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Track By Tracks: The Great Sabatini - Goodbye Audio (2018)

1. Still Life With Maggots:

Hey, remember that movie "Altered States"? When William Hurt starts experimenting with mind altering drugs while floating inside a sensory deprivation tank in order to plumb the depths of the human psyche and potentially see "God"? Well, (spoiler alert) when he falls further and further into the recesses of our evolution using his "method", he eventually passes through all human understanding, to some atomic level of consciousness, and manages to find what's waiting beyond our origin... absolute nothingness. Basically, the consequences for staring into nothingness was to become transmuted into some amorphous manifestation of total agony, until he went cowering back into his regular, banal life as a living organism burdened with the gift of human intelligence, and, uh, "love" or something. One time during a profoundly quiet moment of reflection, I saw the maddening void of inexistence for a split second. That sort of shit stays with you, and you realize that every sandwich, orgasm, hangnail, novel, sunset or stand-up comedy special are just blessed distractions from the void that's waiting for all of us. 

2. Dog Years:

We did a split tape (on No List Records) with our buddies godstopper a couple years ago. I had been listening to (Butthole Surfers) "Locust Abortion Technician" a lot and thought it'd be great to have some weird lo-fi shit right up front with the "regular" tunes we'd been working on, so I wrote this trashy acoustic dirge for the split and had my wife April sing the words with her pretty voice all ethereal and gentle-like, and we called it "Dog Years (quiet)". Later on, when we were working on the tunes for "Goodbye Audio", we took that song and played it really loud through amplifiers, and had our friend Musky (from Biipiigwan) scream those words with his gnarly voice all shredded and ungentle-like. This tune also keeps with our long standing tradition of writing and recording a title track for our former album on the current one.

3. Strip Mall, or The Pursuit Of Crappiness parts 1-4:

It's Black Friday, and you're eyeballing a stack of boxes with flat screen TV sets in them from behind the glass door of a Wal-Mart. You are being pressed up against that glass door by the 500 people behind you, all of whom are shouting and writhing in the ecstasy of their collective consumer war-lust. You see the minimum wage-slaves in their blue frocks inside the shop, waiting for word to come down from on high to open the gates and let the melee commence. Their faces only register some grim resolve to steel themselves and get through this shift without a significant loss in their will to live. It's getting hard to breathe, but you push back against the throng and feel an endorphin rush as the floor manager inside (who resembles Christ), looking at his watch, lifts his hand to signal the doors to be opened. Seemingly in slow motion, the gates slide apart and you fall through that widening gap, flat on the linoleum tile floor. The row of peasants behind you stumble over your prone body, and a pile up begins. Some manage to crawl off but you're still under a pile of struggling flesh and all you can hear is your own breath leaving your lungs as you try and fail to scream, not for air or for your smashed eye socket or your broken limbs, but for the opportunity, now slipping through your mangled fingers, to acquire a new 52" 4K Smart TV at a ridiculous bargain price. 

4. You're Gonna Die (Unsatisfied):

I saw an interview with tattoo god Horyoshi III once and he said something about trying to attain mastery of an art or craft in life... that no matter how much time one spends chasing perfection in their field, it will elude them. But, even knowing this probably won't keep you from trying. You're going to die. Unsatisfied. I guess it's supposed to be liberating, philosophically. 

5. Tax Season In Dreamland:

Each verse is about a separate event. The first one concerns one of my friends taking his own life. The second is about seeing my Grandmother's anger and frustration with inertia on her death bed. The third was about making a joke that our drummer Steve's newborn son Mateo looked way too serious while he was napping. Sometimes you gotta write about the rough stuff but it all balances out when you see how fortunate we are to have someone like Mateo in our lives. A little levity goes along way when stuff gets serious too, and we are not really the severe, stuffy artist types that some might think we are. The last section of the song was a chord progression Rob and I wrote together probably ten years ago. I recorded myself one morning recollecting a dream I'd just had and we used some of that audio... that's the weird voice you hear over that last chord progression.

6. Brute Cortege:

This is a pretty straight up eulogy tune. Sepulchral, if you will... and I will, because when do I get the chance to use that word again without sounding like a total jerk? I have a hard time actually singing in front of people, so I had the lights off in the little vocal booth at Boxcar and I had Sean Pearson put the vocals through my amp. Then I asked Scott Evans to BURY those already murky vocals in reverb, because I like My Bloody Valentine a lot but also because I'm a giant coward about my voice. I can scream in studio or on stage all day, in front of 2 people or a million people, but bringing it down to a gentle, naked vocal performance like normal people do is almost too much vulnerability for me to bear sometimes. Fun fact, Rob played a Rhodes Piano on this tune. 

7. Hand Of Unmaking:

All of the tunes of Goodbye Audio were recorded live off the floor, except this one. We spoke about having a super huge bastard of a song as the closer. It was more of an idea to start with, but we just kept adding to this till we had a long map of where everything was supposed to go. We made a click track and overdubbed everything one piece at a time. The intro bit actually was recorded live, at the end of the first day of tracking... we had worked out a loose groove with no sort of ending, and jammed it out a bit. That portion wound up being edited onto the beginning... I feel like it sort of sets the tone for the whole piece. We made this with zero intentions of playing it live, so in this way it was super liberating... Rob played an acoustic guitar in Nashville tuning (look it up kids) and there was some smashing of cymbals with hammers through delay pedals, for instance. After we were done tracking I considered axing my fiddle part and finding a competent player for it, because I am not a competent violinist or fiddle player, but in the end, I tried to be more fearless about it. It is what it is... and our initial discussion was to have certain instruments exist in this song like characters or machinery in this landscape... the fiddle being some raw, vulnerable human impulse in the midst of a war. I'd been reading Michael Herr's book "Dispatches" about his time as a war correspondent in Vietnam. I wanted some frail and seemingly powerless voice to be swept away in a monolithic wave of destruction, which I suppose was my takeaway from having read that book. We recorded our friend Pat playing organ on this after the initial sessions. My old friend Graham dropped in with some recording gear and we set up in our jam room. Pat played his organ through an old rotating Leslie Speaker, which was very cool, and added some nice color and dimension to that section. Fuckin drama, man. He also did some synth stuff which sounded crazy initially but we took it out because it was a little too John Carpenter when what we needed was Jon Lord.  

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