A few weeks back, I unearthed one of my microphones and recorded some vocals in my relocated home studio. The results were passable enough — after a lot of editing, of course — that I finally finished my first new release in a long time!
It’s a four-track EP titled 「光がない」 (Hikari ga Nai/No Light), and it consists of lyrics that were leftover from the writing session that yielded 「健忘症」 (Kenboushou/Amnesia).
You could call 「光がない」 an outtakes release, although that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. I hadn’t actually sketched out any of the music for these songs at the time I wrote the lyrics, but I could sense they wouldn’t fit with general tone of 「健忘症」. In fact, the idea of an EP didn’t really solidify till last year. I had a version of the title track floating around since 2009, and it was joined in 2011 by the second track on the EP, 「スレノディー」. I continued to sketch out ideas for the final two tracks and got to work on them in the past two months.
The idea behind 「光がない」 was to pay hommage to some of my favorite Japanese rock bands. If you read some of the old entries on my music blog, Musicwhore.org, you might be able to suss out who influenced what track. This entry, in particular, should be helpful.
I didn’t intend for another month and a half to pass between posts, but things have been busy here at Eponymous 4 Headquarters.
First, the website went through a major change, switching management systems from Movable Type to Drupal. Cosmetically, little has changed, but it did mean a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure the site worked the way it did before the move. The move to Drupal lines up with other site launches — Observant Records, Shinkyoku Advocacy and Empty Ensemble.
Empty Ensemble? What’s that? Well, it’s a new music project!
Some of the music originally created under Eponymous 4 has been taken up by Empty Ensemble, which will focus more on instrumental and classically-minded music. Eponymous 4 will remain a rock music project. So far, Empty Ensemble has been sidetracked by all the web site launches, but I’m hoping to get some stuff up eventually.
In the meantime, I’ll be featuring some of the tracks that have undergone some remixing a few weeks back. If you prefer not to wait, head over to Soundcloud to hear what’s new.
The four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend was just the right length of time to get a lot of work done. In addition to touching up the last few tracks of Original Confidence, I slammed through some initial remixes for Imprint.
Some of the mixes online right now are incomplete, and of course, I’ll be tweaking them endlessly from now until time eternal.
At first, I thought I would be remodeling these tracks in the similar fashion I redid Restraint, but I found myself backtracking, even attempting to preserve a lot of elements in the original mixes.
The material calls for it — the style of music on Imprint requires a more solid sense of rhythm than I can provide, so parts that I could conceivably play live, I’ve left to the machines. Except for the acoustic guitar parts. At some point, I’m going to have to face those.
But not on "Choices". This track was one of the last I wrote for Imprint. I vowed at first to stop writing when I reached 10 tracks, but the album felt as if it were missing something. I thought about the bass line to Sade’s "Paradise", and I wanted to get that kind of feel. It ended up being "Choices".
I pretty much changed the drums and the guitar sample on this track. Nothing else was really touched from the original mix.
It’s taken me six years to develop enough working knowledge about audio engineering to do some of my early demos justice.
At various points in the past, I’ve posted audio files of a cassette tape that survived a burglary in 1998, in which I lost all my early 4-track demos. The transfer to digital was never satisfactory, mostly because I lacked the equipment and know-how to do it right.
As a result, I’ve always considered that lone surviving tape as something of a bastard child, and I would always wince when friends would say they listened to it. The demos are crude in the way that dated technology makes it thus, and it doesn’t help matters when the sound quality is crap.
But two weeks ago, I gave the tapes another go, this time applying copious amounts of multi-band compression to clarify some parts and to mitigate others.
It definitely helped.
In fact, it’s making me reconsider tracks I relegated to the dustbin. One such track is something I’ve given the working title of "Acid Vogue". I was trying to co-opt the drum beat of Madonna’s "Vogue" into something I thought qualified for acid house. Not that I knew what acid house was — I just knew Duran Duran was influenced by it during the Big Thing sessions.
It’s more Depeche Mode than anything else. I still don’t know what to do with this track. Maybe nothing at all.