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The Tomorrow’s Forgotten Relics EP will be available shortly, starting with Bandcamp. I’ve been working on this one in the background for almost exactly 2 years, though it seems like it should be far shorter. I thought I’d share a little of how this demo / EP came to be, without getting too far into the weeds on the technical details. (Though I’ll certainly geek out about it if anyone wants to talk about it.)
When the pandemic reached America in 2020, Intellect Books had just published MASKS: Bowie & Artists of Artifice, and I was wrapping up Tales Of When I Had A Face, the graphic novel I had been working on for seven years. Both were massive projects, but the latter was truly the most involved I’ve ever taken on.
So even before social isolation played its part, I was already feeling like I needed a break from long-form writing. The research for those books involved reading hundreds of other books, and spending an equivalent time listening through some of the more eclectic parts of Bowie’s extensive catalog.
That feeling was only to increase as American individualist myths collided with the realities of pandemics, and as it continued to play out like a premonition of what is to come with climate collapse. It’s all very clear, and very bleak.
Words suddenly had far less appeal to me overall. Headpiece filled with straw. Maybe that’s only notable because of what a central role the written word has always played in my life.
The need to express myself was still with me, though it had been almost a decade since my last serious music project, and so TFR really started without much of a plan… I was just getting my fingers back to their fing by reacting to some old v-drum recordings. Before I knew it, there was a demo. There was a spark. “Is this something? I think this might be something.”
Once my drum/bass/guitar demo was together, I approached Johan Ess about joining in on keys. Johan is an experimental electronic musical performance artist now based in the Pacific Northwest, who I’d worked with on the two HoodooEngine albums. Next was Mattia, who I’ve wanted to work with on a creative project for a while. Mattia is an interdisciplinary classical and film composer, and performer. Tyler Burchfield, Mattia’s friend from grad school, was the final multi-hyphenate brought in on saxophone to round out the sound.
We’re all multi-instrumentalists who have gathered production skills along the way, so the process that followed was very natural. The songs weren’t exactly “written”, they grew.
I can’t claim TFR was completely without preconceived authorial intent. Like Bowie’s 1. Outside, I intended to collect and reflect back something about this transitional moment in time that we’re all living through 2020–2023. It’s a Bardo, which also means that whatever the future holds, we aren’t going back to the world we left. I also didn’t sit down with the intention to sound “like” anyone or anything else. I took some methodological notes from the Bowie / Eno collaborations, the process is where character comes into play.
I hope to later have the wherewithal to organize a Kickstarter to fund a subsequent 8–10 track full length release, with some neat stretch goals like vinyl or a music video. There are several nearly complete tracks left on the cutting room floor, certainly there’s room for improvement by taking the stems to a professional mastering house, as I did this version all at my home studio without any outboard gear.
On the other hand… These 5 tracks already feel “of a piece”, and creatively I would feel satisfied for it to be left short and sweet. (Well, maybe not all so sweet.)
Will 1. Tomorrow’s Forgotten Relics demand an encore? That’s a sort of divination I’ll not dabble in. At least not yet. TFR came from a need to express something that words don’t touch, and to connect for the 25 minutes or so that we get to take you on a little journey. The rest, as they say, is gravy.
And anyway, one way or the other, time is probably shorter than we think.
Pre-order period begins August 19, 2022, full release September 9, 2022
You can sign up here to be notified when it goes live: https://tfrband.bandcamp.com/
Our bodies become stone
Our eyes stop seeing
Limestone and dust
Till we become the spirit of our world
The only truth we can be