Click to download the tracks:
This session began as a semi-regular Never Sorry set without Dane. The girls and I were having some trouble breaking out of the mediocre, though we did get some newer versions of things in line for a good future nail down. Basically, though, it was a short night that was more building than interesting.
Katie and Rachel cut out relatively early, each for their own reasons. Not content to leave a record of practically nothing, Megan and I pressed forward with beat, bass and vocal improv. DJ Modifi, again, was not present in person, but we used his beats for the final track.
The recording, itself, could have been better had I ran Megan’s microphone directly into the board, rather than into a board into a board as we usually do. Here, it’s just too minimal for that and the result is this terrible hiss that persists throughout. Eventually, you may forget that it’s there as you listen…but it drives me crazy.
“What is This? (David Dalton Returns to the Sea)” – Megan didn’t have much to say at first, what with me all but shoving a microphone in her mouth and demanding she say something. I covered it myself by the second half, though. David Dalton is one of my personal heroes. I used to play in a hip hop band with him. It was called Flashmob. We used this beat relatively close to the end of Flashmob’s brief but powerful tenure. So it’s natural that my own vocal musings would begin mentioning that. Eventually it builds into exactly what it says in parenthesis up there in the song title: David Dalton returning to the sea. He is, after all, David Dolphin: The Porpoise with a Purpose.
“Life is Terrible” – I may have to make an executive band decision that Megan doesn’t talk about her job anymore at sessions. When such dialog bleeds into the music, you get this. It’s nicely sung…but very depressing.
“Party USA or Something” – I let someone secret hear this one and they remarked that it sounded like a Miley Cyrus song. I have to concur. That sample is from the song “Dime” by Cake. Also note my only vocals on this one: an interpolation of “Sweet Jane” by the Velvet Underground.
“Stand By Me” – A cover of the Ben King classic. She’s singing a lot better than I’m playing the bass. For whatever reason, I thought it would make some dumbass artistic statement if I played the whole song on mostly open strings, focusing not on variety, but cadence of simplicity. In the end it works…but I might should have actually stopped and thought about it somewhere in the five or so takes we did. That’s the same beat from “Free Day.”
“Forecast: Marked” – This beat was created by DJ Modifi and I love it. This is a mostly instrumental track and probably the best of this bunch.
Megan Driscoll – vocals
Arrison Kirby – beats, bass, vocals
DJ Modifi – beat composition
Click to download the tracks:
This session was without our beloved Katie, but we pulled through quite minimally.
“Rub and Slip” – We introduced the keys to the set up and opened with this reggae bi-product type jam. I played those keys low to a slowed down version of the beat Obadiah used to use for the song “Same.” Dane handled the bass good and dubby. I think Rachel is hitting the drums. This song leaves as abruptly as it begins.
“Bristol” – I replaced the electric guitar with acoustic to strip down this one. Dane on the bass. Megan and I singing of course. Rachel is laying back on the snare.
“Family Affairs” – We did a better minimal version of this one in an earlier session which is pretty much lost. This one isn’t all bad, though…just a few hiccups here and there. Same set up as on “Bristol.”
“Squeen” – Another random looper pedal moment. I almost silenced it, but Dane told me to leave it on. He proceeded to build it up and over. I joined in on keys as well.
“Sweet Times” – This was Dane’s progression. He’s playing the acoustic guitar. I’m playing the piano. I’m a bit choppy at times (and bendy), but the little dancehall interplay around the minute twenty mark is worth the wait.
“Afraid of the Ghost” – First recorded version of this song with keys. I was a bit uncomfortable playing the keys while singing on this one. Hence, my voice awkwardly dips out several times. Overall, though, this is a fun little version. Megan’s flute mixing with the feedback reminds me of some of Roxy Music’s more experimental moments. The beat was actually constructed by myself and David Dalton together. We used it in the Flashmob song, “Tanya Tucker.”
“Asleep in my Head” – This is Megan and I doing a sensitive little flute and piano jam influenced by Carlo Gesualdo.
“Fucking” – I guess this is comedy kind of?
“Sucking” – This one isn’t funny at all.
