Waxlimbs has a small show at a small bar called The Cavern in a small city called Toronto on Wednesday, and we’re playing three new songs.
This is one of those times where I nervously consider how my experience of a song will translate to the experience of other people hearing it for the first time. Naturally, they won’t place nearly the same weight as me on the experience because I’m the one responsible for delivering it. What is terrifying is the thought that what we do as musicians won’t make an impression, that it will glance off people and spin into the abyss that is “new music.”
TL;DR: What if they don’t get it?
It’s also a very exciting moment where you get to do the thing you’ve been dreaming of for months or in some cases, years. All of the pressure, doubt and struggle that went into making this thing will finally be relieved on stage!
That’s a pipe dream- but every artist believes it on some level. Through presentation, they are free of the burden of keeping the material alive in their own hands- it will go into the world and grow on its own. This isn’t always true but everybody has that feeling deep down.
I know through cyclical discussions with friends that my fear is baseless anxiety, that things will evolve with time; my satisfaction will wane with it.
That validation that comes with “releasing” something is purely vapour, and that’s ok.
I think the hard part of having a back-catalogue is owning it years after you release it. I hate performing a lot of older songs now, but I owe that to the work. I need to support it after the shine has worn off. Otherwise, I’m squandering what might be there for others. It’s kind of like raising a kid, but with less sticky hands and gross things like that.
The next song on Coldform is It Turns You On.
This song is a bit harder to remember the process behind, but I do know that it started as a solo piano demo.
What changed it was when I ran the piano through a shitload of distortion and realized the lead melody sounded way better that way. I ended up redoing it with a distorted softsynth.
From there I programmed some pretty robotic dance beats and had the skeleton for what became the first chorus.
Once I moved to Montreal, Astrolope (pictured above, around that time) came into the equation and played the pots and pans you can hear in the intro section, as well as made the drums way better overall.
I eked out the bass line with the bass guitar that I would later learn to play, and we ended up with a pretty bare tune.
Izzy came in and did the vocals all in one day. The garbled speech heard toward the beginning is her rapping some of the nastiest shit I’ve ever heard, which was then warped to hell. We wrote the lyrics based on what we thought we heard in the mangled version. Lyrically, we wanted to write a song that was more fun than serious.
This song went through about 10 versions and two years before we were happy with it, and now you can listen to it knowing that Isabella Davis has a rapper alter-ego called Li’l Izzy.
Today I’ve put out my latest collection of works for my Dóttirhjarta project.
It is an album containing various works made for my electroacoustic studies. If you like the stranger sides of electronic music, this may be for you.
Most of the songs explore weight and its relationship to structure.
For example, I wrote Growth Talk as an exploration of fungi and the formation of neural networks in large populations of such. The opening song Containers uses data from natural disasters around the world over the past 30 years to inform its structure. Repercussions is about the chaotic ripple effect of events over time.
There are many different styles of sound play at work on the record. I tended to focus a lot on an acousmatic approach, but on the flip-side songs like Growth Talk and Sundering use analog synthesis for 90% of their composition. Repercussions was sourced entirely from a virtual synthesizer I built in Max MSP.
Included is a live recording of a song called Seventwenty, written and performed with Matthew Murphy of Look Vibrant and Kevin Cogen of CJ Austin.
The album is free, or you can pay what you want for it. Bonus track comes with a download of the whole album.