Archive for the ‘wheaton college’ Category

Travelers of Tyme present: “DC Metro” a new single for $1

January 25, 2011
  • This single that is a tribute to the Washington D.C. metro supports the efforts of the Travelers to create a full-length and go boldly where no band has gone before. Available in most elite formats from $1→WhatYouChooseToGive! 

    Originally entered into the Washington Post Metro-Music contest. The B-side got 2nd place and attributed oddly to John Yaya! (fr0d.net/dcwin) Keeping the mystery alive in 2011!

    DOWNLOAD CONTAINS: Desktop backgrounds of cover art to adorn your computational device!

1.
2.
Picture it: a lonesome subterranean train platform. A balding man in a rumpled black suit stands, waiting, anxiously checking his watch, too often. He rocks on his heels. His train is late, so very late. And what is his final destination? Not one of us can answer that with any certainty, can we? So we might as well be patient. (Just don’t tell that to the Waiting Man. Our secret…) 

An empty train arrives – but it’s not the Waiting Man’s train. As the doors open, they unfold in slow motion as a beautiful brunette in a crisp pant suit emerges like a swan from a swirling gray mist. She seems not to walk but to hover, gliding across the platform, a gorgeous spectre existing beyond Tyme and space. With a wink and a slight smile to the Waiting Man, she mounts the escalator and is carried into an unknown fog above. What is her final destination? Who can say? Perhaps she has already arrived!

As for the Waiting Man, his train is still running late. And it always will be.

ALWAYS.

▲ ▲ ▲

The Travelers of Tyme present “Misty Businesswoman” b/w “Last Train to Limbo,” 2 songs constructed using sound samples of the Washington DC Metrorail. Whether you are waiting, in transit, or have already arrived at your destination, this music is specially designed to enhance your travel experience.

Thank you for spending six minutes and fifty-five seconds with us. We hope that you enjoy the rest of your Tyme in this Universe. It is a pleasant one.

Cordially,

Professor John Yaya and Doctor Klem
The Travelers of Tyme

“Death to the Traitor” Session 1 COMPLETE!

March 1, 2009

Greetings, Detholians, and forgive my protracted absence from the blogosphere!

Over these past weeks, I have been caught in the undertow of a magical tsunami, madly writing orchestral scores, mastering the new Baby Teeth record (ETA July 09!) and disappearing to distant lands to start the tracking process on the new Detholz! record, “Death to the Traitor.” These are the times in life when I am truly grateful to be in music — it feels like living inside a pleasant dream and not at all like work, despite the lack of sleep, late nights and near total and constant physical exhaustion.

I have no track to offer this week, just an old-fashioned blah-blah-blog about our 4-day marathon session at Key Club, Bill Skibbe’s fantastical recording emporium in the unlikely burg of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Utilizing the classic Prussian Dao of Detholz!, we were able to complete basic tracking for 10 songs in just two days. For this recording, we have enlisted the services of the giant brain of the tiny master impresario, Bobby Conn, who has given 110% thus far in making this record the best Detholz! outing to date. Arrangements have been improved, thanks to Bobby (including a significant overhaul of the songs “Catherine Zeta-Jones” and the title track, “Death to the Traitor”), bongos have been expertly played by our keyboardist/Zen Master-in-residence, Jon Steinmeier (why not visit him today at jonsteinmeier.com ?), theremin has been not-so-expertly tracked by yours truly, as well as a host of other goodies as we flesh out this unseemly beast.

Recording is by far my favorite part of playing in bands and our session last weekend proved my favoritism is well-placed. Key Club is the perfect place to make a record– it’s far enough away from anything that an epic odyssey is almost always required before you begin the recording process. This record was no exception– we migrated there in a caravan in near white-out conditions.

Once you are there, you are in a magic cave. Time literally ceases to exist — it has no meaning whatsoever. This is the perfect environment in which to make a recording because, as I am loath to admit, recording has more to do with “vibe” — how you’re feeling at a particular moment in time– than it does with raw preparation, musicianship, or even the science of recording. It always pays to be prepared going into a studio, of course. The last thing you want to have to do is spend money on time to practice when you should be tracking. Simultaneously, I think it’s possible to be OVER-prepared for a studio session. You want to leave room for magic-making, improvisation, and a little dash of old-fashioned chaos.

