Track By Track: Yourself Open

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Track By Track: Yourself Open

This song came from a friend lending me his electric guitar and me not knowing anything about playing guitar at the time. I recorded myself plucking and striking the instrument, and did a lot of sampling of individual sounds to a keyboard setup. I then programmed these guitar melodies like I would a softsynth. I ended up with a one or two minute beat. Once I moved to Montreal, I brought Astrolope into the mix and had him restructure the song with me. It became a six-minute strange instrumental, with a decent portion of it in 5/4 time. Izzy came over and we hashed out lyrics and recorded the vocals in a night.
This song was a real problem tune for me as the album started to take more of a form. It was too long, it wandered a lot and didn’t really have a payoff. I took some time away, about 6 months to a year.

On a plane to Mexico in 2014, I figured out the new structure. I wanted to cut the crap and make it more direct and give it a tangible climax. This became the version that can be heard on the record; something simple and to the point.

Listen to Yourself Open: http://bit.ly/1U2DV0A

Next up, Masks.

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Track By Track: Yourself Open

Track By Track: A Death Over The Radio

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Jonfrid Eliasen Photography

Next from Coldform is A Death Over The Radio.
I started this song while in the backseat of my parents’ car on the way to see my great grandfather who had recently turned 100. It started with the raspy “respirator” synth sound and the various piano melodies, and was left as that for a little while.
I later started sequencing drums, and ended up using a lot of samples from a brush kit because I liked how fluid they felt. Underneath, the rest was essentially basic dance drum patterns.
I tried playing this one live at the release party for my first album World Makers, but it just didn’t seem right; something was missing.
I took the tune to Jesse Manou from Other Families to lay down some electric guitar. He gave me one mean take, and that’s what you can hear in the finished song.

A lot of time passed, and I had moved to Montreal for school. My Great Grandfather died and I started to think about what the song was really about. I got a message one day about the account name for one of my other projects from someone named Súsanna Herálvsdóttir. She wanted to use the name for her own project, Dóttir (pictured). I gave it to her, and discovered that she had the most lovely voice.
I sent her the instrumental to muse over, and after a few months she gave back the recorded vocals. I remember getting really excited upon hearing them for the first time- I immediately called Astrolope and told him to come over and hear them.

A lot of time and small mix revisions later, and the song was finished. For me, this was one of my favourite songs off the album and marked the first time I collaborated with someone I didn’t know in real life.

Listen to A Death Over The Radio: http://bit.ly/1rptc5R

Stay tuned for the process behind the next song; Yourself Open!

Track By Track: A Death Over The Radio

The First Snowfall In October (Prose)

I’ve started to write a piece of fictional prose, which isn’t something I’ve done in years. I’m trying to take a Hemingway-esque approach, in keeping my descriptions and adjective-use relatively minimal. Here’s my first draft:

David rolled over in his sleep. The moon was out and blue light speckled the forest floor.
I heard a snap and looked past the firepit to the cage across camp, obscured by the gloom; something rustled inside. My eyes fell on Capri, asleep by the coals, rifle rising and falling with his chest.
I quietly woke David, motioned to leave and as silently as we could, we rolled our bedding. I crept over to Capri who was still sound asleep with his arms loosely cradling the rifle. I gently peeled the weapon away from his body and out of his arms. He muttered something about the price of gold.

David and I walked for about four hours in what we assumed was a westward direction, and came to rest in a pine-addled hollow as the sun rose. The air was brisk with autumn and the sunrise peeking through the trees was tinged red. We ate some grits that we stole, and tucked ourselves into a space in the roots of a tree, making beds of pine needles.

David never spoke much, so our conversation was short and mostly about the weather, his face never changing beyond grim and stoic. I looked up from our hiding space to see a lone oak sapling with a few frost-coated leaves, still stubbornly clinging to the stem this late in October. I fell asleep.

***

I must have been dreaming for two hours when I awoke. Snow was falling sparsely; something was wrong. I heard the soft thudding of footsteps nearby and stayed my breathing in a sudden rush of terror. The sound of something heavy nearby- a snarl tore through the hollow. My heart beat deafeningly as the footsteps came to a halt directly above our hiding space. From here, I could smell it, rank as death.

Capri called from the creature’s back, “You boys have really done yourselves in! Not the first time I’ve caught up to runaways.” At this point, I was afraid my heartbeat was audible to the whole forest. I couldn’t see David and I was afraid to make a sound by turning my head to look for him.

Suddenly, Capri was right there peering through the roots at me. “You look lost, Ari. Where’s David?”

I didn’t say anything, only stared into his watery grey eyes. His nose dripped and he inhaled it back in with a snort. He was a disgusting man.

“Have it your way, I’ll find him.” And then he dragged me out by the throat with a grip that surprised me in its strength, especially for a wiry senior. He slugged me down to the base of the hollow and put his foot on my chest. “I’ll take that,” he said as he reached for the rifle- still hanging from my side. I swung my foot up into his face, caught his nose and broke it.  I rolled over in a frenzy, trying to take the weapon in my hands and get a shot off. I felt a dull, hot pain in my leg and lost all orientation of my surroundings, dropping the rifle. The beast had bitten and was dragging and swinging me like a rag-doll. I felt something snap and blacked out.

As of this point in time, I don’t think I really know who the narrator is, or David for that matter. Something to flesh out.

PS: This story idea came from a song of the same title that I wrote back in October.

Cheers!
-Alex

The First Snowfall In October (Prose)