‘Tis the season to be seasonal.


That whole “blog heating up at the end of the year” thing hasn’t really happened. Sleep demons have been doing their energy-sapping thing, and there hasn’t been a whole lot to report. There are at least a few bits of things that resemble news, though.

The next Papa Ghostface album is farther along than I thought it was. A lot farther along. We’ve got eleven songs recorded in one form or another. Some still need work. Others just need their mixes tweaked a little. And there are quite a few songs we’ve been playing around with and talking about recording, where all we need to do is sit down and…you know…record them.

Between what’s already been recorded, what’s yet to be recorded, and whatever surprises fall out along the way, I think we’re headed for an album that’s a little more sprawling than STEW was. And you know how I like to sprawl.

Some of those surprises are already showing up. A few days ago I was mixing a solo song. i felt this urge to slather the acoustic guitar in a thick, chewy chorus effect. I knew it wasn’t right for the song, but I liked the way it sounded. Thought it might be worthwhile to try building a different song around that effect.

My brain has a habit of taking thoughts like that and running with them before I can even get my shoes on. That happened again here. I came up with a chord progression that was a little bit wonky, a song more or less wrote itself around those chords and the sound of the chewy chorus effect, similarly chewy effects were added to most of the other tracks (I think the bass was the only thing I left alone), and once Gord added some insane textural noise guitar to put the musical cherry on top, I mixed it and it was done.

I’m not going to post it here. Don’t want to give too many surprises away. But I can tell you it doesn’t sound like anything that was on the last album. On some level I think it was a challenge I set for myself, to see if I could take the music in a really off-kilter, more psychedelic direction, far away from the dark folky thing. Given how successful it was, I’d like to try and channel that energy into some of the other songs and aim for a less accessible album with some more out-there production touches.

We’ll see how that goes.

Right now I’m working on finishing up the mixes for Zara’s album. For a hot minute there it looked like I might be adding a lot more in the way of instrumentation and musical ideas to this one. Now I’m not contributing anything at all. I guess some people just want their music to be them and them alone, unadulterated. I don’t think I’m really the guy you want to go to for that sort of thing. There are other people in the city who are better choices for straight acoustic recordings, at least in my opinion. But I can do it, if it’s what the artist wants. So that’s what I’m doing.

I imagine she’ll want to wait to put it out there until she’s got a CD release show lined up. So look for that one early in the new year, probably.

Once my work is done there, the plan is to dive straight into finishing up YEAR OF THE SLEEPWALK. It’s about time that thing got all its loose ends tied up. I’d say, “expect it to emerge sometime in the spring,” but every time I try to carve out a timeline for something it seems to blow up in my face. Maybe I should start wearing a protective mask.

At least there’s no shortage of stuff to work on. Between SLEEPWALK, Zara’s album, the next Papa Ghostface album, THE ANGLE OF BEST DISTANCE (remember that thing?), a second collection of out-takes and misfits, a projected album of songs that return to the “avoid repetition and anything that resembles a conventional song structure at all costs” way of writing, getting back to working on Ron’s next album in the new year, whatever happens next with the O-L West, and whatever else might pop up along the way, I’ve got my hands pretty full.

I wonder what the Vegas odds are on which albums get finished first…

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