There was plenty of all three in our session. You will not recognize a lot of the songs from the demos I’ve posted here over the past few years– which is a good thing. The session (and hence the songs) took on a life and breath all its own. We want this record to be a little more organic in scope than our past highly controlled albums — the material is a little looser and needs to breathe a little easier than our past gyroscopic contraptions.

That’s exactly what we got. There’s even material that, dare I say, sounds downright sexy. And, as a great man once said, “What’s wrong with being sexy?”

We are very, very excited to be cooking up this violent, bloody dish for you. As Flannery O’Connor once said, “a writer with Christian concerns need[s] to take ever more violent means to get her vision across.” This is shaping up to be what we hope you find to be a delicious and challenging cannibalistic feast to enrich both your flesh and your spirit.

We go back to Key Club for Round 2 this weekend. Another update to follow next week…

Countdown to Jukebox of the Dead IX – “GAMBLOR”

October 23, 2008

Welcome back to the Detholz! Mp3 Blog and apologies to regular readers for the late posting.

With a hugely successful filming under our belts this past Tuesday (perhaps I should say “below” our belts?), Detholz! is now armed to present you with perhaps our most daring Halloween presentation to date at this year’s “Jukebox of the Dead” Halloween party @ Empty Bottle in Chicago, Friday 10/31!  Suffice it to say any aspirations we may have had of running for public office will be summarily dashed to the rocks. Special thanks to Steve Niketopoulos for riding the wheels of steel, running TV cameras and for some “juicy” editing on the fly!

This week’s Halloween cover comes to us by way of the complicated cranium of Detholz! bassist and percussionist extraordinaire, Benjamin Miranda:

GAMBLOR

The entire band was immediately on board with this arrangement.  In my estimation, it’s one of the most disturbing Detholz! covers in the repertoire.  There is some back story here: Ben performed this song as a child at a church talent show.  In a sense, this could be seen as a paen to lost innocence or a lament for a simpler time…

I reviewed the lyrics for this song this morning — this dark, portentious tale ends with a warning to us all, especially at this dangerous juncture in American history:

YOU GOT TO KNOW WHEN TO HOLD ‘EM.

Muah-hahahaha!  See you next Wednesday!  If you want to hear more of Ben’s excellent music, visit him at www.tinytron.com

For those who are just tuning in, we’re running a promotion through the month of October.  See the rules for the Detholz! Blog Roll-Up below…

And remember, folks: buy tickets early and often: 10/31 @ www.emptybottle.com

We had to turn people away last year — don’t let that be you!

***

DETHOLZ! BLOG ROLL-UP  CHALLENGE!

To receive an advance copy of You: the Power of You, simply follow these steps:

1. Get a blog.  If you have one, skip this step.

Note: please, no MySpace, Facebook, or other social-networking site blogs for this promotion. These blogs aren’t indexed, and are therefore useless to Detholz! for promotion. From now on, only dedicated blogs on indexed blog sites like wordpress.com, blogspot.com and their ilk will be accepted. Sorry for any inconvenience!

2. Write a Detholz!-related blog.  Whether it’s about a show, a song, or how much you want to see Karl Doerfer (DH! guitarist) prance around in a Laura Bush costume, any and all is fair game as long as it’s Detholz!-related.

3. Put the following text somewhere in your post:

Jukebox of the Dead IX
“Detholz! FLEX!”
w/special guests Aleks and the Drummer & Hood Internet
Friday, October 31, 2008
Empty Bottle
1035 N Western Avenue
Chicago, IL
Buy tickets at http://www.emptybottle.com

3. Post a link to the Detholz! Mp3 Blog in your blog roll.

4. Send the link to misterb at detholz dot com.

If you carefully follow these steps to the letter, here’s what you get:

1. An advance copy of “You: the Power of You” in its entirety

2. One other downloadable Detholz! record of your choosing

3. A link to your blog posted on the Detholz! blogroll

4. The satisfaction that only BLOG can provide

Jukebox of the Dead IX Countdown – “Rick Rollin'”

October 15, 2008

Welcome (back?) to the Detholz! Mp3 Blog!

ANNOUNCEMENT: A special shoot has been arranged by the Maestro of the infamous Maplewood House at CAN-TV in Chicago THIS TUESDAY NIGHT, OCT. 21.

