Silk Screens: M. Sage – “Veridian i”
M(atthew) Sage here, shedding some light on the biography of “Veridian i” from my new album ‘Camouflage Repertoire’, out now (on cassette) on Patient Sounds.
Erik (Wrecked, Kick Majestic, Action Bastard, Sterile Garden) had a huge influence on the entire recording process for ‘Camouflage Repertoire’. He is really good at these long form cassette sound collages, and it really inspired me to try something like that. That kind of process requires a lot of commitment to the material, which I think working entirely on a computer doesn’t necessarily do all the time. The album is dedicated to Erik: he is a supremely awesome human. I took the cover photo for “Camouflage…” while we were out shooting pictures for his Wrecked tape, ‘Best of Aprils‘. This adventure set the mood for the sessions for me (note: ‘Best of Aprils’ led to the first sessions in May… April showers bring May flowers).
Another huge element of the recording process was erasure (which is a term poets use when discussing unnecessary words that float around in poems). I recorded this big slab of music as two kind of precarious live takes and then mixed them together, cut layers, rearranged things, reversed the tape here or there, slowed down the tape speed. Classic 4-track tricks. Though I can’t say I wholly understand his work, Ezra Pound’s ideas about erasure and word economy were really influential here. I tried to cut this epic sprawling mess of layers and textures into precise fragments that could be digested as single tracks.
The whole album is in a really similar mood, which I think was hugely inspired by the equipment I used for these sessions. mainly the microphone, the 4-track, and the pedal. I love that analog delay sound from the memory boy, and used it heavily to create the smoky masks of texture. My whole life changed the day I bought that mxl condensor mic. If you do home recording, get a few. They will change your life. Also, my girlfriend found the 4-tracker I use in her attic. It was left by a previous tenant and had been collecting dust for months. So I decided I had to put it to good use… at my house… permanently. It has since been re-dubbed “scabs 1987.” me and scabs, we tight.
I love the field recording on this track. One of the prettier ones I think I have ever captured. A nest of blue-jays hangs out in the oak trees behind my house. They are beautiful, and incredibly loud birds. They also use string and ribbon as tools! They are clever animals. I rigged up the mxl mic and waited ’til they showed up, during a light drizzle, and I got some really nice spacious sounds from them. I feel like you can hear the whole neighborhood catch the rain as it drips down through the air.
I did all the final layering for this album on the 4-track in my bedroom, looking out the window during a lazy afternoon. My houseplants were there. There is a barn in the lot behind our yard that is red. A llama sleeps in the barn. There are four barking dogs, two grey hounds and two poodles, a grove of oak shoots, and a lilac bramble. The trees lean over the yard lazily out the window. The light filters through aged glass and the room is soft golden yellows and greens. This album has a really serene dreamy quality about it because I feel like that view, that afternoon, was really captured to the tape.
Stream Camouflage Repertoire below:
Thanks, M. Sage!