Silk Screens: Nomadic Firs – “In The Morning”
It took me a few tries to come up with everything that went into the reasons behind why “In The Morning” came out the way it did. For starters, it was part of a larger sound piece from last winter. The song was originally tucked away in a mix under my DJ moniker, Laces. So I guess to get into that tune its important to explain that mix, and my overall thoughts at the time.
Laces is basically an experimental mix project I do once a year. Last year’s batch of crazy worked out nicely because there was two things that essentially gave me the energy to explore such an expansive piece of work. The whole process took about three months to complete. One of the great things that happened around the holidays was my step-father kicked down his old record collection on Christmas Day. This was one of those unplanned moments of two people from different generations, and backgrounds coming together over hot coffee and dusting off an old record collection. There was over a 100 in the bin, but highlights for me were Grover Washington Jr, Detroit Emeralds, Roger Miller, and Otis Redding. It just worked out perfectly, I had already started the process but wanted to get away from using newer music, and instead mash everything up together, to implore something different, maybe even try and figure myself out a little bit, get away from recording in the box I built over the years.
The mix ended up being called ‘Anti-Fads Fad for Anti-Fads’ and it came packed with a variety of different emotions. At the time the indie world seemed to be creating this new “faux pas” as it related to certain genres (chillwave), or platforms that review music (pitchfork). So that was part of my thinking when I was working ‘Anti-Fads’. Coupled with a cultural resentment, there was some personal things in there as well. I found this out, not from the internet, but from someone who had came across the new movement, ironically by reading Hipster Runoff.
I was in my usual yearly facebook deactivation mood, and had yet to launch a soundcloud account, so when presented with the news that I was a “Chillwaver” I felt annoyed honestly. I had been working on something for a long time, hoping it was free from current trends if not completely original, and now it was being reduced by some wannabe hipster? Writing this out sounds so lame, but the truth can make us look silly. I’ll embrace it for the sake of deconstructing my own insecurity.
The mix made me feel like I needed to get away from how I was recording music, I felt like rapping, but I didn’t want to just do a rap song, I wanted to make it odd, and more of a live recording. Other than the sample beat, and the keys, the vocal part was done straight through the song, one take with the pitch shift nob being turned high and low during it. I thought the song came out sounding like some 70′s pimp shit. For the mix I put “1234567812345″ under the moniker Manic Configurations. I planned on putting it on a B side record, but who knows now.
Night Control is one of my favorite releases in the last ten years, the album ‘Death Control’ offers many different sounds. When wanting to delve into a more poetic side I decided to record some old poetry over Night Control’s “Enunciated”. At the time I was trying to read and understand Soft Machine by William Burroughs, which I never finished.
But It inspired me to learn more about (cut up) poetry, especially in song lyrics. While researching a little I discovered this was the methodology for Thom Yorke on Radiohead‘s Kid A record. I have a ton of lame “sad boy” poetry from over the years, so I had plenty of words to play around with. Couple this new found process, and a fractured personal relationship, it all made sense at the time.
My favorite line is “You’re still a ghost in American freedom.” There’s so much going on in this poem, part of it was written ten years ago after my heart was broken, another poem about culture, society. Another clip about death, life, the struggle, the possibility of never learning everything before it ends.
The opening of the poem is from The Bee Gees Greatest Hits record, and the song is called “Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You.” I chose that hook b/c I know some Christian folk whose self righteous disposition have left a bad taste in my mouth regarding religion, so I guess I used the lyric in the negative.
This clip from the mix which I’ve called “Resting” is an interesting part toward the end. It comes in right after the James Blake track “I only know (what I know).” I sampled one measure off that tune, then used the song called “Resting” of this old children’s record I nabbed for .25 cents at one of the local thrift spots here in Knoxville. I pitch shifted through that song, then repeated the line “Something is happening” which I imagine sheds light on this change I felt during the time I recorded this.