THIS IS AN OPEN INVITATION and your chance to join Detholz! onstage this Halloween night via satellite! Technology is amazing! Details below:

Tuesday October 21st, 7pm to 8pm preshow, 8pm to 11pm filming
CAN TV is at 322 S Green Street, Chicago, IL

Come in a sleazy exercise costume and party with the band! Spandex, gold chains, sunglasses, sweatbands and uncomfortably “tite” apparel is encouraged.  Remember to stretch thoroughly beforehand.

If you plan on coming, won’t you RSVP to misterb at detholz dot com ? We need to make sure we will not exceed the size of the studio– first RSVP, first serve!  Prepare to flex and be flexed!

***

This week, our countdown to the Detholz! Ninth Annual “Jukebox of the Dead” Halloween show, themed “Detholz! FLEX,” continues with a Halloween cover to really pump you. And pump you again:

RICK ROLLIN’

This track had a different title originally until I was enlightened by our bass player, Ben Miranda, about the mysterious internet phenomenon of “rick-rolling.” So, consider yourself “rick-rolled.”

To those of you just tuning in, every year for the past nine years, Detholz! curates a showcase/Halloween party entitled “Jukebox of the Dead,” where they disassemble and reconstruct songs you would likely hear while waiting to receive a root canal.

Also, we had two DH! Vikings take up the chalice of the Detholz! Blog Roll-Up this week (see rules below), longtime fans Wizzbizz & Meezus:

WIZZBIZZ MYSPACE DETHOLZ BLOG

MEEZUS DETHOLZ BLOG

Note: if you are using your MySpace blogs, please make them viewable to the general public! We prefer if you have a blog separate from MySpace for the Roll-Up Challenge. In these cases we will make exceptions, but please, folks, no more MySpace blogs.

Thanks to all of you immortals who have participated thus far — your advance copies of Jukebox of the Dead II : You : The Power of You are being mixed as we speak! A special place awaits you in VORTECS Corp. Valhalla. For those of you who are still languishing in the dark, see rules below.

Tune in next week for the next Halloween cover tune in the countdown to Jukebox of the Dead IX!

Remember: buy tickets early and often: 10/31 @ www.emptybottle.com

***

DETHOLZ! BLOG ROLL-UP  CHALLENGE!

To receive an advance copy of You: the Power of You, simply follow these steps:

1. Get a blog.  If you have one, skip this step.

Note: please, no MySpace, Facebook, or other social-networking site blogs for this promotion. These blogs aren’t indexed, and are therefore useless to Detholz! for promotion. From now on, only dedicated blogs on indexed blog sites like wordpress.com, blogspot.com and their ilk will be accepted. Sorry for any inconvenience!

2. Write a Detholz!-related blog.  Whether it’s about a show, a song, or how much you want to see Karl Doerfer (DH! guitarist) prance around in a Laura Bush costume, any and all is fair game as long as it’s Detholz!-related.

3. Put the following text somewhere in your post:

Jukebox of the Dead IX
“Detholz! FLEX!”
w/special guests Aleks and the Drummer & Hood Internet
Friday, October 31, 2008
Empty Bottle
1035 N Western Avenue
Chicago, IL
Buy tickets at http://www.emptybottle.com

3. Post a link to the Detholz! Mp3 Blog in your blog roll.

4. Send the link to misterb at detholz dot com.

If you carefully follow these steps to the letter, here’s what you get:

1. An advance copy of “You: the Power of You” in its entirety

2. One other downloadable Detholz! record of your choosing

3. A link to your blog posted on the Detholz! blogroll

4. The satisfaction that only BLOG can provide

Detholz! demo – “Water on the Brain”

July 1, 2008

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog Episode XXIX!

Abject apologies for a protracted absence!

With 3 jobs, 2 bands and a wedding to plan, the number of plates I’m spinning this summer I dare not tell.

This week, a song I had hoped to clutch closely to my teat until the record release. Realizing my ineptitude for time management, and hearing the requests of fans for the demo after shows, I give you:

WATER ON THE BRAIN

This is one of the early tracks that was voted onto the new record by the band, and has been in rotation over a few US tours. Generally, the response has been really good, especially at a certain club in Pittsburgh, where this number raised the roof and brought it down again.

Unfortunately, given my ridiculous time constraints, I’m going to have to leave you to interpret this one on your own. Suffice it to say it centers on our capacities to be Beasts. Human Animals.

The only clue I’ll give you: a musical reference to the song “Cast Out Devils,” the title track of our last record (which can be found in a previous post!) This is a similar song of grief. Not death in this case, but loss of friendship.

