Wednesday, February 25, 2009

States Away

Download States Away.

I started batting around the idea for what would become the Fast Collapse around early 2000. States Away was the first song I started and one of the few songs I fully completed. I've always felt like when you're recording that it can be really, really difficult to get the sounds you're hearing in your head perfectly right, and this was the first time where I was really close, if not exactly where I wanted to be, because it was the first time I really felt like I had both the tools and the skills to get the sounds I wanted out of the instruments and on tape. Overall, this is one of my favorite songs and I still enjoy listening to it from time to time.

When I started working on the song, I had this loose idea of trying to combine orchestral 80s synth work a la Disintegration with angular guitar styles. You can certainly hear the Cure influence in the chorus. I was also really interested in the layered guitar harmonies of Thin Lizzy and the intro and outro of the Boston song Peace of Mind, which is where the idea of the layered whammy guitar lines in the intro came from.

The underlying track was very simple -- I recorded the basic guitar and drums at what was our old practice space on Division St. in Chicago, which is now a sushi restaurant. I slowly built the rest of the layers and recorded the rest of the tracks at the Noize Floor, which was in the back of our apartment at the time, above Phyllis' Musical Inn, also on Division. I used a Korg Polysix on the main synth lines, the strings are an Ensoniq EPS sample, and there's a counter-melody on the chorus that I created with a Hohner Melodica (made most famous by the Hooters, who for some reason remind me of Mick Hucknall and Simply Red -- total sidebar, I always find it amazing when I watch 24 Hour Party People and discover that Mick Hucknall hung out with all the Factory Records crew in Manchester back in the day).

I had always intended to complete an album of this material, but it just never happened. I finished 4 songs and had several more in progress before I took what I thought was going to be a short break from writing and recording -- that break ended up eventually stretching around seven years. Still, listening to the work now and the encouragement of good friends who I both did and didn't know at the time has motivated me to start working again.

The Fast Collapse played three live shows, all of which were at the Empty Bottle in Chicago. The most notable was the final show on Valentine's Day, 2001, where our opener was French Kicks, a great band who I'm a total fan of today.

Download States Away.

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