyard:
we step into the hellish cold
of a leap year, wind whipping our faces.

I haven’t seen my father cry since I was very young.
In his words, “he was a true gentleman.”
A poppy driven into the wood of the casket
breaks through him.
A flower from the bouquet blows to my feet,
I place it back on the lid.

 

Some Writing Surrounding my Album

Track By Track: Masks

 

paul29
Photograph by Gabie Ché

The next song off Coldform, Masks started as a “morning after.”
Izzy and I had stayed up super late with Astrolope the night before; we had been recording vocals for It Turns You On. We woke up, had a crepe breakfast and started noodling around in the studio, and we came up with the bass line and arpeggio that starts off the song using my Minibrute synthesizer. We cobbled together a structure for the music and then sat down together and wrote the vocal parts. It was the first time I had sung on a song with someone else, so it was really exciting for us. After a few hours, we woke Paul up with a phone call and said “we wrote another song, come over,” and he did.

With the tune in his hands, he laid down the climactic ending heard in the album version. Being a percussionist, he also added some of the strange drums that can be heard especially toward the beginning;  the ‘ding’ sound was my favourite coffee mug, and the ‘shake’ sound was a can of nails.

I became very frustrated with my vocals on this song, and ended up re-recording myself about 6 times over. The others were more frustrated with my perfectionism than I was with the song, so I caved eventually and just left it the way it originally was.

Leaving this song to cure for a while, we came back almost a year later and recorded Paul playing the snare drum, replaced some of the samples (ie: the bass drum became a timpani) and cleaned up the mix. I added a little more “weepy” Minibrute at the end and the song was done.

Listen to Masks: http://bit.ly/25HAdku

Next up: Quantifiable!

Track By Track: Masks