Also, I hereby dedicate this number to one of my favorite Biblical characters, the widely misunderstood King Nebuchadnezzar.

I promise to be more diligent about posting weekly! Trust me, I’ll be back once this wedding has blown over, oh yes…

Tune in next week for a painfully embarrassing episode!

LYRICS

Upstairs what’s happening
Upstairs at night
A boiling and a bubbling
Stir it left to right

A hot, sticky package
In the back of your mouth
Inside is a message
Rip it out
Figure it out

We will never meet again
We will never be the same
There are creatures in our hearts
Pumping water on the brain

Stand upon a balcony
High above the ground
Growing claws like an animal
Making animal sounds

My neck is wide open
I lay down in the mud
Sink your teeth into me
While I pump the blood

We will never meet again
We will never be the same
There are creatures in our hearts
Pumping water on the brain

“Cabbages, knickers”–
My enemy–
“It hasn’t got a beak!”
A kingdom of bellies hangs off of me
and drags along the street

Ah, my brother!

I will never bleed again
You will never speak my name
There are devils in our hearts
Pumping water on the brain

My throat is coming out
You’re tearing it away
We’re crawling on all fours
Kings of all that we survey

Detholz! demo – “Water on the Brain”

July 1, 2008

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XXIX!

Abject apologies to all of you for a protracted absence. All work and no play makes Jim a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jim a dull boy, etc., etc.

3 jobs, 2 bands and a wedding to plan later, here I am back on the Detholz! blog, with a mainstay in the most recent Detholz! rotation:

WATER ON THE BRAIN

Given my hectic schedule of late, spinning a number of plates I dare not tell, I’m going to have to leave you to interpret this song without guidance.

After a few shows, some of you have requested this demo, so… voila! I had hoped to hold onto it, saving the release for the record, but since I can’t write overmuch at this point, I throw it to you for immediate consumption. It seems to be a current favorite of the fans in the field.

It was one of the first tracks to be included on the new record, and has been played on a few US tours to generally good reception.

I promise to be more diligent from here on in, but with a ton of arranging of wedding music (and other job-related music projects in the queue), this summer will be largely devoid of commentary. Sorry folks! Don’t lose heart! I will be back soon…

Tune in next week for an episode of embarrassment…

LYRICS

Upstairs what’s happening
Upstairs at night
A boiling and a bubbling
Stir it left to right

A hot, sticky package
In the back of your mouth
Inside is a message
Rip it out
Figure it out

We will never meet again
We will never be the same
There are creatures in our hearts
Pumping water on the brain

Stand upon a balcony
High above the ground
Growing claws like an animal
Making animal sounds

My neck is wide open
As I lay in the mud
Sink your teeth into me
While I pump the blood

We will never meet again
We will never be the same
There are creatures in our hearts
Pumping water on the brain

“Cabbages, knickers”–
My enemy–
“It hasn’t got a beak!”
A kingdom of bellies hangs off of me
and drags along the street

“Oh, my brother”

I will never bleed again
You will never speak my name
There are devils in our hearts
Pumping water on the brain

My throat is coming out
You’re tearing it away
We’re crawling on all fours
Kings of all that we survey

Detholz! demo – “Yearning for Zion”

June 5, 2008

DETHOLZ!
BABY TEETH
DANNY BLACK
RAFTER

@ LENA YOHEY FEST ’08!
THIS SATURDAY @ HIDEOUT
www.hideoutchicago.com

Join Detholz!, Baby Teeth, our pal, Danny Black and the Maplewood family to send Lena Yohey, former Detholz! bookie and sweetheart extraordinaire, to Nepal this Fall to work with orphans! This will be a family night you won’t want to miss — a great cause replete with bake sale and MAX POWER!

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XXXVIII!

Apologies for the late posting this week — this one is hot off the press. Literally finished it five minutes ago:

YEARNING FOR ZION

1. SONG CONCEPT

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably read in the news about the “Yearning for Zion” ranch outside of El Dorado, Texas where Child Welfare Services, in conjunction with local law enforcement, acted on a judicial order to remove 462 children from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compound on suspicions that they were being sexually abused.

Of course, now it’s turned into a war between State Officials and leaders of the FLDS, with the children caught in the middle. As a result of the massive raid, these kids were held in state custody until an appeals court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to detain them. Child Protective Services has appealed that decision.

