Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Looking Back: Day 3

Everyday of the week leading to the release of our new album, CARTOGRAPHY, we'll be streaming different UNreleased songs spanning the entire life of the band. The songs will only be up this week.
Today we're releasing 5(!) different incarnations of the same tune: "When The Spirit Descends," alternately called "The End" and "Spirit Waltz". There are many more versions than this, but thankfully Matt was not able to recover them.

"The Spirit Descends" origin story is muddled by time and bad memory. It was set to tape sometime in 2004, probably during the Summer months. Due to it's simple structure and melody the song was remixed often. 

An early example of these attempts is "When The Spirit Descends (Reversed)." Using a tape machine, I reversed the instrumental tracks but preserved the vocal track. Because the vocal part utilized a pentatonic scale, there was no dissonance between the melody and the chords that lay beneath it, whatever, the combination. 

Later, after I met Robbie in 2005, he took a crack at transforming the tune, a version of which you can hear in a song titled "The End." 

When I bought a decrepit (and now deceased) accordion in the Fall of 2006, Malachi and I again adapted the song. The result was "Spirit Waltz" a janky 3/4 time pseudo-French folk imagining. 

"Spirit" finally coalesced into it's final form (or is it?) with the release of the version that appears on our 2008 record Low Tide. It's characterized by jarring verses with alternating time signatures and pretty slide guitar stylings from Matt.

The optimist in me thinks this bizarre repetition is reflective of our tendency to perfect an idea before moving on, to explore every stylistic frontier until we are satisfied that we have run the song of its every possible uniqueness.

The pessimist says that remixing this song ad infinitum is an indication that we are insane people.

Either way, you probably haven't heard the end of "When The Spirit Descends"

- Andrew

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