Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Catch a Tiger by the Toe ~ Notes on the making of

Dec. 3 marks the release of the tiger.... I caught a tiger by the toe, and now I've set it free.

Herein I will expound upon the inspirations and processes behind the creation of this LP.

'Catch a Tiger...' began when I signed up to participate in the 2014 RPM Challenge. A day or 2 shy of Feb 28th, I completed the last of 10 songs, totaling around 31 minutes.

In both number of songs, and length of complete work, I was done. However.... I was fond of what I'd created. I decided to not release it for the RPM Challenge, but refine it and give it a proper send off as something I really spent time on, poured a lot of skill & love into.

I took the challenge as an invitation to really play with musical ideas. One of my favorite things to do is build art (music, painting, writing) from random ideas/triggers/prompts, games of Exquisite Corpse, & Consequences, running mostly randomly chosen sounds through a sequencer - randomly. So, it was with various off-the-cuff beginnings that many of these 13 songs began (I ultimately subtracted one from the tracklist, and added three, post-February.) What I do then/along with this technique is to work that into structure, build a 'world' up from there. Sometimes, that world is inspired by an landscape I see or imagine, sometimes by a bit of fiction out of my head that wants to come into the world as a song, sometimes it's an instrumental expression of an emotional or psychological element of my life, sometimes it's just for fun, beauty, math, or science. Plus.

I use whatever tools and skills I have to build a particular piece, according to what it yearns to become. In the case of 'Catch a Tiger by the Toe', I've leaned heavily on soft-synths, sequencers, samples, sound effects/field recordings, and creativity in the production, itself.

Ruy Lopez started the lot. That's why the footsteps. The car. Ruy Lopez comes out after 5 pm in a Southwestern town full of dust and old tires and useless, rusty car parts. He's a hopeful man, boldy going. He's got something extra special in his pocket.
What borders?

This'a Way walks with Ruy towards, into, and then rapidly away from a playground, where a couple of very big kids sing & swing.

Sand Bone Whale Feather began when Josh Faber-Hammond sent me (at my request) some lo-fi recordings of himself jamming. I found a couple of agreeable loops in it, sampled them, sequenced them with a bit of effects and math trickery, then laid in synths. Industrial evolution kinda stuff. The only collaboration on the album.

International Hustle. I wanted to write a dance song. One of the few songs on the LP where I'm singing. I also sang "Ruy Lopez," repeat, in the song of the same name, "row, row, row your boat" on This'a Way, and The haunting calls in How to Make a Tiger Purr. The lyrics of International Hustle (A Mess of Happy) are pulled from a couple of older and more recent pages of scribbled lyrics, and revamped. It is, essentially, about loving people regardless of time or space. It's about the tiny stolen kiss, the glances from behind flickering eyelashes, long laughter, touching hands, blank stares, animated talks about everything except the thing that makes your heart flutter.

Lost at See. Your gaze went right over my head.

The Nonversation might be self evident, via tone and title, but...
a conversation that loops around and around and around, never seems to arrive anywhere, and you walk away from it not quite sure what just happened.

Secondhand Smoke was initially just the wild, noisy guitar. Created by setting delays on the input of my guitar track, arming to record, then letting go a random non-chord, and letting the effects play out. What became was long, crazy loop-upon-itself that lasted over 7 minutes before I simply stopped the recording. Pleased with the results, I further effected the track by setting vastly different effects with an on/off mute envelope, with the intention of pulling the listener into 2 different 3-D sound spaces. I love the effect. I was going to keep it as-is, but decided to add interest to the track. The reggae beats and synths were the last things I added to the album before mastering.

Wolf Eats the Moon is based on a true story, with the names changed to protect the innocent.

Last Dance Before Sleeping is a nod to dark erotic ghost stories that haunt the imaginations of sullen women with yellow hair.

In a Cave by the Sea is the portal through which we succumb to the whimsy of our most emotionally revealing fantasies.

Somabot Dreams for You Pt. I. Can't remember your dreams? Not satisfied with the ones you've been having? Don't get enough sleep to dream at all? Cry no more! Somabot
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Few So Shiny None So Deep. This is a recording I began when I dove into the ocean via my swimming pool as a child, and began this journey towards the center of the multiverse.

How to Make a Tiger Purr... a secret formula I discovered by accident, when conducting psychoacoustic experiments inspired by my reading of this delightful, engrossing book.


All in all, 'Catch a Tiger by the Toe' is a melange of sonic experimentation, psychological and emotional catharsis, and creative imaginings. A musical book about me putting a button on, and weaving sense into, particular times & aspects of my life.
Now, on with it.
More soon.

~Mita Lupa 1-7-2015

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