This song is not about the YFZ debacle per se, but I used it as a jumping-off point.

I have known a few people that have come from fairly extreme religious backgrounds, such that the religion itself becomes an invisible predator of sorts. In the case of these poor kids — and God knows what they’re experiencing on this ranch — it’s possible that they’re being subjected to literal white slavery imparted by the particularly legalistic denomination into which they were born.

In my own experience wrestling with faith, I’ve never had to deal with that kind of extreme behavior, but I understand a little bit of what’s it like to feel smothered as a kid by lofty religious ideals beyond my understanding.

I guess this song is a lament for these children and, by extension, for a collective inner child oppressed by family and by religion.

I call upon “Mother Texas” — a particularly bloody state throughout its history, especially now — to shriek on behalf of these innocents.

The “Giants” referenced are the so-called Nephilim of Genesis 6:

“Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’ The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”

According to the Genesis account, the Nephelim were “sons of God” (Old Testament-ese for “angels”) who desired human women and took them for their own — “whomever they chose.” Sounds like the women didn’t have much say in the matter — the angels simply saw what they wanted and took it.

An appropriate image in this case, I think.

2. SONG COMPOSITION

This song happened almost completely by accident.

To start I was just screwing around on my bass to a click and voila! The song was started.

I ran across this fantastic tacky piano sound in Kontakt 3 that served my purposes swimmingly. I love dulcimer-esque piano sounds– they always remind me of the soundtrack to the movie, “Kafka,” one of my favorite sci-fi films as a high school kid.

This was one was a little different in that the melody came before the harmonic changes. I suppose that’s the “correct” way to do things, but for me it usually happens the other way around.

I used a more nasal bass tone on this track than I usually do. Also, I mixed every track down to mono and basically trashed the hell of them to dirty things up (except for the tack piano sound). After finishing a few songs, I’m getting better at doing this in Nuendo. Originally, I missed Logic — it seemed much easier for me to thrash the beejeezus out of my tracks. As I’m discovering, Nuendo has similar — and much better — functionality on the PC.

The last section of the song seemed necessary given the song’s subject matter — couldn’t really end on a high note, could it? I was definitely pulling from the bridge to “Psychotherapy” (from “Cast Out Devils, DH! 2nd record) when conceiving this part. Sometimes cut/paste between song sections works well, and this song screamed for it, in my opinion.

Tune in next week for another episode of the Detholz! Mp3 Blog!

Side note: I start a new job next week, so the update day will likely change. I’ll keep you posted.

3. LYRICS

YEARNING FOR ZION

Zion, Zion
Holy Mount of Zion
Lead an innocent child
To the Mystery Mountain

Zion, Zion
Holy Mount of Zion
Remember Abraham’s son
On the Holy Mountain?

Everything’s going be all right
Sacrifice is forever
Everything is locked up tight
You will be here forever

Listen to the words of Light
From the Books that I read you
Listen to the cries at night
Feel the gaze of the Evil Eye

Evil Eye is on me now
Evil Hands will force and feel me
Heaven’s heart is for my child
Lord, protect her from these people

Mother
Oh, Mother on the River of Blood
Oh, Mother of Ten Thousand Suns
Oh, Mother Texas, deep inside of us,
Shriek the shrieks of the women

Giants, Giants
In the mouths of Giants
Whiff of innocent blood
From the veins of the children

Giants, Giants
In the arms of giants
Between heaven and hell
Neither angel nor devil

Everything’s going to be all right
Sacrifice is not forever
Everything is locked up tight
But you will not live here forever

Listen to the songs of Light
From the lips of the children
Listen in the Texas night
Far away from the Evil Eye

Evil Eye is on you now
Evil Hands will force and feel you
Heaven’s heart is for my child
Lord, protect you from these people

Mother
Oh, Mother Texas, deep inside of us,
Shriek the shrieks of the women

Detholz! live recording – “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

December 12, 2007

A DETHOLZ! Live DVD is in the works — ETA Spring 2008!
Preview “You the Power of You” from Detholz! 8th Annual “Jukebox of the Dead” Halloween show here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jE7r7I0tqKs


Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XVIII!

Apologies that I was AWOL last week. On an East Coast Baby Teeth tour, dubbed “Lush Life ’07,” for reasons I won’t go into. There was the requisite pain and suffering, including driving in a blizzard and getting hopelessly lost in mid-town Manhattan. Anyway… no time to type!

