If I think back to the very first shows of the year—at the Crocodile with Mariko and in Portland with Andrea two days later—and remember what’s happened since, it’s clear that this was a very productive and active year. And while 2014 maybe wasn’t too prolific on the blog-post and/or new-releases fronts, it was actually one of the busiest in terms of gigging practicing and recording, which explains my lack of output in the former categories. Much of what happened in 2014 is setting the stage for an even greater 2015.
Not wanting to overlook what actually was accomplished this year, 2014 marked the release of a very important album in my musical development: The Disconnect by Newsfeed Anxiety. Much—too much, perhaps—has already been written on behalf of that effort, and while it definitely doesn’t seem like a 2014 album, the fact that this ever-in-the-works project finally saw its completion is something worth mentioning again. Again, this may not be the perfect album, but I’m still very proud of it, and it represents my post-Nets and pre-White Lights days quite well. Here it is again, in case you missed it the first time.
But there’s actually a newer(ish) collection I would like to share with you. I say “newer(ish)” because some of the songs contained therein date back to as early as Fall 2009. I suppose you would like to know the name of the album. Here it is:
Yes, it is true—I named an album Quadrilogy. I will not share the exact inspiration behind the title other than it’s an improvement over its original titles. You can stream Quadrilogy in its entirety below, and, if you’d like, read some background context after the Soundcloud embed:
Quadrilogy, formerly known as Unearthened, II: The Unearthening and Loose Ends (and/or) Songs My Step-Uncles Taught Me [the latter retracted due to latent creepiness], is a collection of songs/sound experiments recorded from 2009 to present day, whose origins range from multimedia accompaniment from my days as a UM journalism student (“Hangliding,” “Dogs and Such,” “Fields of Sorrow/Cauldrones of Tomorrow” [which appeared in the 2011 documentary “Connecting the 406”] and “Saga” [which appeared in Greg Lindstrom’s excellent Native News video piece]) to forgotten acoustic demos (“2:32 a.m.” and “Winter Sun”), to mediative soundscapes (“A Nostalgic (Albeit Somewhat Tearful) Remembrance of Autumns Past,” “Soaring Aloft on Their Wings”) and forays into genres that aren’t exactly my forte, but still a good musical exercise, nonetheless.
I had two goals in mind with this collection: explore sounds/techniques that I otherwise couldn’t with my live bands, and clear space on my computer. Hopefully, I achieve both. Additionally, I didn’t want to toil over these songs so much that I couldn’t bear to listen to the final version, but rather aimed to keep the songs still fresh, exciting and maybe even a little unpredictable for me, though I did put a bit of effort into the last third or so of “Even Now, Some Will Fall,” but just enough for me still to enjoy the song. Overall, I’d liken this album to my 2008 instrumental experimentation Soundtrack: Stock Footage, but not wanting to retread old ground, I refrained from making it a direct sequel. Plus, I believe Quadrilogy is much stronger than its instrumental predecessor, and don’t want to put them on the same level, (nor is one a true successor to the other, seeing how there are some guitars and vocals on Quadrilogy but intentionally none on S:SF). And because I’m in the middle of a Pink Floyd marathon leading up to The Endless River, Quadrilogy‘s mostly instrumental, avant-grade tinkerings interrupted by songs with vocals reminds me a lot of Ummagumma, Floyd’s fourth—and perhaps strangest—album. I remember being pleasantly surprised hearing Roger Waters’ and David Gilmour’s vocals on “Grantchester Meadows” and “The Narrow Way, Part III” respectively, and hopefully the two vocal’d tracks on Quadrilogy will have the same effect.
And so ends 2014. Expect to see the release of not one but two studio efforts—one with Lowlands, the other with Mariko— in early 2015, and maybe, just maybe, another Metal Face album, or at least a reissue of Dox 2005, working title Ortho 2015. There are also very quiet, sporadic murmurs of a Newsfeed Anxiety Pacific Northwest reunion, but I wouldn’t make a Facebook event for that just yet. But the Mariko and Lowlands albums are for certain, and they will be great. Be excited, because I am. Are you? How about you over there? Yes, you. Stand still, laddie!
And for those still in the Christmas spirit (who isn’t?!!?!), here’s a cut from 2008’s Clap Your Hands: It’s a Fan-Be Christmas!!, which has been a surprisingly popular upload to my Soundcloud.
Merry Christmas, or, as the Orthodox Christians say, a blessed Feast of the Nativity. I hope this most-glorious day was a grand one, filled with family, friends, presents, delectable victuals and, of course, joyous celebrations of Christ’s birth. But, even if you are of the secularist mindset, I wish you had a day filled with the preceding, including the lattermost (I can say this because it’s my blog [insert smiley face]).