Figuration of Hope

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So if you really want to nerd out, here's the story behind the new album.

Thing one, I must thank from the bottom of my heart the insanely skilled Brittney Schultz for her vocal work. Sometimes when I work with other musicians I bring a skeleton, and they or we flesh it out. With these vocal melodies I pretty much handed over a bag of loose bones and said, "Here ya go, not sure these are all even human, do your thing". I've known Brittney for a long time and I've wanted the opportunity to get her on some tracks for a while. She knocked every song out of the park and captured a sound I've been hearing in my head for ages.

Thing two, you probably will notice that Brad didn't play drums. I offered, as I always do, but sadly schedules and commitments didn't line up right. Brad has some other things that have to take priority, and I certainly understand. I'm so glad he's still part of the family, and I expect his work will turn up in the future, one way or another.

Thing three, thanks go to Jaxson Pohlman for letting me use his photos. His work has been an inspiration since I found him on instragram a while back, and I knew right away his work was a perfect match. A striking combination of loneliness, space, and deep thought. Sometimes I want to make music just so I can use awesome art for album covers.

The story: a tale of a planet and a really big rock. More or less, the idea that someday averages will catch up with us and the Earth will be struck by a giant asteroid or comet. Or even imagine far in the future, no matter what, we can't live here forever. Do we have the will to do what is necessary to survive?

The work: I had a few loose goals in mind when I started this album. One is that I wanted to write lyrics. I had personally been a little dry in the lyric department for a few years, so back in 2015 I stared writing, using the concept of the story as a guide (I was actually working on Evagation and this one at the same time, Evagation just happened to get finished first). For the music, I mostly just picked up a guitar and jammed. I also hadn't done that in a while. Strange Land's last few albums, including a lot of Catharsis, were written on paper (or computer) before being tracked and fleshed out. There are also a few bits of music that are quite old, parts of Dare go back to a thing I recorded with a friend over 20 years ago. I also wanted to play with space and sound. You'll find many tracks breathe deeply, with lots of open space. And though I've always used effects, I pushed more into some weird stuff, and I used more synth, though some sounds that might seem like a synth might be guitar.

Oddly, I still like these songs right now. I know, what!? I think a lot of musicians will tell you that as they near the end of a project, you feel like you've been pregnant for 14 months, just get this damn thing out of me. Usually by the time I get done mixing I pretty much hate the songs. Oh, I'll still finish, I know they are as good as I can do at the time, and I know I'll like them again later. But not this time. I still headband along as if I'm listening to some other band. Weird.

That's the thing in a nutshell, thank you for joining me on this journey,
Sean
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