In the spirit of giving, for the duration of December I’ll be posting a special blend of holiday music– so grease up your shopping cart! This week, the Detholz! interpretation of:

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN!

I. SONG CONCEPT

Santa Claus is coming!

2. COMPOSITION

An exhaustive exegesis of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” seems silly, somehow. Let’s not rob this little gem of its holiday magic, shall we? Just sit back, relax, and douse yourself in eggnog.

Merry Christmas, everyone! [Or, for those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa!]

Tune in next week for another sparkling holiday snowflake…

Detholz! demo – “Piggly Man”

November 28, 2007

THIS FRIDAY, 11/30
DETHOLZ! play their last show of 2007
@ Hideout
1354 W Wabansia
Chicago, IL, USA
w/THE CASSETTES & BRILLIANT PEBBLES
www.hideoutchicago.com

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XVII!

This Friday marks Detholz!’s last show of 2007 – the conclusion of our 11th year together as a band. This is a bill we are anticipating greatly, with two other bands breaking ground of their own with respect to music and performance. Forget Detholz! — we’ve been around 4 eva’!– instead come experience the nightmare club ritual of BRILLIANT PEBBLES and the hurdy-gurdy magic of THE CASSETTES!

To mark this event, we’re giving one away today that I thought I’d keep under wraps until “Death to the Traitor” (Detholz! forthcoming record) is released next year. In many ways, this is my favorite track developed for “Death to the Traitor” thus far, and wraps the blood, animal and betrayal imagery in human (feral?) flesh:

PIGGLY MAN

1. SONG CONCEPT

This song is near and dear to my heart as it’s about a former co-worker of mine who was debilitated by a number of massive strokes earlier this year. The effects on his brain– esp. on his centers of speech– were devastating, and his situation is nothing if not tragic for him and his family.

Here’s the rub: the man

a. is a pathological liar,

b. has a speaking voice that closely resembles that of Mickey Mouse,

c. is morbidly obese and has no compunction about loudly breaking wind in the workplace (at one point, I had to look over at him and yell, “Hey– were you raised in @#$%in’ barn?”),

d. is consumed with greed– down to falsifying company records in order to qualify for sales prizes– and ruined countless potential sales for his colleagues by meddling with customers in order to qualify for pieces of commission,

e. earned the nickname “Bologna Loaf” among his peers, and

f. is generally one of the most unpleasant people it’s been my misfortune to meet.

Get the picture? He is Homer Simpson come to life and moving among us.

Which is why, of course, he deserved a song. On one hand, he almost TRIES to make himself hateful to others. On the other hand, his humanity is so painfully transparent– especially in light of his staggering health problems. Many of us at my company developed a strange affection for this man, which I found to be a curious phenomenon. His unpleasantness was SO over the top that, well… you couldn’t help but like the guy.

On that note, a strange episode occurred one morning as I arrived for work, took my place at my desk and started setting up for the day. My desk was across the room from the Loafer’s, but he couldn’t hear very well so he didn’t hear me come in. On this particular morning, I sat and watched him for awhile. He would scratch nonsensical, pseudo-motivational catchphrases to himself on a large, yellow pad, which he was doing that morning. Suddenly, he stopped, straightened up in his chair and began loudly cawing like a crow. He punctuated each “caw!” by banging his meaty palm on his desk:

“CAW! CAW! CAW!”

I jumped in my seat. To this day, I have no idea what prompted him to do this. It will, I fear, remain a mystery.

Now that he can’t work, he calls in sometimes, just to say “hi” (at least, I think that’s what he saying– after his strokes, he’s very difficult to understand). Many of my current co-workers will not answer the phone when they see his number flashing on the caller ID. “I don’t want to talk to him,” one man said, almost visibly shuddering. I also find this to be a curious phenomenon.

The Loaf was man who betrayed himself at every turn: by his selfishness and greed, etc. Ultimately, though, he was betrayed by something beyond any of our control: his own mortality. People don’t want to talk to him– not because he’s a jerk (which he is), but because he serves as a reminder of human frailty. He is a walking warning sign that reads: “THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU.”

After he left, I took his staff picture home. It now adorns my wall, in a frame, above my home studio space. I take a weird sort of comfort in the baldness of the Loaf’s humanity– both in his consuming greed and his failing health. He’s no different than you or I, really.  He just isn’t as skilled at glossing over his baser nature. Subsequently, this song is not meant AT ALL as a slight– it was written out of love for the man.

