Music - Short Notice
This was the first demo tape I ever made by myself. I wrote the music over the summer of 1991, and I finally got around to renting a 4-track recorder along with a crappy drum machine for one week before I went back to college. That was a scamble as I had to get everything down and mixed in 7 days and I had never worked with a drum machine or a recorder on my own. Hence the title of the tape, "Short Notice." But I really liked what I came up with. The drums...they sound awful. The bass from my church I attended at the time really needed some processing - you can hear lots of buzzing from it. And I was in track-bouncing hell as I wanted to fit dual guitar rhythm parts along with harmoized leads. But I didn't care. It was a week of pure joy.
All of the songs are instrumentals, although there's one song that I "sing" on - I'll explain what I mean by that in the song notes. I threw my Laney stack in the closet with the only mic I had (which I still have!) and at the time I was very happy with the guitar sounds I got from my Charvel. Now they sound too fried at times, but I wanted them very prevalent in the mix (although the solo sections sound OK). The bass was direct into the recorder with no processing and it shows - it's not a great bass sound at all. The keyboards were done with my Roland Juno 60 (which I still have, and no, it ain't for sale - I'm never giving that classic up!). I had very limited choices with what I could do with the drum machine so that's why the patterns are very repetitive.
The cover art was done on a CAD machine (can't remember the name of it) at Thomas Industries. That was the first summer I worked in their engineering department and I think they didn't know what to do with me so they ended up sticking me in front of a CAD machine and said, "Have fun." So I did. I have no idea what that comet-like thing is on the front or the circular pattern in the liner notes. They have no significance other than I was playing around with line patterns.
No Retreat, No Surrender This is your basic fast, melodic rock song with lots of guitar solo harmonies. If there's one song I would re-record from this demo tape, it's this one. I really like it. The drum rolls at the end are me just flailing away at the machine.
Solace After mixing this song, I was really surpised with the results. It's basically 4 12-string guitars all playing different parts. The main guitar part was planned out, but the other three were more or less improvised. I was happy with the interplay of each part, especially as I didn't plan for any of that to happen.
Alkedama An aggressive, somewhat dark-sounding piece. This song shows just how crappy the drum machine I had was. God, they're awful! And the section where it shifts gears and does this kind of A minor thing where the drums and bass do their "solos" ... what was I thinking? That whole section doesn't even fit with the rest of the song! But I like the guitar lines and the harmonies - they were fun to play.
Mechanical Horizon I had written lyrics for a song with this title, but I never wrote music to it. Then I developed this song, and I felt the title fit the mood of the music. The guitar solo is buried in the mix, and the bass is buzzing like an angry wasp, but I like the chorus part and the solo (especially the way it ends).
Northern Lights, Summer Sky Out of all the songs on this tape, I like this on the best. I wrote it during the week of recording. I just started messing with the bass and an echo effect at the same time with a dropped D tuning on the low string, and I liked it so much I ended up putting together what was really a jam session. This is the song I "sing" on. Now, you really do not want to hear me sing, but what I did (as another experiment with this song) is to throw a ton of reverb on my voice and do a one-note sustained thing during parts of the song. The result was supringly effective, so I ended up throwing two harmonies on top of the main one. That was hard - my voice is fairly low so I was busting my balls to hit the high stuff at the end. If I heard the raw voice track I'd probably cringe but I learned that day that effects can make someone go from sounding awful to ... something better. Also, for some reason the vocal tracks were recorded on a Thursday morning after I woke up and no one was in the house so I did them in my underwear. Take that bit of info for what it's worth...
Home A simple song. There's not much to say about it! Again, that damn buzzing bass is quite annoying, but ... what can I do about it now? I remember my Mom telling me this was the one song on the tape she really like. When I asked "why?", she said that at the end I do two chords on the keyboards that reminded her of our Lutheran church service when they would sing, "A...men." Now that's all I hear when I get to the end of the song!