I cannot say I have rejected technology entirely because, well, here I am, but in some areas I have set my heels in. I spent years recording songs in numerous studios and deferring to the common practices of splicing different takes of a song together and creating some Frankenstein’s monster version of them. Much like the monster, they always left me with the feeling of life having been breathed out of them. I began looking for alternative ways to record that would align more with my allegiance to the living sound.
With this new pledge, Guy Blakeslee stepped into my orbit. I was intimidated by him initially because at that time he was often wearing a white chemists’ jacket and carrying around a vial of acid in his inner pocket. Nonetheless, we began meeting for espressos at Proof Cafe in Los Angeles & touched on many philosophical overlaps from a shared love of the raw and ragged in song & also a dedication to the pure and intimate in sound. We began talking about “Lost Tapes” and the idea of creating a sonic portrait out of my songs, an artifact that, if found, would not reveal when or how it had been made. The intention was not to make it sound vintage or retro, but to take it completely out of the context of time.
We began by setting up a 4-track cassette recorder and a single microphone in my bright windowed bungalow in Echo Park. The tape recorder was finally a piece of technology I could understand. I was able to record and perform the pieces by myself in the comfort of my room while looking out at the white cross of the Forest Lawn cemetery (which appears throughout the record).
The songs were born through a confluence of events including moving into my own home & discovering the Omnichord. The monotonous, tinny & thin sounding drum tracks set against the lush and haunting organ of the machine made me instantly fall in love. Like new love, it delivered a torrent of fresh material for writing songs. This, along with the 4-track, which was hissing and incessant as spring crickets, offered the ideal backdrop against which I could sing. Finally, I had found the pieces of technology (all three of us from the 80s) that I could submit to.
I am starting to wonder if the main reason old people die is so that society isn’t burdened by their stubborn conservatism and rejection of change, so that the youth can rocket forward in blazing evolutionary leaps without the hobble of a grumbling, nostalgic public. Maybe this is why I’ve become enamored with a space that lives outside of time. Can I be both old and new? Is there a place for me in this world, or is it better to retreat, to cast these offerings into the web and beckon from another side? Will anyone join me there?