I hope that comes through.

2. SONG COMPOSITION

This was one in a series of home demos for “Death to the Traitor” where I left the guitars out altogether. This was at Karl’s (Detholz! guitarist) suggestion: that I not limit myself to the “band” instruments in recording demos. He thought it would be interesting to reassign parts to regular “band” instruments in rehearsal. As it turned out– at least with this song– he was right.

As with most of the newer material, the song’s axis revolves around the repeated organ figure — intervallically, a tritone to major third, back to a tritone, then to a perfect fifth. In that musical “cell,” there is plenty of tension and release, except the tonal center remains very strong. I found it to be a challenging “drone” to write around. As it turned out, this figure was also adaptable to some interesting harmonic motion in the chorus.

You’ll notice the “Traitor motive” (see previous post, “Death to the Traitor”) hinted at in the second half of the chorus– in the flutes! The flute is my least favorite orchestral instrument, which is why I felt compelled to use it here, of course. It’s a principle an old art professor taught me in school: if you hate a piece of art, immerse yourself in it. Find out if you’re harboring irrational prejudices; see if there’s anything you can use creatively. At the time, he forced me to sit in front of an Agnes Martin painting for 3 hours, then write an essay on what I got out of the experience. Generally, I can’t stand Agnes Martin’s work– it’s that annoying brand of minimalism that seems completely theory-driven, with little to no substance to the actual pieces. Still, after sitting in front of that blank, cloudy canvas for 3 hours, I managed to extract some things out of the work.

Same idea here. Flute is not my favorite, but it provides an interesting texture in this context (if I do say so myself). I liked it so much, in fact, that it shows up on other new songs as well!

The centerpiece of the song is the “piggly” bridge, of course, with samples of real pigs. This section was expanded in rehearsal, and now sounds much different live than on the demo. Jonny added a brilliant, layered line which is built upon additively by Karl and I on the guitars. Very spooky, even “Castlevania”-esque!

Also, as with many of the newer songs, the bass line is largely the same throughout the song. It is an exceptional challenge to write a song with contrasting sections while the bass line remains the same–at least I think so. More often than not, I fail using this approach. In the case of “Piggly Man,” however, I was pleased with the result.

Comments/questions/criticisms welcome! Hope to see you all on Friday before the long, dark night of the soul for Detholz!…

3 . LYRICS

Rosy cheeks and
Tight buttons
Packing the pounds

Chew slowly
Chew slowly
A Midwestern mound

High in a cloudy brain
A lumpy mountain range
Makes all the speaking strangely…?

I’m waiting again
For you, my lonely friend
Open your mouth
Pick it on up
Chew it on up
A man is a pig
When a pig is a man

Quiet morning
Can’t hear it
Write on a pad

Scratch yourself some
Motivation
Like Carnegie said

But when the pressure builds
Forget to take your pills
Hot when the coffee spills, you…?

Now I’m watching again
The birds are not your friends
Open your mouth
Caw like a crow
Caw like a crow
Death is a bird
When a pig is a man

The piano
Is confusing
Head on the keys

Little mermaids
Swimming through you
Sing “Under the Sea”

Now you are seeing spots
Now on a mountaintop
Now you are jumping off, don’t you…?

You’re seated again
On sacks of pickled skin
Open your mouth
Shove it on in
Shove it on in

A man is a pig
When a pig is a man

Detholz! demo – “Pilgrim’s Regress – Part I” & “The City of Gold”

November 15, 2007

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog Episode XVI!

A day late on this one, ladies and germs. My abject apologies.

This week, we’ve switched off the Jukebox of the Dead and are venturing into a magical land of Fairies and Fantasy with
The Pilgrim’s Regress, Part I (includes “The Conclusion” and “The City of Gold”)

or, if you prefer to skip the scene-setting exposition:

The City of Gold (extracted from Part I)

1. CONCEPT

After a particularly weird and depressing week about 2 years ago, I locked myself in my apartment and cranked out this oddity: the first part of an arguably pretentious concept album for Detholz! called “The Pilgrim’s Regress,” which is essentially the classic Puritan allegory, John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress,” in reverse. The basic idea is that our protagonist, instead of seeking to gain access to the Celestial City, seeks rather to ESCAPE from the Celestial City and BACK to his home in the City of Destruction.

