Back in December I bought an album by Body/Head. It’s the post-Sonic Youth break-up album that Kim Gordon did with fellow guitarist Bill Nace. It’s essentially Gordon and Nace in a studio,each with a guitar and amp. Gordon has a mic that she improvises words. It’s not singing. It’s like psycho therapy through spoken word retching. Normally I wouldn’t get into this sort of thing, but for some reason I did. More so the guitar soundscapes and feedback they created. It was this wall of barbed noise. I loved the idea of two guitar and two amps creating intermingling noise. The song structure, for all intents and purposes torn down and in it’s place is this cloud of noise not telling a story but creating a scene. The pages of a book with the words removed and in their place are these swaths of noise and drips of oil-based notes. To me, these were like aural paintings. Cave drawings telling the story of someone’s psyche. I wanted to do this.
I’d often thought about doing something like this. “Songs” that weren’t really songs. Something more like a music score to a film that hasn’t been made. Sounds that I hear in my head that I think would be a cool thing to hear in the background at the cinema. Or more so, making music that sounds like what I’m feeling at that moment. For me, that was the main goal. With that in mind, I headed to the studio in late December, loaded a cassette into the 4-track recorder, and hit record. What came out that first recording session was the 21-minute “Damage/Stars In Ecstasy”. It’s this mix of feedback, distortion, and ominous chaos that goes in and out, replaced by a calm. It pretty much embodied what I was going for. From there, I felt free to do whatever. The reason I went with a 4-track cassette recorder(as opposed to 16-track digital)was to limit how much I could layer. I wanted to be able to create these pieces within the confines of four tracks. I wanted to see what I was capable of with those sorts of limitations. Using a loop pedal greatly enhanced what I could do with those limitations. I’m happy with the results.
From late December up to March I recorded eight tracks. Once March hit I put this project to the side. A couple weeks ago I went down to the studio and revisited these songs and thought “What the hell is this? Why did I do this?” After a couple times through these tracks I realized I did it because it’s something I needed to do. Being snowbound most of January, along with a very tragic loss, this project was therapy for me. It kept me sane. These songs are my version of a Pollock painting. Drips, splashes, smudges on a tape canvas that becomes something completely different when you step back and look at it from a different angle. As pretentious as that sounds, it’s the best way I can describe it. It works for me.
Stranded Dreams is the first installment of this musical venture. This musical venture goes by the name of Dream District(it’s something I read in a book written by Sigmund Freud.) It will be followed with another album in a couple months. After that, I plan on going a different route with it. I want to make it much more lush and expansive. A little more “hi fi”, if you will. But for now, the lo fi quality is something I’m liking.
I know this sort of thing isn’t for everybody, but I want folks to at least give it a chance. So in the spirit of giving I’m giving it away for a week. Go to Dream District’s Bandcamp page and download it. Take a listen. If you like it then great. If you don’t, delete it and no harm no foul. Don’t worry, next time I see you I won’t ask you about it or make you feel weird. It’ll be back to normal.