I’m almost done with a new record. The new record is called “How it left me blind”. It is distinctly a break up record, which won’t be surprising to people who know me. People love break up records, so I’m hoping it will be hugely popular. That’s a joke.
The record is more folky than the last few things I have done. It was recorded thusly: the acoustic guitar and vocal are all live takes, with no drum machine or click track to guide them, and then the rest of the stuff was overdubbed over those takes. More than half of the songs have backwards guitar parts. There is a lot of electric guitar, and a fair amount of synthesizer. And harmony vocals.
One of the joys of recording like this is the inevitable imperfection. Imperfection is probably the wrong word, since it implies something close to actual perfection. The inevitable chaos. The timing is perpetually off, especially compared to the perfect symmetry we now expect on recordings. My timing on acoustic guitar is unsteady at best, and overdubbing on those tracks feels like throwing darts from a moving car while the driver pumps the gas. Counter-melodies shift uncomfortably to find their place in the measure, like a rider taking the last seat on the subway. The rhythms sound right to me, after living with them, but I worry that they will sound wrong to other people, at least at first. The decisions are arbitrary, the arrangements almost taking shape by chance.
The backwards guitar helps – it’s a little like drawing with your eyes closed, or writing in a mirror. Like cutting your own hair. It’s not chance, but it is a lack of control, a disconnect between action and results.
Maybe the record doesn’t sound as chaotic as I think. It is a folk record after all. It’s hard to say, from where I sit, which is so close that everything blurs together.