these three tracks were not initially connected in any way, other than being the lead sequence on my second record. they are not even connected in time: the first section was written in late 1997 around the ry30, the second section was written in early 1997 around an octaver and the last section was written in mid 1998 as a sound design experiment. however, they've been connected together since they were sequenced together in early 1999.
it was in early 2014 that i first got the idea of splitting the opening sequence into it's own release, in order to upload the tracks together to youtube. i eventually ruled against it as it didn't have a deep enough conceptual unity to justify.
the idea has come back with the revisitation of my first period and the construction of a series of experimental singles. for reasons of chronology, it was somewhat necessary for me to release a single for idiotic in the summer of 1998. but what made the single worthwhile to me in this form was the ability to reversion the concept using the different glitch mixes of the first and third tracks. the result is a challenging and epic listen, and i hope you enjoy it.
i was violently anti-tobacco in my teens. to an extent, i still am. but, i was also largely just repeating things that had been said to me, without the critical filter that comes with defining a sense of individuality. i think we probably all remember a time when we repeated things told to us by teachers, parents and the media without fully thinking them through. we don't, however, all have demos of songs that we wrote before we'd come to understand who we really are, as individuals.
looking back at the initial recording, i mostly just wish that i had articulated myself a little bit better. i never dropped my opposition to tobacco, not even when i was a smoker. i'm not sure that i ever really even admitted to myself that i was a smoker. so, i don't want to distance myself particularly far from the basic crux of my opinion that smoking tobacco is really pretty stupid - i never really altered that opinion. what i do want to distance myself from is some of the precise language and arguments that i used, as they are not reflective of my own thoughts.
for example, i wouldn't present the health care argument. first, i'm a strong advocate of universal health care. second, the accounting underlying the idea is not well defined, and difficult to construct. third, i reject the entire concept of currency. nor do i think we'd have to make resource-based decisions about health care if it weren't for the limits provided by currency. so, i'm retracting that statement - along with many others.
by the time i got to recording a second version of the track in mid 1998, i'd smoked a few other things and enjoyed them. a purely anti-tobacco song no longer seemed all that relevant to me; more relevant to me was a song comparing marijuana use to tobacco use. so, i hid the vocals through a very heavy vocoder effect and piled a lot of silly samples, many about marijuana, on top of the track. it stayed that way for almost fifteen years.
when i sat down to remaster in late 2013, removing samples was a dominant priority. thankfully, i actually had an archived instrumental version from back in 1998. this allowed me to replace the track with only minimal editing.
there were continuity reasons why i went with the sample version the first time around, but it was against my better judgement, even then. i should have followed my gut.
i had earlier recorded a vocal version of this, but i had the good sense to realize it was awful and replaced the vocal parts with synth sections, creating an electronic/ambient piece with a liberal use of noise. it's admittedly a little elevator-music sounding, but i think that's sort of part of it's charm. it's very precious sounding.
this is one of my favourite early pieces. i used to just sit and play the simple guitar outro, with drum loop in my sennheiser 440-IIs, for hours at a time...
the decision to remove the vocals on this track was largely a reflection of my growing confidence in the quality of the music to stand up on it's own. over the '98-'99 period, i was largely aware of how cringeworthy my lyrics were and put them into three overlapping categories: (1) comedy/satire, in which case i let them stand as they were, (2) cries for help, in which case i upheld them as they were hoping somebody would listen, (3) songs that i had no lyrical idea for but that i felt needed lyrics, in which case i felt trapped by the genre conventions and upheld ideas that i truly didn't even like at the time simply so the songs would have vocals. over time, i eventually got to the point where i had enough confidence in the music that i no longer felt that the songs required lyrics, and i started to look at it as something to use sparingly based on whether i actually had an idea to express. while there are definitely songs in this period that i wish i had kept instrumental versions of, the final mixes only include a couple with lyrics that i actively regret. this is the first time i was able to mentally push back against myself and say "no. this song does not need lyrics.".
this is what it sounds like when you open dlls with a wave editor. there was some strategic reshaping, but that's where the bulk of the sound comes from.
initially written over the course of 1997. recreated and expanded over the course of 1998. lead track first sequenced in this form in feb, 1999. further remixes generated over the course of 1999. a failed rescue was attempted in 2013, and another in late 2015. remastered in november, 2016 from various sources, 1997-2015. finalized on nov 17, 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 (1997, 1998, 1999, 2013, 2015, 2016).