Strategy – the first Hotel Universe record

This is an exciting record to put back online – the first Hotel Universe album. In 2004 my friend Grace Marlier sent a cassette tape of her writing in the mail to me and some other friends. I decided to make a record out of that tape, with the initial idea that it would be like a hip hop record but with talking instead of rapping. I cobbled the music together on a laptop from what I had available – guitar, drum machine, a Casio keyboard, some samples, parts of tracks from other records I was working on. The songs used loops, but the recording software I was using could only loop accurately at tempos that were divisible by 30 beats per minute, so the songs are mostly at either 120 or 150 BPM.

Grace’s vocals are straight from the cassette tape, complete with hiss and other tape artifacts, which are a big part of this record’s sound. The vocals aren’t intended to sync up with the music – the idea was something different, something that betrayed the way it was made. One of the tricks of records is to make it sound like the different tracks are part of a single synchronous performance, but this one makes the process a little more apparent.

There are three more Hotel Universe records, and the last one might be my favorite out of all the records I’ve made. Stay tuned!