I’ve just released Borne Down Upon, my latest recording, on Bandcamp. While I’ve worked on these 9 songs since April of this year, this is really the culmination of a total of 3 recordings, the first (Under Dim Self) of which I began in January of 2011 and the second (Scalps Of Gods) released last year. On each of these, I’ve attempted to create unique soundworlds using synthesizers, sampling, programming and the occasional “normal” instrument (i.e. the guitar . . . which is really only on that first one from 2011 . . . and is actually the not-so-normal Moog guitar). Equipment failures, the passing of a long-time friend, leaving my job of 11 years and just general living in a world that I really feel disconnected from from have all come into play during these last few years of work . . . and it’s all there, if not a bit abstracted and warped into different shapes. Each release has a sidebar with complete lyrics, if you want to read along while listening–and each download comes with a packet of many drawings completed during the sessions, along with alternate cover art images.
I believe that Borne Down Upon is the strongest of these three recordings, but they all hold special places in my mind. I’m very close to the work, and I’ve put every bit of myself into them, working very hard to create things that are interesting to listen to multiple times, with many small layers working towards the larger whole. On this latest one, I limited myself to only working with 8 tracks, instead of the normal 16, and I found that to be as fun and challenging as way back when I was working with a Fostex cassette 4-track and all of its own limitations. There are only synthesizers, programmed drums and vocals on Borne Down Upon. I eschewed custom sampling for this one, opting instead for sounds created from scratch in a different manner. I think it’s really good. I’m glad to be done with it. I’m glad to be done with all of these recordings, honestly, but completely proud of them.
The amazing Neal Williams has done all the artwork for these, and his work has been so spot-on and intuitive to the root of each of them that I want to offer my deepest thanks to him for that. His work is always amazing and perfect, and I encourage everyone to see his stupendous work at his website.
I hope you enjoy Borne Down Upon. I appreciate the support and interest from all the folks out there who’ve encouraged and helped me during these last few years. You know who you are. Beyond you few fine humans, Borne Down Upon, and all of these songs I’ve written and recorded over the last three years, are dedicated to no one, nothing, never & nonsense.
In the new year, I shall bring you much noise…
I wanted to do a proper review of The Hard Gospel’s The Commandments Of Morality, but, since I had the honor of getting to go in to do some guest vocals on a couple of the tracks during their recording sessions, I felt a little funny about that. So I scrapped it.
I do have to tell you that this is one of my favorite recordings this year, though. Not just from local/regional bands either. A favorite. Period. When I was at the session, I only got to hear the tracks that I was working on. None of the others. When I downloaded the full-length, I was floored by what I heard.
It’s a fantastic recording, rich with ideas, cross-breeding genres and shoving them right through the wall with punky/metalized/rocking intensity . . . with a thematic arc that pulls everything together. Artwork by the amazing Neal Williams of Epic Problems is truly integrated with the music and is a finely-detailed cherry on top of something that is already well beyond sweet and satisfying.
Give it a listen on The Hard Gospel’s Bandcamp page. It’s pay what you want, and you can certainly pay zero to download it . . . but I would encourage you to directly support artists who care enough to work this hard on something that is of such high quality. It truly rocks, and is riddled with fine ideas and great playing and singing. I find myself listening to it over and over again, each time a little bit happier and well-rocked than the last.