Chorus & Flange: Lair of Our Dreams

It’s no secret I grew up listening to the Cure, Joy Division, Xymox and Depeche Mode; I had the hair and wardrobe to prove it. “Where’s the funeral?” Wouldn’t you like to know!

Chorus and Flange is something I worked on over the summer of 2016 with a singer – amazing talent with some notable international acclaim, but right before recording, they suddenly had to take time off from everything for a bit – which ended up to be a few years.

So, it came down to just me: writing, performing all the instruments, recording, engineering, and now, singing. While it can be said, technically, that I am internationally known for singing (a couple dozen people across four continents are doing a lot of heavy lifting), I know I have, to put it mildly, limitations. I tried to make it work. At least it’s a genre that can be forgiving.

Track Descriptions and TMI

One thing about music is that when most people hear a song for the first time they want it to introduce all its elements in the first few seconds to make the case that it’s worth listening to. I am one of those people, too, but when I make music, myself, I like to reward the listener with something different for sticking with it – “reward” might be too generous, but it’s the thought that counts.

Part of the fun were the self-imposed limitations. With only few exceptions: synth parts are limited to classic choir patches, studio effect styles from no later than the mid-eighties, and arrangements that can be performed by a five piece band, maybe six-piece including a guest instrumentalist, with a vocalist who can also play guitar or keyboard, but not usually while they’re singing.

The first track I finished was Haunts Me. The lyric: “Will we ever know if this is real, or just another layer/lair of our dreams?” I think is probably one of the cleverest lines I’ve ever wrote. Half the time I’m singing “layer” and the other half, it’s “lair,” and not even I know which is which. They sound different, though.

Entire Universe is song about life, the universe and everybody and nothing. It’s the classic pop arrangement.

I wrote half the lyrics in 1997, the chorus and one verse, but was stuck. This was an attempt to make a hymn that could be sung in almost any religious setting from Pastafarian to Universalists to Protestant campouts. For the next twenty years, this half-song would rattle around in my head, and any more ideas were dead ends. When I decided to finally figure out how to play the tune to record this, I decided to use the verse I had (“and nothing will change…“) as a bridge, and once I did that, it took about an hour to come up with the verses.

Ordinary Moment and Forget-Me-Not appear on the soundtrack of the feature film Book of Evil, available on Tubi.

“When I hold this Forget-me-not, it brings back the memory it set. I could only hope and wonder, have you forgotten me yet?” It’s a weird dichotomy: wanting someone you care about to get over you and move on so they can be happy while also not wanting to be forgotten. Far too often, you get neither. Sometimes they don’t, either.

Half the guitar solo is so high, I used the pickups as a fretboard.

Ordinary Moment was the idea of a song about a normal, unremarkable event. Not nothing. Few people experience true nothing regularly, and when they do, it is either a chance to relax or it’s a terrifying void. This is an ode to the status quo and the everyday, which unique to each individual, but at the same time, the feeling is universal.

The Same For Me has probably the sloppiest guitar work ever recorded by man or beast. I could have “fixed” it, but this is a song about not caring. I might have went out of my way and edited in extra sloppiness. You’ll never know. For a song that was supposed to be so sparse, why are there 48 multitracks in one section? I might have overdone it on the bassoons. I played one for two years in elementary school – and I would say they don’t get enough love, but they might get as much as they deserve.

Said and Done is just classic romantic nihilism. I might have said the quiet parts out loud, but the lyrics contain a frustratingly ridiculous amount of double meanings. Now, that’s so me. This is what I do. I turn phrases — often accidently. I also mess around with some spicy time signature choices a little on this one. That down beat is just going to burst into that measure whenever it cares to; got everyone clapping on one and three.

Running was based on something I came up with on the Magnus Chord Organ. I just seemed to breathe. Layered in a ton of hand percussion tracks. Reminded me of a beach.

There might be some Psychedelic Furs influence showing on Silent Weapons/Silent Machines. It was intentional. I hope you noticed. The sax makes it sexy.

If you enjoy this, please feel free to give me a few bucks, and you can download everything and at a higher quality version (bit rate, not performance).