would you like to see my pet giraffe?

after having a few days to absorb something-or-other, my ambivalence faded and i decided my attempt at sequencing the album seemed to work well enough. then came the fun stuff — album art.

lately i find myself in one of two positions: either i end up scrambling at the last minute for album cover art, or i have an idea/image in mind for a while before things reach the finish line, and it sticks.

this time it was a little different. i figured it was time to give the old “artist appearing on their album” thing a try again. maybe i could erase the bad taste left in my mouth when previous forays into that sticky territory didn’t quite turn out as i planned. generally i like to see something more interesting than the artist’s face on an album cover (unless the artist in question is pj harvey, emmylou harris, kate bush, chan marshall, or…well…you get the idea), but sometimes it fits. i also thought it might be fun to try capturing some “in the studio” type images, since my recorded work hasn’t had a whole lot of visual documentation.

bree came over on saturday and took 143 pictures of me. that number was shaved down to 59. and then i was left with a problem i’ve never had before — having a whole of images to choose from.

i ping-ponged back and forth between different ideas. i liked that there were a lot of shots of my hands doing things without the face being seen. i liked the pictures of my reflection caught in the piano’s shine, but they seemed like they would work better for an album that was more piano-centric. for a while i was almost set on a shot of a microphone in sharp focus, juxtaposed against my out-of-focus face.

in the end, the picture i least expected to take home the prize ended up feeling like the most appropriate one. i’m there, but my face isn’t clearly seen, obscured by shadows. sounds about right.

then i selected a handful of shots for the booklet, to break up some of the words and make it more interesting. it was kind of a shot in the dark, really. i have way too many favourites to fit in one CD booklet. you could make a hardcover coffee table book out of them. but it’s nice to have some pictures of me in my element, doing a bit of what i do. there haven’t been any of those since 2003. not all of the chaos that’s the studio was captured, but that would have been an insane undertaking anyway with everything there is to see and all the different angles it could have been shot from.

maybe some of the shots i didn’t use will show up in different places down the road. for now, here are some of my favourites that didn’t end up making it onto the cover or into the booklet, for no real reason at all. huge thanks to bree for taking all these pictures and making me look not as much like the least photogenic person in the world i am most of the time.

this is a pearlman TM-LE, which is maybe my new favourite microphone. it’s got some of the sweetest “air” i’ve ever heard, without getting the least bit harsh. just yummy extended goodness. leave it to dave to make another mic that makes an amazing swiss army knife.

here i am in the midst of a little bit of the chaos, wondering how i’m ever going to record everything i need to while i’m still virile and able.

happy micron

yes, alesis micron. you is my friend.

in focus, out of focus, hocus pocus.

this guitar (a washburn D82WE — probably one of the only really high end, non-cheapo models washburn has made in recent years, so of course it’s discontinued now) tried to commit suicide once, but we brought it back and convinced it life was worth living. it’s still got the scars to remind it of wilder times. it’s been in a pretty weird-ass tuning for a number of years, and is the guitar “don’t be tense”, “creepy crawly things”, “organ smears”, and a lot of other songs i still need to record were written/played on.

the kay thin twin. a lot of the electric guitar on the new album is this thing. funny how two of my favourite guitars these days are kays. the K-22 i picked up late last year has become my go-to acoustic guitar and is all over the last few albums, while the thin twin is fast becoming one of my favourite electrics. these seem to be two of the only guitars that will tolerate a particular D tuning i’m fond of without the intonation getting dodgy at all, so that’s nice too.

they’re also kind of sleepers on the vintage guitar market, so they don’t command anywhere near the price of a vintage martin or gibson, though i’d put them right up there in terms of tone, playability, and overall coolness factor. someday people will catch on and a vintage K-22 like the one i got for a song will probably be going for five grand or so. or maybe i’m wrong. time will tell.

there are about half a dozen shots of piano hands, and i like them all. picking one to put in the booklet came down to which one struck me as having the most appropriate mood to it. but any of them could have made the cut. those are some pretty long fingers…

and there are many others i like a lot as well. these are just a few of my favourites. bree takes some snazzy pictures, she do. she also makes you forget the camera is there, which gets rid of the self-conscious hooey that tends to kill good candid shots. i never enjoyed family picture time at olan mills when i was younger…fake smiles all around.

emotionally stunted hypocrites really do pull off that smarmy fake smile thing, though, don’t they? gotta give them credit for that.

now that i know you’re busy drooling over my rugged good looks (or plucking out your eyes to make the hurting stop), i should pause to tell you i’m playing a show at taloola cafe on saturday august 8th backing up adam. music starts at 8:00 pm and ends by 9:00. an early show! in a place with no p.a. system whatsoever! no hearing loss! praise señor jesus, and the little girl who sold me lemonade last summer.

the field assembly lineup for this show will be just adam, stephen hargreaves, and myself. i get to play wurlitzer electric piano in a live setting and drink tea that smells pretty. should be fun.

5 comments

  1. hey, first thing i noticed was that the fotos were stellar
    definitely not like that glamorous olan mills style, but good nonetheless!

  2. These photographs are wonderful! Geez, you know a lot of talented people.

    Also: You’ve got really nice hands. 😛

  3. i have to say i’m a little disappointed not to see any pictures of your pet giraffe. but the pictures do look very nice. i especially like the first one and the sepia one of the guitar.

    i hope you’re having a good show. next time i’ll do my best to teleport into your shoe and be part of the whole experience.

  4. poor jiffy…i think he needs his own personal photo shoot to restore his faith in his own sex appeal.

    and you definitely fit firmly into the category of “talented people i know”, maya…actually, most of the people who leave comments here with any amount of regularity fit firmly into that category. ain’t it fun to be pigeon-holed?

  5. these shots look great. i like the piano hands as well… looking forward to see the artwork, but more importantly, hearing the songs.

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