One of my favorite things about ‘Anti-Fads’ is the closing track I selected, which is “Dream On” by Chemical Brothers, off of one of my all time favorite records Surrender. I added quite a few things to the song, including some background vocals, bass, and multiple keys. I remember when this record came out I picked it up on cassette. It was one of my many introductions into electronic music, back in 1999. Being able to add to it, is something I’m really proud of, and although nothing can make the original better, I spiced it up with the sound I’ve created for Nomadic Firs.
Like a million other music makers I’m influenced heavily by Jim Morrison. There’s been this great debate going on in some circles about what he’s meant to the landscape of music. I think he was a gifted poet, whose party profile has been over played, especially in Oliver Stone’s The Doors movie. Since I was young, I always felt connected with Jim Morrison, his seemingly introverted character, whose shell would “break on through” by way of performance and drug use. I think his focus on the journey, and the physical shapes he painted through his words, have always given me courage to express my own self, without much fear of being thought of as a joke. Jim’s face was, and is, always a constant fixture when I sit down to get into it. The end of the clip is taken from the movie Against the Wall which is about the the lives of two struggling youths, escaping through the world of Graffiti.
The Aldous Huxley clip was simply just fun to do. The Doors of Perception is another one of those elusive books for me that I skip around, but have not read the whole thing. But this clip is special in many ways, the ego is that thing ruling the day, the essence of what he’s talking about is kind of at the root of ‘Anti-Fads’.
The opening line is from Devendra Banhart’s Cripple Crow record, which is on my top ten of all time list.
I’m a political junkie, so it made sense to include my favorite politician of all time John F. Kennedy. His death, that era, and what he wanted to do makes his legacy captivating. I do think his assassination might be the most interesting and haunting thing to occur in American history. The music backing him up is from Dismasters “Small Time Hustler” which I discovered from watching the classic John Candy comedy, Uncle Buck. The lead in track is “I Got The Sun In The Morning” performed by The Norman Luboff Choir.
The last clip I wanted to share from the mix is Blind Melon vs Pink Floyd. The vocal is off the Blind Melon record Nico, the lyric “All That I need Is the air that I breathe, and all that I need are things I don’t need.” I spun out Pink Floyd‘s “On The Run” really fast on the turntable by hand, then let it go, while the deck was off, which basically just intensifies the atmosphere that song created to begin with. Taking the lyrics and the overall nature of the sound, this mash up is really a reflection of the “one on one” I have in my own head, daily.
All of this ties back into “In the Morning” because it focuses on myself, the people I know, and how society, ego, and the inability to cope with all of that impacts everything around me. I think with this track and some of the lyrical content, I was talking to society and where I hope to go with my life. Lines like “Its a little primitive mind, something weird going on inside, looking to rearrange, world destroyed by acid rain” is a straight shot at my growing discomfort with what I see people becoming. I struggle with how people treat life, and their evolution toward a less vigilant lifestyle is troubling. Sometimes you just want things to start over, give us all a new shot at something, a chance to choose without the influence of social acceptance, the fear of never being more. There is no better time for me than the morning. I recorded 90% of the new record at that time, its also when I feel pure, its as if there’s a part of me that wakes up before the other, and my mind is in a singular mode. All the clips, and images used in this piece, either influence me b/c I know what they’re saying, or it influences me b/c I hope someday I’ll get there.
Other cool things about “In the Morning,” thanks to Liz Pavlovic, it was put out on Crash Symbols’ 2011 (Halloween) Compilation which she put together. Liz was the (first) person to post on my music for the now defunct Get Off The Coast, and is also responsible for the album covers (handmade) collage. I think she lined it up perfectly to the music, and my overall idea behind the project, not to mention how dope it looks as its own piece of art work. She’s been really essential in getting the look I want for a couple of different things. It’s like going to a barber who always cuts your hair just the way you want it, and feeling a little insecure about using anyone else. Thanks Liz!
And thank you Laurent, and of course Portals, for the opportunity to get into all this. I appreciate what all of you are doing on a daily basis.
Purchase/stream the album from Crash Symbols.