I'm excited about this album! Included are some of my favorite creations, painstakingly selected and hopefully perfected. After creating over a thousand tracks over the years, I had many to choose from!
With this album I wished to compile different aspects of my being -- different moods, thoughts, textures and candid moments in time. While catchy melodies and rhythms are (hopefully) to be found throughout, my philosophy is not always to entertain and be liked, but to challenge, express and enlighten -- as self-important as that probably sounds. That being the case, not all sounds are conventional or particularly pleasant. Some tracks are plainly tense, honest and human-sounding. Most guitar work was done quite spontaneously, often without paying much attention to whether or not I was fully "in tune." This was hardly a calculated decision, but how events naturally unfolded.
Track 4 ("I Slit MY Wrist In Your Face") is the only non-improvised track, which was actually played on someone else's guitar. I love that track a lot, and others seem to like it as well. Track 3 is the only track in which another musician appears (Robin Øye on flute).
I feel improvisation is the closest to free, unadulterated and no-nonsense artistic expression. To enhance my expression (hopefully), this album relies extensively on delay loops and other assorted effects. Some effects were even added later on, while mastering and EQ'ing them. Most modifications were moderate -- adding reverb or something like that -- but I did a few dramatic things, too. For example, the final track was computeristically sped up from the original version, simply because it fit.
Frankly, there are no real virtuoso moments here. I didn't try to be "the fastest gun in the west" and shred all over the place. However, there were some technically challenging aspects to some tracks. On a few I placed metal objects between the strings to get a darker, sitar-like sound. This technique -- often called "prepared [insert stringed instrument here]" -- can be very, very difficult to get right. Hopefully I did a decent job.
On top of that -- and despite any claims to the contrary -- delay loops and effects in general pose significant difficulties of their own.
For your convenience, here is advice on how best to listen:
1. Have an open mind (obviously). 2. This music is usually better at night. 3. Many tracks are improved with headphones, thanks largely to various stereo effects , but also nuances you'd probably miss otherwise. 4. Volume should be moderate to loud. If you play it all wimpy, that's exactly how it'll come out -- and who wants that? 5. I recommend keeping bass, mid and treble frequencies relatively equal. This album is, for the most part, frequency neutral. No range should overpower any other if you crank 'em all up. If this isn't true for your system, you're ultimately on your own.
Bonus essay: Why I Play Guitar All Weird and Shit
I am not a pop musician, really. I like hurting people's ears sometimes, and not always in the "rock and roll" sense of being loud because it's somehow "cool". I like to challenge the listener, and I like to be challenged. It also strikes me as more honest (to use the word loosely) to be a little grittier or sloppier with the instrument, however unconventional it may be.
Here's the problem, as I see it:
The pop world has a certain outlook regarding musicians and their output. They are machines with whom we have profitable relations. They are just that: A means of supplying output, and perhaps a few good or at least interesting moments. They are supposed to lift the listener, to entertain them in the most profitable way. While entertainment is admirable with promoters and actual fans, it should not be the role or the main desire of a musician. In the end, playing "pop-savvy" -- or even "music-savvy" -- music at all times is a suppression of artistic integrity.
From when I started playing guitar to this day, convention seemed to wall me in. The choice quickly became, learn to play the instrument like virtually anyone else or remain true to my own personality and musical outlook. One seemed pursuant to further interest in the instrument; the other to success. I also realized that a song, or part of a song, was not "good" because YOU said it was. After all, that would simply be your opinion, which is obviously not mine. No, what makes a song "good" is simply that it relates to me on some level. Whether someone else likes it is no better or worse than a coincidence. So I view the fretboard the same way I view a population of people: Some parts of it I get along with, others I despise right away, and others still get better and worse as I get to know them. I release my tension by reacting with either guitars or people, and I gain some tension as well.
People can be programmed almost as music can be, but I'm no technocrat. When I unfold a "song," I don't consider it a script. I consider it a fun process....in which a surprising amount of things may be learned.