Megan Driscoll – vocals, flute, tambourine
Dane Hill – bass, guitars
Rachel Jae – axillary percussion, drums
Arrison Kirby – guitars, keys, beats, vocals
Here are some outtakes and experiments from my sessions recording Part 3. Notice the art that accompanies this entry also. These are the original conceptual sketches for the album art. These sketches, as well as the end result are the handiwork of Japanese artiste, Saitarou. Click her name and check out her stuff. She’s incredibly unique and gifted in what she does.
As to the music, here is a guide:
“Yoko Intro” A lot of stars aligned to get me to Japan. My friend, Sean Deitrick, had just moved to Nagoya and had an extra room for me to stay in. Also in Nagoya, they were kicking off the opening of a new airport built on a landfill island. Because of this, I was able to get a round trip ticket for four hundred and forty-four dollars. Lastly, through the magic of social networking, I had befriended Homako. (She is a design wiz, by the way, so you should check out her stuff.) I knew her better as Yoko back then, when she lived in Nagano. Part 1 was a mix CD that I sent her in the mail when we first met. (She sent me candy and a CD by The Books.) Part 2 was another mix CD, which I hand delivered to her when I arrived at the Zenkouji Exit in Nagano. Part 3, of course, was the all original recording I did of all the songs I wrote when I was over there. Long story short, “Yoko Intro” was the first (and only original) track on Part 1.
“Tuesday, September 9th” I was in Japan in April. In May I went to Pennsylvania because my aunt was dying. I brought my MC-909, a hand held tape recorder, and a bag of cassettes with me and began programming work for “Jim on the Plane.” I also worked on three other tracks on that trip. One of them was this one. The news broadcast samples were recorded from the radio on the morning of September 11th. I call it “Tuesday, September 9th” because that first reporter states that Tuesday, September 9th, will go down in infamy. Either he messed up, or the conspiracies run deeper than we thought.
“Deadway” This beat formed out of the “Train to Nagano” beat quite accidentally. I was experimenting with different echo effects on the beat and then suddenly there was this thumping, crazy mess. When Dirtnap Dave and I were putting together the earliest beginnings of our hip hop ensemble, Flashmob, I presented this track (with others) for possible use in the project. Understandably, he poo-pooed it. His roomate at the time, Kactus, says it sounds like sweaty gay club music. I kind of hear it.
“Mimi and Chippu” This was another one that I presented for Flashmob, but we did not use. It’s the skeleton from “Chippu and Mimi” but with an assortment of additional sounds, obviously. I completely did away with the old arrangement and melodies, in fact.
“Chippu and Mimi (Alternate Version)” This essentially is “Chippu and Mimi” but with different beat arrangements. It almost made the final cut, but I decided on a last minute reworking after deciding that it sounded too disco-simple. The final version is much less half-assed. This one simply is what it is.
“Heaven” I used to be really proud of this piano piece. Unfortunately, I could never really find a home for it, outside of my own heart. We played it live with Obadiah a few times, but no one in the band really gave a shit about it except me. I held on to it as long as I could, but never wrote it down. Now it is completely gone from my memory banks and will probably never be played anywhere ever again. Sad. This is the only non-Obadiah recorded version of it. Though they are not present on this version, it did have lyrics. They were: “Heaven is in surround sound and the atmosphere is comprised of nitrous oxide.”
“Only Ghosts” I created this on my 909 during the sessions in Pennsylvania. (See above.) If you listen carefully, you can hear a sample from “Mr. Krinkle” by Primus in there. I had no real intention for it in the beginning, but this beat has since been used for a small handful of stuff. In regards to Part 3, I had first used it in “Bamse.” Since then, it has also been applied to my remix of “Disconap” by Senryu. The beat was also used by hip hop trio, Per Capita.
“Yoko’s Song” Before there was a Part 3 (or a Part 1 or 2 for that matter), there was “Yoko’s Song.” Homako and I had begun chatting in February. After hearing some of my music, she suggested that I make a song with a heartbeat in it. Then, on St. Valentines Day, I did just that. The result is this. I completed the whole thing in a day. Written, mixed, mastered and delivered on February 14th. It’s probably the schmaltziest thing I have ever written.