i intended this release to be a short single to house a vocal mix of this track, the reconstructed album mix and all of the historical versions. but, it really came back to life on me when i started mixing it. as i was mixing the track, i was cognizant of the fact that it is both the last release in this string of reconstructed singles and the oldest song that i have a recording of. i felt myself coming full circle.
something that i think is actually unique to this track is that i wrote it while i was still living with my mom. that dates the track to when i was in grade 7, that is to 1993 or 1994. i was twelve or thirteen years old at the time and the lyrics very much reflect it. above all else, i felt it imperative that i maintain the innocence of the track.
the track documents a routine that was actually very formative on how i perceive the world around me. when i was even younger, around ten or so, there was a nightly routine around sunset where my mom would yell at me to go lock the door before the boogeyman came in to get us. but, she'd be a little dramatic about it. kind of a...
mom: shhh. do you hear that?
me: it's getting dark, maybe it's...
mom: it's the boogeyman! go run and lock the door before he comes in and gets us!
so, i'd get up and run to the front door and lock it, peering out to make sure there was nobody there.
i don't think i ever thought a boogeyman existed, but i didn't grow up in an affluent neighbourhood and i was well aware of the dangers of straying too far from home after night. i didn't understand much about drugs or gangs at the time, i just knew that sometimes people died of gunshot wounds outside and didn't want to be stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time. it was legitimately important to block off entrance points.
the run had a bit of a rush of adrenaline-based fear to it, because the hallway was dark. getting to the door and back could at times be a little scary.
the fear was very real; i can still feel it, if i remember back to it. it would not begin to rise until i exited the living room, but would then escalate slowly until i got to the door - at which point it would suddenly spike. this would give me an extra boost of adrenaline to get back into the living room with. it was *always* the run back into the living room that was the scariest, because you never knew if they beat you to the door, and were just waiting for you to lock yourself in and then jump on you when you're cornered.
i think that this daily experience probably underlies my heightened level of caution towards risk. i don't reject risk; i've taken a lot of risks over my life. but, i assess it pretty brutally. i seek out worst case scenarios; i plan around assumptions of failure, to ensure necessities are never interrupted for. what it taught me is that risk must be a consequence of security, and not in antagonism with it.
the original demo version, recorded in 1996, is really the only track from the first cassette that can be salvaged without alteration, however accidentally. i was trying to create an eerie lullabye, a kind of banshee song. through the cumulative process of endless modifications over many months, it ended up sounding like an unfinished progressive rock song - or perhaps a campfire song for existential nihilists. but, what i captured without realizing it at the time was that i sound like the child that i was. for that reason, i consider this version of the track to capture it's essence more accurately than the 1998 or 1999 versions did. i wanted to recapture that essence and re-apply it to the final version.
perhaps what happened with the initial recreation is understandable, in the context of what i've discovered about the track, in hindsight. at the end of 1997, i got a new four-track recorder for christmas. i had spent the entire fall programming on an ry30 that i was given to compensate for the loss of the drum kit. when you get new gear, it's first use is always experimental; i used this track as my training wheels in breaking in the new setup, and largely discarded the outcome.
the track got dropped because i'd come to hate it because i thought of it as cutesy and childish. isn't that what happens when we enter our late teens? if i look back on the initial recording and claim it's essence is intrinsically connected with my age at the time of it's recording, does it not follow that i must have despised it as i sought to define myself in opposition to my child-self?
indeed, it specifically was the vocals that i hated. so, i resolved to ruin them through deadpan and atonality and guitar effects. but, once i had done so, i did not like the outcome and rejected the track for the first record. when i recorded the vocals a second time in early 1999 to complete it for my second record, i merely toned down the concept of annihilating the cutesiness in the vocal delivery, leaving a result that is no more engaged and only arguably preferable.
i may have been experimenting with the gear when i recorded the parts, but the tapes digitized very well for the reconstruction project in 2015. there's enough space in the track to allow the modern guitar & bass & synth plugins to function almost on a clean recording. the remix process allowed me to rediscover the eerie, psychedelic nature of the track and take it closer to it's intended conclusion of constructing a feeling of empty dread and uncertainty.
on sequencing the instrumental remaster of the second record in late 2016, i decided that there was an excess of silence at the beginning of the track that needed to be cut off in order to place it into the proper flow of the record. so, i opened it up in cubase and cut the appropriate section of silence out. i was then distracted by something, and returned to the project unable to remember if i had actually cut the silence or not. in order to check, i re-imported the file. the logic is that if they are out of phase then the cut was made. this was the case, but i immediately made the connection, on playback, to the echo being representative of coming footsteps and sought to expand the idea further.
this resulted in a series of remixes that take the track increasingly out of phase, along with increasing adornments, and then climax in manipulating the speed of the tape as a supplementary effect to increase the disorientation. these were arranged into a sequence of increasing, and then decreasing, complexity.
before i went off on this tangent, i was planning on reconstructing a vocal mix with the reconstruction from tape as the base soundscape. but, all of a sudden, i now had a dozen versions to pick from. i decided that the best thing to do was to experiment. this led to me mixing several of the remixes together, which is the final instrumental out for the record.
the vocal recordings i had from 1997 were unusable, so i had to redo them. but, this was an opportunity to regain the essence of the track by reintroducing a sense of innocence to the oppressive electronics and elusive guitars. my initial plan was to use a solitary voice, but i found that it did not mix well into the same frequency range as the interlock of stereo-spectrum guitars, so i instead recorded the track multiple times and set each recording to a different space in the spectrum. this creates a natural "chorus" effect on playback that blurs the frequency and better allows the vocals to compete with the guitars. i then thickened the chorus further by pitch-shifting it up an octave, which brought in the child-like innocence that i sought for the vocals.
as i was redoing the vocal part, i rejected the track a final time. at 35, why was i singing vocals i wrote when i was 12? is this clinical? but, i followed through with it to close the circle. inri is forever done.
initially written in 1993. first full recording in 1996. recreated in dec, 1997 and again in jan, 1999. a failed rescue was attempted in 2013. reclaimed on july 2, 2015. remixed on july 15, 2015. reconceptualized & remixed repeatedly over november & december, 2016. finalized on dec 13, 2016. as always, please use headphones.
the album version of this track appears on my second record:
this release also includes a printable jewel case insert and will also eventually include a comprehensive package of journal entries from all phases of production (1996, 1998, 1999, 2013, 2015, 2016).