So, about this ANGLE OF BEST DISTANCE thing that’s been mentioned in something like two hundred different blog posts by now, and probably every video progress report I made until I stopped making video progress reports for a while, and at one point even had a half-finished album page on the sidebar, back when I was thinking I could get it all put together sometime before 2012 was gone (those were the days)…
Though it’s sleeping soundly in a very large cupboard right now, a little while back I took a look at how much work has been done and how much still needs doing. It’s not as bad as I thought. Shave off a few dozen songs that will probably end up relegated to some future misfits collection and there are about seventy keepers that have been recorded in some form — some of them finished and album-ready, some in need of another coat of paint or two, some that only need some remixing.
Which means I only need to record another twenty or thirty songs to get it where I want it to be. That’s the equivalent of one regular-strength album for me. I can gut that out in a month or two. All i need is a chunk of time when there’s nothing else music-related on my plate. And right now is…not that time.
The point is, there’s hope. And so, in celebration of that hope, here’s a song that will be on the album when I finish it in, oh, let’s say another four years.
For the longest time, the working title for this one was “Happy Backwards Guitar”, because that was pretty much all there was to it. It was an instrumental sketch recorded during the GIFT FOR A SPIDER sessions with a few backwards guitar tracks, bass, piano, and some subdued drums. I got to a point where I had no idea what to do with it or how to turn it into something that sounded like an actual song, so I abandoned it to a backup CD.
A year later, in the middle of my sadly misguided “I will finish this five-hour album this summer!” phase, I dumped it back on the mixer and thought I’d take another shot at it with fresh ears. I hit on a vocal melody I liked, wrote some lyrics, and then spent part of an afternoon twisting it into something very different from the slight little sketch it started out as.
The real game-changer was an old mid-level Lexicon effects processor I’d been allowing to collect dust for about two years (an MPX-110, if you really want to know). It was my go-to effects box from NUDGE YOU ALIVE through to the NOSTALGIA-TRIGGERING MECHANISM EP. Then it was succeeded by a much more sophisticated effects processor and got tossed in the proverbial closet. It got a bit of unexpected action on MY HELLHOUND CROOKED HEART, helping out with some atmospheric electric guitar sounds. Then it went back in the closet.
The plan with this song was to record some ambient electric guitar and vocals and call it a day. I ended up overdubbing layers of acoustic and electric guitars, ditching the drums, intentionally singing in a way that was only about half-intelligible, and it became this washed-out, weightless wall of sound. It’s still one of my favourite shoegazey mood pieces I’ve come up with. The list of those isn’t very long, mind you, because I don’t dig into this kind of sound very often. I don’t want to get too comfortable with it. It’s more interesting keeping it something that’s a little alien to me.
Having said that, you should probably expect to hear at least one shoegazey thing on the next non-ANGLE album, because it’s been a while and resistance is futile.
As for the moving pictures, that’s footage from Hans Richter’s 1947 experimental film Dreams That Money Can Buy. It won’t be the last time I use that one for DIY music video purposes. There’s all kinds of great imagery in there.