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September 2005

September 6 2005 05:06 PM ET (Permalink) (Comment)

Back in the summer of 1995, I was in a band called Stoneykirk.

Over the previous two years, I'd slowly compiled a stock of original songs. The first weekend of May 1995, I sat down and recorded demos of most of the songs I'd written to that point. When I got home from school a couple of weeks later, I gave copies of the tape to the drummer I knew, who recruited another mutual friend to play bass. We spent four weeks rehearsing eight of the songs, eventually playing two shows. The guys went on vacation after the second show, and our return to school in August ended the band.

But while we were together, we opted to enter the studio to record the songs. We paid for a total of sixteen hours at two different studios (two eight hour sessions that included mixing). Granted that they were recorded and mixed at the same time with such little recording time, the finished tracks were relatively unpolished, but were far more professional-sounding than anything else I'd ever worked on.

I compiled the eight tracks onto cassette and called the finished product Clearing Vision. Back at school, I put together a Stoneykirk website, and offered some blisteringly horrible sound files (this was a couple of years before MP3 existed, so I was stuck with 8-bit AU files) for download. To my amazement, people actually ordered copies of the tape after listening to those 30-second clips. I think I sold about twenty copies of the tape over the next year just from people visiting the website.

Three years ago, my cousin converted the DAT of the final mixes to disc. I've spent a good bit of the past few days trying to master them into something decent. (The awkwardness of the mixes made this more difficult than it should have been.)

But what's weird for me is listening to them now. I know that it's me and my band on the songs, but I'm so separated from that time that it doesn't seem real.

Anyway, for boredom's sake, here are a couple of songs from Clearing Vision. (Subject to change, as I'm still tinkering with the mastering.)

I wrote the music to this in the fall of 1993. I've always struggled with lyrics, and tossed the first version (called "Hallucinating") early in 1995 in favor of a rewrite. This has one of my favorite basslines on it - played by me on the recording as our bass player was still learning it.

I wrote this in the summer of 1994, and I think it contains some of the best lyrics I've ever written (one line in particular). However, I could not write those lyrics now. The narrative point of view is just too embedded with how I was at 19. I'm not even sure I could play it now, for the same reason. I was worried before we recorded it that it would be too slow and too sappy, but I think we got it almost exactly right.

I may upload some other tracks soon.


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