EP Taster

The Can’t Divide by Zero EP nears completion. The title track was written 11 years ago, but my production facilities weren’t up to releasing the track back then. Back in February I started reworking the track, re-recording everything from the original Nintendo DS file with better equipment. Later inserts came from the iDS-10, the iPad version of the Korg DS-10+ software I’ve only programmed a handful of tracks that saw the light of day on. The final layer was an arrangement of sound bowl field recordings from a shop in Hull maybe 6 years ago. I don’t recall what the arrangement was about exactly, but it was something about sound energy moving up the chakras.

The second track of the EP also began a long time ago. Around 2015 I was walking to work at a goth bar after hearing some bad news about a friend after a gig I performed at Ground Gallery the same night. I heard EyedressHearing Colours mixtape, and immediately fell in love with the track with Skint Eastwood, Triduum, playing it over several times before work. The lush atmospherics and lyrical themes were just so comforting, made bad news feel like it could be ok. By the year after I had incorporated the song into my live sets after programming it into the Nintendo DS. I loved singing it, but never felt like the results were releasable.

Sat up in bed this February just gone, having super high pain and low energy levels, I soothed myself by recording the stems of this track, adding some parts in double speed, some FL Studio programming, and recording the most incredibly low energy guide vocal slumped over in bed. I sent the rough mix over to a friend in Iceland for a long mooted collab, and they were really enthusiastic with the basic version I sent; but after I sent the version with the FL inserts, I saw them post about having performance anxiety dreams having to work for Duran Duran or something. Flash forward a few months, and I finally found they were knee deep in a PhD and too left brained to find their creative voice. I hit up another vocalist I had worked with before but they were off to do a festival gig. At the same time as I was thinking of our mutual friend Brittney, the second vocalist suggested her. Kismet.

After a complicated scheduling discussion, we ended up recording it the next day. My housemate made us Chinese food and cake as we pulled the vocals together in a padded cupboard in the hallway.

Some time before the personnel change, I managed to record some piano at the university – I had completely forgotten sneaking into a lecture theatre after a Tolkien conference to record some piano ideas for other tracks I was working on, and had some piano sketches for Triduum from that session. Folding this demo material into the Triduum project file was the last thing missing from the track, but I could tell it was looped, so I got permission to use a Zimmerman baby grand in the uni, armed with some swanky new mics for warmth and stereo positioning.

The original never felt long enough to my sonic arts endurance sensibilities, so I had worked the track into a double length; after a few weeks, the majority of the lyrics for the first half came to me the night before once scheduling had been arranged for the vocal session.

The artwork was from my friend Milena in Chile, they don’t have a website as they consider themselves a new artist; but after my usual cover artworker Becky was unavailable finishing their PhD (why do all my friends want to be doctors?), I was glad to find an artist who could make work that could inhabit the same world as my other sleeve artwork from Becky, and the sleeve for this one really feels like a good fit for Triduum rather than the title track. I’m considering this release something of a double A-side, in as much as that sort of thing exists for a digital release.

The third track is a remix I collaborated on with my colleague TylaJoeC from the Yorkshire Nintendo punk scene back in the day. I had originally planned to release this as a single to promote my last album Njuggelswater last year, but I had to put the album release on hold; partly because a short story on it was entered for the Isobel Lodge Award so can’t be published, partly because I was about to re-mix the album in the meantime; but largely because I intend to re-record 85% of the album. Maybe one day it will see the light of day.

Track four was written one morning after my friend released a podcast about finally being able to attend a scaled down of G Festival in the Faroes last year, after the pandemic caused us both to not be able to perform there the previous and effectively cancelling our shows that year too. I got the raw audio from my friend and mixed it in with the track that day and although I re-recorded most of the Nintendo work, it’s structurally about the same as it was the day I wrote it.

I’m awaiting a remix to add to the EP whilst Tyla masters the tracks in Florence, it will be released in a few weeks, so until then, here’s the original demo of Can’t Divide by Zero from 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s