The first disc of THE ANGLE OF BEST DISTANCE is done. I think.
I made a rough assembly last night. Now I’m tweaking a few things to get the volume more consistent from song-to-song. I had to drop a few tracks in order to squeeze something close to the sequence I wanted onto one CD. It was supposed to run twenty-three songs long. Now it comes out to twenty songs and just a hair shy of eighty minutes.
I wanted to fit a hundred songs on this album, spread out over four CDs, but I don’t think that’s quite going to happen. I’ll be lucky if I can squeeze eighty songs in there. Space limitations…always forcing you to shave things down.
I’m not sure how well this first CD flows. It jumps from a moody synth-heavy soundscape, to a happy-sounding blues-folk number, to something crawling toward sloppy power pop, to an austere acoustic guitar-based ballad, to a warped 11-minute spoken-word piece, and back again. If it was a standalone album and not just one part of a larger whole, it would be one of the most unpredictable things I’ve done.
I don’t think there’s any way to sequence the songs so they make any kind of linear sense, and arranging them in chronological order would feel pretty bland to me. The whole thing is a huge mess of music. Seems to me I’m best off treating each disc as a quarter of the mess, letting things careen all over the place. Better to be governed by what feels right to the gut, and not what would make for a tidier or easier listening experience.
I don’t know if I mentioned this, but for a while I was thinking about releasing the individual discs as four separate albums. Then I realized how much more expensive and time-consuming that would be than doing it all in one shot. Trying to make something like this easier to digest would miss the point anyway. It needs to be one huge, imposing thing. It shouldn’t be any easier for someone else to get a handle on than it has been for me.
Hopefully it’ll reward the work it requires. At the very least, it might make for the strangest soundtrack you’ll ever have for a road trip. It cracks me up that some of the catchiest, most accessible things I’ve done are going on this album, and I’m sure some people will listen and think, “Why didn’t you just take those nice catchy songs and put them in one place? Why did you have to throw in the goofy beatboxing and the song that’s just a bunch of stupid internet acronyms sweetly sung as a way of poking fun at how we’ve all intellectually regressed in the wake of instant messaging? Why?!”
People could even go ahead and make their own shaved-down version of the album if they wanted, by taking whatever songs they like best and slapping them on one CD. I’d be a little curious to see what would happen there. It’s always interesting for me to look at the songs listeners isolate as being highlights or favourites. A lot of their choices surprise me. I’ve said this before.
So. One disc and eighty minutes down. Three discs and two hundred and forty more minutes to go, give or take. It should be much smoother sailing from here.