I had planned on having him encounter all of the stops on the way– the River of Death, the Delectable Mountains, Vanity Fair, the Worldy Wiseman and the rest– all filtered through this “lens of opposites.” I got as far as having him escape from the Celestial City and had begun on “The River of Death” section– only to have the laptop on which these files resided stolen outside of a show. Damn you, Crime Inc.!

“The Conclusion” is a reworking of Bunyan’s Conclusion at the end of the First Part of “Pilgrim’s Progress.” It is intended to set the stage– kind of an overture– where reality retreats and familiar things are transformed through the power of ecstatic vision.

“The City of Gold” marks our hero’s observations in the Celestial City, and he is discomfited with what he is seeing and feeling. The end of the song chronicles his escape through loose bars in the Gate, though that is not spelled out in any lyric.

After playing this for the band and receiving a lukewarm response– in addition to some radical changes in my thinking about religion– I abandoned this project. It will likely remain on the shelf forever (and ever, amen).

2. COMPOSITION

You could view this as a “Proto-‘Death to the Traitor,'” (see earlier “Death to the Traitor” post) as more of the minimalist and/or repetitive elements Detholz! currently experiment with began to appear here. I had also just finished recording Bobby Conn’s “King for a Day” album, and that sparked my interest in writing “fantasy rock,” as Bobby had woven all manner of fantastic elements into the musical and lyrical content of that record.

A lot of the source sounds are in reverse– most obviously on “City of Gold,” which was constructed on top of a repeated vocal figure in reverse. The melody at that runs through “The Conclusion” is a reworking of the American folk hymn, “Lord, I Want to be a Christian in My Heart” on a (backwards) reed organ. I had intended to use this as a motive that reappears throughout the record– similar to the “Traitor” motive I’ve discussed in earlier posts.

This was both a sincere and sarcastic musical reference. At the time, I found my faith to be completely empty and devoid of meaning. Though that has since changed, it’s interesting from a personal standpoint to have a musical chronicle of that period.

Anyway, “City of Gold” is a reharmonization/rearrangement of an ancient Detholz! song called “Heaven,” (vintage 2000-2001) which we only played one time, as I recall. The original demo was lost forever when a hard drive crashed, but it was a pedantic “shoegazer” arrangement with washy guitars and a backwards-ballcap type of beat. I was dissatisfied with that version–esp. the lyrics, which were god-awful– but liked the melodies. They are preserved in the newer version, almost to the note.

We posted “City of Gold” on MySpace for a time, and it was generally received well. Andrew (Detholz! drummer) has often pushed for us to play it, so… who knows? Perhaps “Pilgrim’s Regress” will ride again someday.

Tune in next week for more free music, and in the meantime…. follow the yellow brick road! Follow the yellow brick road! Follow the yellow brick road! etc.

3. LYRICS

I. THE CONCLUSION

Draw the curtains
And dim the light
Close your eyes
Depart inside the Veil
Murmuring late at night

A land of giants
Of fairs and feasts
A host of thousands
On a Holy Mountain

Talk in your sleep

Laughter is best left
To fools and to boys
The wisdom in dreams
Comes without so much noise

Talk in your sleep

Asleep in the shadows
Asleep in the sun
Asleep with an animal
Asleep with a gun
Asleep at the office
Asleep in the car
Asleep in the alley
Asleep in the bar

The pilgrims are sleeping
The giants are sleeping
The angels are sleeping
The dragons are sleeping
The preachers are sleeping
The revelers are sleeping
The wise men are sleeping
The King is sleeping

Talk in your sleep

II. THE CITY OF GOLD

The golden flash of transfiguration
Shines from the City of Perfection
The bells ring out from the spires
High above the crowns and the lyres

When they zipped off my skin
A fire burned within
Shot from the eyes of the King
From His invisible halls
A terrible beast sang:

Ah, welcome into Heaven!

Is this life after death
Or death after life?
Squint in the face of this brilliant light
The highways are paved with golden tar
Inside the glittering Gate with a thousand bars

Immortal and invisible
Eyes shoot out golden flames
For a million years
A multitude
Shouts through the Holy Names

In the City of Gold
That precious metal is cold
And the hearts of the righteous
Are eternally old
And we’ve earned the right to
Eat from the Tree of Life
In perfect bodies of light

(I can’t feel anything
I think I’m burning alive!)

Ah, welcome into Heaven!

I think I’m burning alive!